Listening and clarity of syntactic structure
Abstract: Listeners repeated fully grammatical sentences, exemplifying 12 linguistic constructions, heard though noise. In half the sentences the basic grammatical relations or constituent structure were more clearly displayed than in the matching versions. Although the differences in structure between the two versions were minimal (often just the presence or absence of a function word), the “clear” sentences were correctly repeated on the average 19% more often then the “distorted” sentences were. The results suggest that minor structural cues are important in listening to speech, at least under adverse conditions.
No sooner do we hear the words of a familiar language pronounced in our ears but the ideas corresponding thereto present themselves to out minds: in the very same instant the sound and the meaning enter the understanding: so closely are they united that it is not in out power to keep out the one except we exclude the other also. We even act in all respects as if we heard the very thoughts themselves. (Berkley, 1901,151, rubic51).