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Speech development, speech disorders, phonetics, phonology, articulation, speech perception...and much more!

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Language development, acquisition, verbal language, syntax, morphology, pragmatics...and more!

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Featured Article

Stuttering Problems

There are many stuttering problems for people who stutter. People with an established stutter are aware of the negative effect of repetitions, prolongations, hesitations and blocks on their speech. Their stutter (stammer) may be accompanied by facial tics and uncontrolled body movements. Stuttering can lead to the avoidance of certain activities and to social isolation.

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The Meaning of First Words

In an early and influential publication, Halliday (1975) proposed seven semantic functions that help to classify the meaning of first words used by typically developing children.

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Linguistic Processing

Processing a spoken utterance You might say that there is nothing that remarkable about processing a spoken utterance…

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The Syntactic Problem

The syntactic problem is concerned with the difficulty of assigning roles, such as subject and object, in sentences and the ways in which meanings are bound together. It is concerned with how we derive meaning from sentence structure. The brain analyses sentences by identifying key words, which provide slots into which the meanings of other elements can be bound.

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The Semantic Problem

The semantic problem refers to the question of how spoken utterances are understood – how we derive meaning from sequences of words. Three factors are important in resolving meaning: the phonological form of a word, the other words appearing in the utterance, and the wider context of the discourse.

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Inference is an essential component of meaning-making and being understood. Since people communicate far more meaning than they ever encode and decode linguistically their meaning must be inferred by the listener. In fact, it is arguable that all human communication, including non-verbal communication, is inferential.

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Problems with the Encode-Decode Model

The encode-decode model states that the thing which makes communication possible is a common language. However, there are several problems with this simple account. For instance, human communication is not typically conducted in a linear, stepwise fashion. Also, the model does not take into account how people both create and process meaning.

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The Encode-Decode Model of Communication

The encode-decode model of communication implies that if a speaker and listener both share the same code – a common language – then communication is possible. Language allows humans to translate thoughts into strings of sounds, syllables and words, and to translate strings of sounds, syllables and words into thoughts. There are, though, a number of difficulties with this model as applied to human communication.

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Linguistic Knowledge Bases

Knowledge of the rules that govern how we encode and decode linguistic utterances can be thought of as being organized into three components: the semantic-syntactic knowledge base, the phonological knowledge base, and the phonetic knowledge base.

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