Dynamic specification of speech and sign  

Lindblom, B., Mauk, C.* & Moon, S.-J.^

*University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
^AJOU University, Suwon, Korea

In P. Divenyi, S. Greenberg & G. Meyer (Eds): Dynamics of Speech Production and Perception. IOS Press, Amsterdam: 7-20.


Sensory systems prefer time-varying over static stimuli. An example of this fact is provided by the dynamic spectro-temporal changes of speech signals which are known to play a key role in speech perception. To some investigators such observations provide support for adopting the gesture as the basic entity of speech. An alleged advantage of such a dynamically defined unit - over the more traditional, static and abstract, phoneme or segment - is that it can readily be observed in phonetic records. However, as has been thoroughly documented throughout the last fifty years, articulatory and acoustic measurements are ubiquitously context-dependent. That makes the gesture, defined as an observable, problematic as a primitive of phonetic theory. The goal of the present paper is to propose a resolution of the static-dynamic paradox. An analysis of articulatory and sign movement dynamics is presented in terms of a traditional model based on timeless spatial specifications (targets, via points) plus smoothing (as determined by the dynamics of speech effectors). We justify this analysis as follows: A first motivation is empirical:

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