You are here: Home Publications Empirical approaches for investigating the origins of structure in speech

Empirical approaches for investigating the origins of structure in speech

Little, H., Rasilo, H., van der Ham, S., & Eryılmaz, K. (2017). Empirical approaches for investigating the origins of structure in speech. Interaction studies, 18(3), 332-354. doi:10.1075/is.18.3.03lit.
In language evolution research, the use of computational and experimental methods to investigate the emergence of structure in language is exploding. In this review, we look exclusively at work exploring the emergence of structure in speech, on both a categorical level (what drives the emergence of an inventory of individual speech sounds), and a combinatorial level (how these individual speech sounds emerge and are reused as part of larger structures). We show that computational and experimental methods for investigating population-level processes can be effectively used to explore and measure the effects of learning, communication and transmission on the emergence of structure in speech. We also look at work on child language acquisition as a tool for generating and validating hypotheses for the emergence of speech categories. Further, we review the effects of noise, iconicity and production effects.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213

Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn