Links Between Production and Perception in Speech (renewed)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders,
National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2018-2023
PI: Douglas Whalen
Collaborator: Argyro Katsika - is one of the collaborators
Although it is agreed that most speech is produced by a human vocal tract, it is less accepted that speech production and speech perception are intricately linked. Many theorists hold that the acoustic output of the vocal tract is dealt with in a purely acoustic manner and that any link that exists would be in modifications of the vocal tract shape to achieve a particular acoustic result. An alternative approach holds that speech consists of gestures, or the coordinated activity of a set of articulators, such as the jaw and the lips, achieving a phonetic goal, such as lip closure. The gestural assumption has allowed an insightful interpretation of many speech production phenomena, and the specific models are the basis for some testable predictions for perceptual theories. Experiments in this proposal would provide results to further substantiate the claim that the two processes are related and to begin validating the articulatory gesture as the link between perception and production. This theoretical outlook has been fruitfully applied to problems in language acquisition, language change, and certain language disabilities. The proposed research should provide an even broader application.