ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

4aSPa3. The developmental role of acoustic boundaries in speech perception.

Ralph N. Ohde

Div. of Hear. and Speech Sci., Box 552, Station 17, Vanderbilt Univ. School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-8700

During production, there are frequent abrupt changes in the amplitude or in the spectrum of the sound, and these variations are regarded as boundaries between speech sounds. The information appears rich in cues for phonetic features of the segments occurring within 10 to 30 ms of the acoustic boundaries. Recent research examining children's speech shows that the information contained within the acoustic boundaries of their productions provides important cues for consonant place of articulation. In addition, interspeaker variability for these segments is low, as compared to properties such as formant transitions. Current studies also reveal that for both adult and child speech a principal mechanism involved in processing acoustic boundary cues involves short-term memory, and that the elimination of boundary information negatively affects perception of place of articulation, particularly for children's speech. Furthermore, the importance of acoustic boundaries in children's speech extends to their perception of place of articulation of both consonants and vowels. Young children accurately process place of articulation from very short duration stimuli, which includes the period of rapid spectrum change. In the current paper, this evidence supporting the salience of acoustic boundary information in children's speech and children's perception of speech will be presented. [Work supported by NIH, DC00464.]