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August 1976

Multidimensional Speech Perception by the Hearing Impaired: A Treatise on Distinctive Features

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Arch Otolaryngol. 1976;102(8):518. doi:10.1001/archotol.1976.00780130112026

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In the last decade, the study of language perception has been facilitated by the use of distinctive features underlying the phonemic elements. For example, 40 consonant and vowel sounds of English can be described by eight or so binary attributes, such as voiced-unvoiced, nasal-nonnasal, stop-continuant. No one set of features has been agreed on, but a few features seem to appear in most systems. In the quest for consistent and crucial features, subjects of experiments are typically asked to judge the similarity of speech sounds according to certain psychophysical methods, and the judgments are analyzed by various scaling methods. Multidimensional scaling permits an analysis of several perceptual cues employed by the subjects in making their judgments.

Noting the inadequacies of presentday speech discrimination testing in describing the auditory perceptual difficulties of hearing-impaired persons, the authors attempt to bring the distinctive features and multidimensional scaling approaches to the study of auditory

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