The architecture of speech perception: Data from language acquisition and speech processing – Emmanuel Dupoux (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris)

October 30, 2006 all-day

The human speech communication system is uniquely complex. It is complex in its intricate use of levels of representations sounds, words, sentences, and in the range of superficial variability that it displays, both across cultures and across individuals. Despite such complexities, human babies quickly and robustly acquire the languages spoken in their community. In this talk, we discuss speech processing architectures that could address such robustness of speech acquisition. In particular we review recent data suggesting that speech variability is dealt with through three subsystems: 1. an acoustic-universal system which is not learnt and shared across species 2. a phonetic system, learnt early in life in a bottom up fashion and nonplastic after a critical period, 3., a phonological system, learnt in a top down fashion, and remaining very plastic throughout life. We discuss data on early language acquisition as well as second language learning.

Prof. Dupoux’s research focuses on the procedures and representations specific to the human brain that allow the baby to acquire one or several languages, using classical techniques in adult processing, newborn studies and brain imagery. He is the director of the Laboratoire des Sciences Cognitive et Psycholinguistique Psycholinguisitics and Cognitive Science Lab in Paris. His training is in cognitive psychology, applied mathematics, computer science and engineering (Telecom).

Center for Language and Speech Processing