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The Origins Of Syllable Systems: An Operational Model

By Pierre-yves Oudeyer


Many models, computational or not, exist that describe the acquisition of speech: they all rely on the preexistence of some sort of linguistic structure in the input, i.e. speech itself. Very few address the question of how this coherence and structure appeared. We try here to give a solution concerning syllable systems. We propose an operational model that shows how a society of robotic agents, endowed with a set of non-linguistically specific motor, perceptual, cognitive and social constraints (some of them are obstacles whereas others are opportunities), can collectively build a coherent and structured syllable system from scratch. As opposed to many existing abstract models of the origins of language, as few shortcuts as possible were taken in the way the constraints are implemented. The structural properties of the produced sound systems are extensively studied under the light of phonetics and phonology and more broadly language theory

Year: 2001
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