Re: speech/music (Mark DeWitt )

Subject: Re: speech/music
From:    Mark DeWitt  <dewitt(at)SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU>
Date:    Tue, 31 Mar 1998 10:09:53 -0800

Sue Johnson writes: >I'm sure you must be able to detect the presence of speech independent of >being able to recognise it. If someone spoke to me in Finnish say, I would >be able to tell they were speaking (even in the presence of background >music/noise), even though I couldn't even segment the words, never mind >syntactically or semantically parse them. I could imagine an experimental outcome that would show both Ellis's top-down and Johnson's bottom-up theories to be correct. If the sound pressure level of the speech signal were varied while keeping that of the music signal constant, then if there were something to the top-down theory, subjects should be able to detect speech signals at lower dB levels in their native language than in a language they don't know, even though the signal would probably be too faint for them to make out what was being said. I know this sounds far-fetched, but what if it were true? Does this sound like a reasonable experiment to try? Maybe someone's already done it. Mark DeWitt meddling musicologist

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University