How Special Is Speech? – Alvin Liberman (Haskins Laboratories)

April 9, 1996 all-day

An unconventional view of speech reveals a distinctly phonetic module at the level of action and perception. That such a module exists can be defended on grounds of plausibility and by the weight of experimental evidence. As for plausibility, the module provides the parity that must exist between the parties in all communication systems, and makes possible the combinatorial strategy that underlies the generativity of language. Among the several kinds of empirical support, a new study of duplex perception testifies to the independence and sensitivity of the phonetic module, while also showing the relation to its auditory counterpart.

Center for Language and Speech Processing