Attempting to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying spoken language processing, whether it is viewed as behaviour exhibited by human beings or as a faculty simulated by machines, is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our age. Despite tremendous achievements over the past 50 or so years, there is still a long way to go before we reach a comprehensive explanation of human spoken language behaviour and can create a technology with performance approaching or exceeding that of a human being. It is argued that progress is hampered by the fragmentation of the field across many different disciplines, coupled with a failure to create an integrated view of the fundamental mechanisms that underpin one organism's ability to communicate with another. This paper weaves together accounts from a wide variety of different disciplines concerned with the behaviour of living systems - many of them outside the normal realms of spoken language - and compiles them into a new model: PRESENCE (PREdictive SENsorimotor Control and Emulation). It is hoped that the results of this research will provide a sufficient glimpse into the future to give breath to a new generation of research into spoken language processing by mind or machine. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
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