The complicated Ba/Pa lecture…made
simple by Alex and Nicole 
• Categorical perception: “this refers to our
tendency to hear speech sounds ‘merely’
as members of a category—the category
[b] sounds or the category of [p] sounds.
More precisely, we are quite adept at
hearing differences between categories
but we are relatively insensitive to
variations within the category.”
– We easily hear the difference between a [b]
and a [p], but we are not able to distinguish a
[p] and a [p].
– This is what the chart shows:
• The white part is a B, and the black part is a P. if a
sound falls in either side, we hear it as that letter.
If you hear two sounds, and one falls on the black side and
one on the white side, you hear it as two distinct
categories, or two distinct letters. The spike represents the
b/b b/b b/b b/p p/p p/p p/p
• This chart just shows that the p sounds
differ in the different times that air is being
released from your mouth. (you can have
different gradients of the sound P by
holding the air longer before releasing it,
but you still hear it as a distinct P) THAT’S
IT! On the left is the B the right is the P.
Voice-Onset Time
- 25ms
R vs L
• For English speakers, these are two distinct
sounds. They would follow the black line on the
chart above.
• For Japanese speakers, these are not two
distinct sounds, so these people perceive them
as the SAME letter, no matter where they fall,
and would follow the red line on the chart above.
– This is because we are very sensitive to phonemes of
our own language, but have a hard time
distinguishing for other languages. R and L are
distinct phonemes in the English language, but not
the Japanese language.
On becoming a
soon-to-be father of
two!! 

The complicated Ba/Pa lecture…redone