Modelling interactive language learning: a project presentation  

Francisco Lacerda, Lori Holt^, Rolf Carlson* & Ulla Sundberg

^ Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
* Department of Speech, Music, Hearing, KTH, Stockholm

In the Proceedings of Fonetik 2004, the XVII Swedish Phonetics Conference, Stockholm, May 26-28, 2004: 60-63.

ABSTRACT

This paper describes a recently started interdisciplinary research program aiming at investigating and modelling fundamental aspects of the language acquisition process. The working hypothesis assumes that general purpose perception and memory processes, common to both human and other mammalian species, along with the particular context of initial adult-infant interaction, underlie the infantís ability to progressively derive linguistic structure implicitly available in the ambient language. The project is conceived as an interdisciplinary research effort involving the areas of Phonetics, Psychology and Speech recognition. Experimental speech perception techniques will be used at Dept. of Linguistics, SU, to investigate the development of the infantís ability to derive linguistic information from situated connected speech. These experiments will be matched by behavioural tests of animal subjects, carried out at CMU, Pittsburgh, to disclose the potential significance that recurrent multi-sensory properties of the stimuli may have for spontaneous category formation. Data from infant and child vocal productions as well as infant-adult interactions will also be collected and analyzed to address the possibility of a production-perception link. Finally, the data from the infant and animal studies will be integrated and tested in mathematical models of the language acquisition process, developed at TMH, KTH.

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