Categorical Perception
(3,138 words)

The acoustic realization of consonants and vowels in a language is highly variable depending on the speaker, the phonological context, and the speaking rate. Categorical Perception (CP) is a mechanism to explain how the speech signal with infinite variability is perceptually mapped onto a finite set of discrete linguistic symbols. Although the initial studies only tested English materials and the research field is dominated by English-based studies, CP is considered to be a universal feature of …

Cite this page
Yang ZHANG, “Categorical Perception”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 18 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2015

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