PSYC 2650 Chapter 10: Chapter 10

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16 Nov 2017
Chapter 10 Language
The Organization of Language
Language relies on well-defined patterns patterns in how individual words are used, in
how words are put together into phrases
What are the patterns of a certain language?
The Production of Speech
In ordinary breathing
o Air flows quietly out of lungs and up through nose and mouth
o Noise is produced if this airflow is interrupted or altered and this enables humans
to produce a wide range of different sounds
Within the larynx there are two flaps of muscular tissue called the “vocal folds”
o Can be rapidly opened and closed producing a buzzing sort of vibration called
You can also produce sound by narrowing the air passageway within the mouth itself
o Depending on where the gap is for air to rush through different sound results
The various aspects of speech production provide a basis for categorizing speech sounds
We can distinguish sounds according to the airflow is restricted; this is referred to as
manner of production
o Air is allowed to move through the nose for some speech sounds but not others
o For some sounds the flow of air is fully stopped for a moment, for other sounds
the air passage is restricted but air continues to flow
We can also distinguish between sounds that are voiced (produced with the vocal folds
vibrating) and those that are not
o Sounds of v, z, and n voiced
o F, s, t, and k are unvoiced
Sounds can be categorized according to where the airflow is restricted, which is the place
of articulation
o You close your lips to produce “bilabial” sounds – p and b
o You place your top teeth close to your bottom lip to produce “labiodental” sounds
like f and v
o You place your tongue just behind your upper teeth to produce “alveolar sounds
like t and d
We are able to describe any speech sound in terms of
o Manner of production
o Voicing
o Place of articulation
In English, these features are combined and recombined to produce 40 or so different
The Complexity of Speech Perception
Our description of speech sounds invites a simple proposal about speech perception
Speech perception is actually much more complicated
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Amplitudes (form of air pressure changes) reach the ear and shows the pattern of input
with which “real” speech perception begins
There are no markers to indicate where one phoneme ends and the next begins
Prior to phoneme identification, you need to “slice” the stream into the appropriate
segments known as speech segmentation
Most of us are convinced that there are pauses between words that we hear which mark
the boundaries
o However, they are illusions
o We may hear these pauses in the wrong places, and thus segment the speech
stream in a way the speaker didn’t intend to speech stream
o Also why we don’t understand foreign language
o In a foreign language, we lack the skill needed to segment the stream, so we
perceive a continuous uninterrupted flow of sound which is why it sounds so
Coarticulation the fact that in producing speech you don’t utter one phoneme at a time
o They overlap which helps to make speech production faster and more fluent
Aids to Speech Perception
The 50 most commonly used words in English make up more than half of the words you
actually hear
The perception of speech shares a crucial attribute with all types of perception: you don’t
rely only on the stimuli you receive; instead you supplement the input with other
knowledge guided by the context in which a word appears
o Phonemic restoration effect
Categorical Perception
Term refers to the fact that people are much better at hearing the differences between
categories of sounds than they are at hearing the variation within a category of sounds
Combining Phonemes
Phonemes can be combined and recombined to produce thousands of differen morphemes
which can be combined to create word after word
There are rules
Limits are simply facts about English; they are not at all a limit on what humans ears can
hear or human tounges can produce, and other languages routinely use combinations that
for English speakers seem unspeakable
Also rules governing the adjustments that occur when certain phonemes are uttered one
after another
English speakers are seen to know the rule that governs this distraction
o They obey this rule even with novel, made up cases
Morphemes and Words
Building New Words
Estimates of someone’s vocabulary size need to be interpreted with caution because the
size of an individuals vocabulary is actually quite fluid
o Because new words are created all the time
o The terms software and hardware have been around for a while, but spyware and
malware are relatively new
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