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Speech Perception

  • By: Christopher M. Conway, Jeremy L. Loebach & David B. Pisoni
  • In: Encyclopedia of Perception
  • Edited by: E. Bruce Goldstein
  • Subject:Sensation & Perception

Speech perception refers to the processes involved in identifying and understanding the meaningful patterns of spoken language. The speech signal originates from the concerted actions of the speaker's lungs, larynx, jaw, tongue, lips, and soft palate (soft tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth) to generate sounds that are shaped in particular ways. A fundamental problem in speech perception is understanding how a listener recognizes the complex acoustic pattern of sound waves as being composed of meaningful linguistic units (vowels, consonants, syllables, words, sentences, etc.). This problem becomes strikingly apparent when one realizes that there is no simple one-to-one mapping between the acoustic speech signal and our perception of what the talker said. This entry examines attributes of the human voice and ...

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