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2. Perceptual Organization of Speech


Subject Speech Science » Perception

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631229278.2004.00005.x


How does a perceiver resolve the linguistic properties of an utterancequest; This question has motivated many investigations within the study of speech perception and a great variety of explanations. In a retrospective summary 15 years ago, Klatt (1989) reviewed a large sample of theoretical descriptions of the perceiver's ability to project the sensory effects of speech, exhibiting inexhaustible variety, into a finite and small number of linguistically defined attributes, whether features, phones, phonemes, syllables, or words. Although he noted many distinctions among the accounts, with few exceptions they exhibited a common feature. Each presumed that perception begins with a speech signal, well-composed and fit to analyze. This common premise shared by otherwise divergent explanations of perception obliges the models to admit severe and unintended constraints on their applicability. To exist within the limits set by this simplifying assumption, the models are restricted to a domain in which speech is the only sound; moreover, only a single talker ever speaks at once. Although this designation is easily met in laboratory samples, it is safe to say that it is rare in vivo . Moreover, in their exclusive devotion to the perception of speech the models are tacitly modular ( Fodor, 1983 ), whether or not they acknowledge it. Despite the consequences of this dedication of perceptual ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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