Not the case that producing a phoneme is a motor program for manner of articulation or place of
articulation. That is not what is going on. It is affected by the rate at which you speak, the pitch, the
phonological context, etc. In some ways it gets worse, it doesn’t mean small muscles have to e
coordinated to speak and produce speech. As difficult as the speech production problem is, the speech
perception part is even more difficult. The key concepts of Speech Perception: (see slide)
Sound wave doesn’t equal string of phonemes. Dog does not equal d + o+ g. Nor does sound wave
equal string of words The dog is sitting does not equal THE-DOG-IS-SITTING. In every way that speech
signals are produced, they have to be understood by someone else. The types of things that influence
the sounds waves su ch as rate, pitch, manner The real question we are trying to answer is why is
it that speech perception is easy? The first problem that presents itself is the
SEGMENTING THE ACOUSTIC SIGNAL:
Phoneme segmentation: dog does not equal d +o +g.
Word segmentation: This is something that small children are not very good at in the beginning of their
linguistic journey. But it is the case that everybody can take a sentence and segment it into various
words. At the toddler stage, children begin to figure this out.
- Sally thoughthatthemanknewthedogwashers.
Sally thought that the man knew the dog was hers.
There are some breaks between major phrases: “I owe you” vs “and you couldn’t care less.”
You could care less Vs You couldn’t care less (the correct one is the latter although it is a matter of
prescriptive vs descriptive grammar). The first one is grammatical but it does not mean what people
think it means.
Mondegreen: Misunderstand song lyrics, poetry, poetry, speeches. Every now and then our brain and
our ears trick us. The etymology: Lady mondegreen )misinterpretation of song, hey lady lay me on the
green. The syntax is a bit weird; they often are archaic, not the speech that is used in everyday language.
When you mis-hear these words do you produce garbled ungrammatical sentence or stack the misheard
words and stack them together in a grammatical way?
Insights from Mondegreens:
Target: Are you going to Scorborough fair?
Error: Are you going to starve an old friend? (vs,
Target: Round young virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild. Slee in heavenly peace.
Error: Round John Virgin, margarine child, Holy imbecile, tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peas.
What can we learn about language and how we process and perceive it?
Speech segmentation: we are putting in spaces that don’t exist. In other examples we are taking away
spaces that do exist. Love- Loaf both are fricatives, same place of articulation. How do they differ?
Caught- Cod the only difference is in voicing.
Word segmentation Exercise:
Identify 34 simple words “sliced” from sentences. Each word is repeated 3 times. Write something
1. beg Cor