Katherine Morton and Mark Tatham



















Introduction to Speech Production and Perception
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press [2010]



The book is an intermediate explanatory textbook on the subject of speech production and perception. Classical Phonetics deals with what sounds speakers produce and moves on to cover some aspects of speech perception - strictly within the domain of linguistics. We use the descriptions of Classical Phonetics as a springboard, moving toward a neuro-cognitive to speech production and perception. We deal with not just what sounds speakers produce, but focus on production of the speech sound wave following a pathway from underlying cognitive planning of utterances through to rendering the plans by learned and managed articulator movement and aerodynamic control.

We examine what features of the speech sound wave trigger the perceptual processes, what pitfalls there are in assigning static phonetic labels to the units involved in these processes, and discuss current ways of relating articulatory labels to the speech waveform itself.

The book relates a number of themes:

  • production-for-perception -what sounds speakers plan and produce, how they are produced, and suggestions about why - emphasising the collaborating role of the listener, hence
  • emphasis on an integrated model of production and perception, and the relevant processes (both physical and cognitive) involved;
  • attention to the biological system underlying the production of sounds;
  • attention to the cognitive system underlying the planning of utterances, making the sounds uniquely those of speech; hence
  • from the linguistics perspective, the relationship between phonology - the cognitive intention to produce speech sounds - and phonetics - the controlled rendering of that intention as perceivable categories of sounds by the listener;
  • differences between static and dynamic modelling.

We want to emphasise for students the need to bring together hitherto largely separated areas of the study of spoken language, with the ultimate goal of familiarising them with the beginnings of an integrated model of spoken language production and perception. A fully comprehensive view will be a long time coming, but it already makes a great deal of sense in understanding what happens in speech, and a good way to begin is by training ways of thinking in this area. Attention is focussed on approaches suitable for a range of applications.