chapter  8
18 Pages

Perceiving Phonetic Events

In her report on the auditory processing of speech , prepared for the Ninth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Copenhagen , Chistovich ( 1980) wrote of herself and her colleagues at the Pavlov Institute in Leningrad: " We believe that the only way to describe human speech perception is to describe not the perception itself, but the artificial speech understanding system which is most compatible with the experimental data obtained in speech perception research " (p. 71 ). Chistovich went on to doubt that psychologists would agree with her, but I suspect that many may find her view quite reasonable. However , they would probably not find the view reasonable , if we were to replace the words "speech perception' ' and " artifical speech understanding system " with the words "speech production " and "speech synthesis system". Perhaps that is because even an articulatory synthesizer does not look like a vocal tract , while our image of what goes on in the head is so vague that we can seriously entertain the notion that a network of inorganic plastic and wire might be made to operate on the same general principles as an organic network of blood and nerves.