Categorical Speech Perception Learning the phonemes (speech sounds) of your mother tongue –200 speech sounds (sound categories) universally heard by all newborns –45-ish sound categories (/bah/, /pah/, /rah/, /lah/, etc.) are heard in typical languages by adults –Why are they called categories of sound? –Because bah is always bah no matter who says it –You hear bah if it is said by 2 year old or 22-year old; female or male speaker, etc.
Categorical Speech Perception Learning the phonemes (speech sounds) of your mother tongue –What happened to the other 150-ish sounds categories that young babies can hear, but are lost by adulthood? –Examples: Adult Japanese speakers do not distinguish the sounds /rah/ vs. /lah/ -- flied lice for fried rice –The Japanese language do not differentiate these sound categories(they are the same sound in Japanese) –English does differentiate these sounds in their langauge –What sounds do babies continue to hear? Those that they are routinely exposed to -- Use it, or lose it