Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research ("Kevin L. Baker" )

Subject: Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research
From:    "Kevin L. Baker"  <klb(at)DMU.AC.UK>
Date:    Thu, 10 May 2001 12:34:53 +0100

Lonce is correct to point out that it is *possible* to understand Chinese without the pitch information (so my Chinese colleagues asure me). The point to make here, is that pitch is part of the redundancy in speech - it gives us some information about the message, but it is not necessary, as we can usually infer this information (i.e. request, question, emotion , etc) from other aspects of the speech and language used (i.e. lots of top down processing going on). It is then not surprising that when you reduce the number of cues we use to understand speech, it becomes more difficult to understand the message. Most messages work when they are whispered , whether they are in English, Welsh or Chinese - although more misunderstandings are likely. At the phonetic and phonological level - we tend to rely on other speech cues (like length of vowel, or fircation) to indicate things like voicing contrast which rely on the vocal cords (and give the 'pitch' information). It is fairly easy to show this in a simple experiment [see Whiteside, S.P. & Baker, K.L. (1995) The acoustic characteristics of whispered plosives and their reliability for the perception of `voicing', Proceedings of the International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences, Vol.2 p.556, Stockholm, 13-19 August. ] Also, having a brother who is congenitally deaf I can say that deaf people can learn to control their pitch - but that this is (obviously?) related to their residual hearing ability. Through personal experience and observation I would say that pitch control for the profoundly deaf is quite often a conscious effort, i.e. it does not become 'automatised' (- so well learnt that conscious control is unnecessary, like expert reading). My brother has developed his own use of pitch/intonation based on his own isolated practice of spoken language, because he has little feedback on his performance and cannot compare it or model it on other's speech. I can understand him, but others will find his speech almost like a foreign language - even though he is using english/american speech. Kevin ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ Kevin L. Baker Senior Lecturer in Psychology Division of Psychology De Montfort University Tel - 0116 257 7761 Scraptoft Campus, Leicester Fax - 0116 257 7767 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^ reply to this email using EITHER of the following addresses:- <klb(at)> OR <kevin(at)>

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