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1

Speech Science

Study of:
Articulation and physiology of speech production

The acoustical characteristics of speech

The processes by which listeners perceive speech

Important Because it Allows us to:

Understand normal speech production and perception

Develop instruments for studying speech and hearing

Disseminate results of research to benefit colleagues and students

2

Speech

Primary mode of communication

It is efficient
It is redundant
Genetically endowed

3

Human Vocal Tract

Extends from back of mouth down through trachea to lungs



4

Vocal folds/cords

Near top of human vocal tract (lower in non-humans)

Primary purpose is to protect lungs

Extend from Adam’s apple to back of larynx to act as barrier to foreign objects entering lungs

Reflexive cough activated when anything other than air comes in contact with vocal folds

5

Secondary purpose of vocal folds

To produce speech

Air supply in lungs moves upward to vocal folds
Upper movement of air results in vibration of vocal folds
Vibration results in sound (voice)
Air sent to oral cavity (mouth)

6

Epiglottis


flap that covers trachea during swallowing

7

Larynx

(voice box)
top part of windpipe with folds of membrane that vibrate during speech (vocal folds)

8

Trachea

windpipe to lungs

in front of esophagus that goes to stomach

9

Lungs

not technically part of tract but necessary for air supply for speech

10

Primary purpose of human vocal tract

To protect lungs

epiglottis
vocal folds
trachea

All close to prevent foreign objects from entering the lungs

Cough Reflex activates when these fail

11

Language

A rule governed communication system composed of meaningful elements that can be combined in many ways to produce sentences, some of which are novel.

The ability to express thoughts in spoken or written language and the ability to comprehend the thoughts expressed by other people either in speech or in writing.

It is unique to humans
It is essentially similar in all humans

12

Foreign Language

Sounds complex
Difficult
Talk faster

We don’t recognize the sounds, the words or the rules governing the language

13

Language Definition

The comprehension and/or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems.
Language involves:

Form (phonology, morphology, syntax)
Content (semantics)
Function (pragmatics)

14

Form of Language

Phonology
Morphology
Syntax

15

Phonology

the sound system of a language and the rules that govern the sound combinations

16

Syntax

the system governing the order and combination of words to form sentences, and the relationships among the elements within a sentence.

17

Morphology

the system that governs the structure of words and the construction of word forms

18

Content of Language

Semantics

19

Semantics

the system that governs the meanings of words and sentences

20

Function of Language

Pragmatics

21

Pragmatics

the system that combines the above language components in functional and socially appropriate communication.

22

Language Characteristics

Not synonymous with “speech”

Requires the use of speech or gestures or visual icons
Cannot be taught to other species
(see information on birds and chimpanzees)

Has universal features that occur in all languages, i.e. grammar: Nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc

Develops in similar sequence in all similar languages: Individual differences in development occur but sequence remains same for typical development

23

Thought

An internal representation of experiences
Can be in the form of images (visual), action (kinesthetic), or language (auditory)

Can be independent of language: ex Aphasia
Deaf children

Piaget concluded that cognition develops on its own: Language interacts with cognition, but does not determine the thinking

24

Behavioral/Learning Theory of Language Acquisition

Focuses on the observable and measurable aspects of language behavior

Emphasize performance over competence (function of language)

Language is a skill learned like any other behavior

Empiricist view – learned behavior molded by the environment

B.F. Skinner – environment shapes behavior – speech is not rule governed, but shaped by stituations

25

Behavioral Learning Approaches

Classical conditioning – process of forming associations between stimuli and response

Operant conditioning – behaviors are rewarded or punished

26

Linguistic/Innate Language Acquisition Theory

Language is innate: Noam Chomsky

Genetically determined language capacity and similar across the human species

Universal grammar

Language acquisition device (LAD) – innate language component – cannot be “learned”

Children are programmed to learn language

Biased towards the structural and nativist positions

Proof – infants focus on linguistically significant sounds
Overgeneralization rule – “I taked the cookie.”
Critical period (Lenneberg’s theory)

27

Hermann Von Helmholtz

Developed the mathematics of resonance
That puffs of air emitted between the vibrating vocal folds are the acoustic source of voice

That the harmonics of the voice are resonated in the pharynx and oral cavities

That vowels are recognized because of distinctive resonances

28

Henry Sweet

Served as the model for Shaw’s Henry Higgins
Transcription system was precursor of the ITPA

29

Alexander Graham Bell

Inventor of the telephone
Teacher of the deaf

30

R.H. Stetson

Developed and refined objective methods for measuring the movements of the respiratory mechanism and the articulators in speech production

Palatography – measures points of contact between the tongue and the roof of the mouth