The Speech Code and the Physiology of Language

  • Ignatius G. Mattingly
  • Alvin M. Liberman


To the physiologist who would study language in terms of the interests represented at this symposium, the most obvious linguistic processes—the selection of words to convey meaning and the arrangement of words in sentences—must seem far removed from familiar concepts and methods. Surely, he would prefer to study processes that are physiologically more accessible, but are yet linguistic. We believe that the production and perception of speech, in the narrow sense, is one such process; we suggest, therefore, that the physiologist might do well to start there. The questions we would have him ask can be put very simply: How does a speaker convert the phonetic units—the consonants and vowels—to a stream of sound? On hearing that stream, how does a listener recover the phonetic units?


Acoustic Signal Speech Perception Deep Structure Vocal Tract Categorical Perception 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ignatius G. Mattingly
    • 1
  • Alvin M. Liberman
    • 2
  1. 1.Haskins Laboratories and University of ConnecticutUSA
  2. 2.Haskins LaboratoriesUniversity of Connecticut, Yale UniversityUSA

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