The Origins Of Syllable Systems : an Operational Model. to appear in proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive science, COGSCI'2001, Edinburgh, Scotland., 2001

Sony CSL authors: Pierre-Yves Oudeyer


Many models, computational or not, exist that describe the acquisition of speech: they all rely on the pre-existence 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. The model brings more plausibility in favor of theories of language that defend the idea that there needs no innate linguistic specific abilities to explain observed regularities in world languages.

Keywords: origins of languages, sound systems, sound systems, adaptation, embodiment, embodiment, communication


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BibTeX entry

@PROCEEDINGS { oudeyer:01b, SERIES="to appear in proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive science, COGSCI\'2001, Edinburgh, Scotland.", TITLE="The Origins Of Syllable Systems : an Operational Model", YEAR="2001", }