Mitterer, H., & Cutler, A.
Speech perception. In K. Brown (Ed.
), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (vol. 11)
(pp. 770-782). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
The goal of speech perception is understanding a speaker's message. To achieve this, listeners must recognize the words that comprise a spoken utterance. This in turn implies distinguishing these words from other minimally different words (e.g., word from bird, etc.), and this involves making phonemic distinctions. The article summarizes research on the perception of phonemic distinctions, on how listeners cope with the continuity and variability of speech signals, and on how phonemic information is mapped onto the representations of words. Particular attention is paid to theories of speech perception and word recognition.