SPA 3003: Phonetics (Fall 2020)vocal-tract

1. Instructional Goals

This undergraduate course introduces students to the nature of human speech production, acoustics, and perception from both a cognitive science and clinical perspective. The instructional goals are: (1) To build an integrated understanding of the physiology, acoustics, and perception of speech. We will study the vocal tract structures capable of generating and modifying speech signals, and the underlying brain mechanisms responsible for commanding the musculature of the vocal tract.  We will also study the mechanisms by which listeners map the resulting acoustic signal onto phonological units. (2) To explore contemporary theories and experimental investigations of normal and disordered control of the vocal tract in the production of sound segments and syllables. (3) To introduce students to state-of-the-art measurement tools for dynamic imaging of speech movements. Live demonstrations and mini experiments will provide hands-on training in measuring speech movements and their acoustic correlates, and reinforce fundamental principles about how the sounds of speech are generated. (4) To provide intensive training in classifying sound segments and transcribing acoustic data using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

2. Intended Learning Outcomes

The overall outcome is to be able to: (1) Describe and explain fundamental principles of the production, perception, and acoustics of speech. (2) Apply that basic knowledge of speech processes to the study of normal and disordered speech physiology and production. (3) Generate hypotheses, interpret data, and actively discuss arguments dealing with speech processes. (4) Develop and utilize a set of phonetic transcription skills, including describing, pronouncing, and classifying sound segments using phonetic terminology; transcribing standard American English  using IPA symbols at different levels of detail (broad vs. narrow) and representational levels (segmental vs. suprasegmental); (5) Write a short paper or critique of an experimental paper that deals with speech articulation and/or perception.


Coming Soon: Speech Perception (Course Code and Schedule TBD)

This undergrad course will critically examine data and theories concerning human speech perception mechanisms and processes.


Sensory-Motor Integration for Speech (Course Code and Schedule TBD)

This PhD-level seminar will explore how humans control articulatory movements by effectively monitoring time-varying patterns of auditory and somatosensory sensation.