ITRW on Experimental Linguistics
The study of speech perception over the past 60 years has tried to determine the human processes that underlie the rapid understanding of fluent speech. A first step was to determine the units of speech that could be experimentally manipulated. Years of examining the acoustic properties associated with phonemes led to theories such as the Motor Theory which postulate larger units that integrate vowel and consonant information. Current approaches find better support for the syllable as the most robust and coherent unit of speech. A complete theory of speech perception should systematically map how speech acoustic information is processed bottom-up through the peripheral and central auditory system, as well as how linguistic knowledge interacts top-down with the acoustic-phonetic information to extract meaning.
Bibliographic reference. Kewley-Port, Diane (2006): "Topics in speech perception", In ExLing-2006, 33-40.