Units in the Perception and Production of Speech
This final section has implications for physiologists and psychologists,
as well as linguistics and all those who would describe speech in any way.
The production of speech involves some of the most intricate, precisely
controlled, muscular movements that a human being can make; and the
perception of speech requires a complicated process of pattern recognition.
We know very little about the mental processes underlying these activities;
but the experiments reported here throw some light on the nature of the
stored patterns which must be involved. The data suggest that the smallest
units are not likely to be of the size of phonemes. Phonemes may provide
a convenient way of describing the competence of a speaker; but they
probably have no pschological or physiological correlates in the normal
process of listening and talking.