Perception and Linguistic Interpretation
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Perception is based on a whole chain of physiological events, from the peripheric organ which registers the stimulus to the centre in the brain where it is identified and interpreted as this or that sensation (of heat, of taste, of sight, or of audition). Although we take into consideration only auditory stimuli in this context and, in principle, limit our interest to such auditory stimuli as are connected in some way or other with organized human communication, or more precisely with linguistically formed messages, we can formulate a generally valid statement about perception by saying that in no case is this activity a purely physiological one, nor even neurophysiological. Any act of perception is intimately tied up with the perceiver’s background, i.e. his anterior experiences, his memory, and his attitudes. “Perception involves an act of categorization. Put in terms of the antecedent and subsequent conditions from which we make our inference, we stimulate an organism with some appropriate input and he responds by inferring the input to some class of things or events” (Bruner). What we want to stress here first of all is the concept of categorization.
KeywordsAuditory Stimulus Speech Sound Short Vowel Vowel Length Linguistic Communication
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- An article on the subject is the author’s “Analyse linguistique et interprétation auditive” (Journal français d’oto-rhinolaryngologie XI, 1962, pp. 807 – 818). For the problem in general, see e. g. H. Fletcher, “Speech and Hearing in communication”, 2nd ed., 1953; and the works quoted in Chap. II (Miller, Cherry, Carroll, and Fry).Google Scholar
- Cf. W. A. von Bergeijk, J. R. Pierce, and E. E. David Jr., “Waves and the Ear”, 1960.Google Scholar
- W. A. von Bergeijk, J. R. Pierce, and E. E. David Jr., The quotation from Bruner is to be found in the “Psychological Review” XLIV, 1957, pp. 123 – 152.Google Scholar
- Brown’s and Hildum’s experiment is presented in “Language” XXXII, 1956, pp.411–419 (“Expectancy and the Perception of Syllables”). For Helmholtz’s vowel theory, which is still the very starting-point even for modern acoustic analysis of vowels, see his “Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen”, 1863. For segmentation problems, see in the first place the numerous publications of the Haskins Group (some of which are quoted in Chap.IV);Google Scholar
- and G. Fant and B. Lindblom, in “Speech Transmission Laboratory, Quarterly Progress and Status Report”, Royal Technical Institute, Stockholm, July 1961, pp. 1 – 10.Google Scholar
- Liberman’s ideas about the role of articulation for identification of linguistic stimuli are expressed in his article in Sol Saporta’s “Psycho-linguistics” (quoted in the notes to the Introduction). Mandelbrot’s article was published in “Word” X, 1954, pp. 1 – 27 (the anecdote quoted is to be found on p.7).Google Scholar