Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 105
  • Alday, P. M. (2016). Towards a rigorous motivation for Ziph's law. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/178.html.

    Abstract

    Language evolution can be viewed from two viewpoints: the development of a communicative system and the biological adaptations necessary for producing and perceiving said system. The communicative-system vantage point has enjoyed a wealth of mathematical models based on simple distributional properties of language, often formulated as empirical laws. However, be- yond vague psychological notions of “least effort”, no principled explanation has been proposed for the existence and success of such laws. Meanwhile, psychological and neurobiological mod- els have focused largely on the computational constraints presented by incremental, real-time processing. In the following, we show that information-theoretic entropy underpins successful models of both types and provides a more principled motivation for Zipf’s Law
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2016). Generalization in Artificial Language Learning: Modelling the Propensity to Generalize. In Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Cognitive Aspects of Computational Language Learning (pp. 64-72). Association for Computational Linguistics. doi:10.18653/v1/W16-1909.

    Abstract

    Experiments in Artificial Language Learn- ing have revealed much about the cogni- tive mechanisms underlying sequence and language learning in human adults, in in- fants and in non-human animals. This pa- per focuses on their ability to generalize to novel grammatical instances (i.e., in- stances consistent with a familiarization pattern). Notably, the propensity to gen- eralize appears to be negatively correlated with the amount of exposure to the artifi- cial language, a fact that has been claimed to be contrary to the predictions of statis- tical models (Pe ̃ na et al. (2002); Endress and Bonatti (2007)). In this paper, we pro- pose to model generalization as a three- step process, and we demonstrate that the use of statistical models for the first two steps, contrary to widespread intuitions in the ALL-field, can explain the observed decrease of the propensity to generalize with exposure time.
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2016). Pre-Wiring and Pre-Training: What does a neural network need to learn truly general identity rules? In T. R. Besold, A. Bordes, & A. D'Avila Garcez (Eds.), CoCo 2016 Cognitive Computation: Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Computation: Integrating neural and symbolic approaches 2016. CEUR Workshop Proceedings.

    Abstract

    In an influential paper, Marcus et al. [1999] claimed that connectionist models cannot account for human success at learning tasks that involved generalization of abstract knowledge such as grammatical rules. This claim triggered a heated debate, centered mostly around variants of the Simple Recurrent Network model [Elman, 1990]. In our work, we revisit this unresolved debate and analyze the underlying issues from a different perspective. We argue that, in order to simulate human-like learning of grammatical rules, a neural network model should not be used as a tabula rasa , but rather, the initial wiring of the neural connections and the experience acquired prior to the actual task should be incorporated into the model. We present two methods that aim to provide such initial state: a manipu- lation of the initial connections of the network in a cognitively plausible manner (concretely, by implementing a “delay-line” memory), and a pre-training algorithm that incrementally challenges the network with novel stimuli. We implement such techniques in an Echo State Network [Jaeger, 2001], and we show that only when combining both techniques the ESN is able to learn truly general identity rules.
  • Alhama, R. G., Siegelman, N., Frost, R., & Armstrong, B. C. (2019). The role of information in visual word recognition: A perceptually-constrained connectionist account. In A. Goel, C. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 83-89). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Proficient readers typically fixate near the center of a word, with a slight bias towards word onset. We explore a novel account of this phenomenon based on combining information-theory with visual perceptual constraints in a connectionist model of visual word recognition. This account posits that the amount of information-content available for word identification varies across fixation locations and across languages, thereby explaining the overall fixation location bias in different languages, making the novel prediction that certain words are more readily identified when fixating at an atypical fixation location, and predicting specific cross-linguistic differences. We tested these predictions across several simulations in English and Hebrew, and in a pilot behavioral experiment. Results confirmed that the bias to fixate closer to word onset aligns with maximizing information in the visual signal, that some words are more readily identified at atypical fixation locations, and that these effects vary to some degree across languages.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). A discourse-pragmatic explanation for the subject-object asymmetry in early null arguments. In A. Sorace, C. Heycock, & R. Shillcock (Eds.), Proceedings of the GALA '97 Conference on Language Acquisition (pp. 10-15). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.

    Abstract

    The present paper assesses discourse-pragmatic factors as a potential explanation for the subject-object assymetry in early child language. It identifies a set of factors which characterize typical situations of informativeness (Greenfield & Smith, 1976), and uses these factors to identify informative arguments in data from four children aged 2;0 through 3;6 learning Inuktitut as a first language. In addition, it assesses the extent of the links between features of informativeness on one hand and lexical vs. null and subject vs. object arguments on the other. Results suggest that a pragmatics account of the subject-object asymmetry can be upheld to a greater extent than previous research indicates, and that several of the factors characterizing informativeness are good indicators of those arguments which tend to be omitted in early child language.
  • Azar, Z., Backus, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Pragmatic relativity: Gender and context affect the use of personal pronouns in discourse differentially across languages. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1295-1300). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speakers use differential referring expressions in pragmatically appropriate ways to produce coherent narratives. Languages, however, differ in a) whether REs as arguments can be dropped and b) whether personal pronouns encode gender. We examine two languages that differ from each other in these two aspects and ask whether the co-reference context and the gender encoding options affect the use of REs differentially. We elicited narratives from Dutch and Turkish speakers about two types of three-person events, one including people of the same and the other of mixed-gender. Speakers re-introduced referents into the discourse with fuller forms (NPs) and maintained them with reduced forms (overt or null pronoun). Turkish speakers used pronouns mainly to mark emphasis and only Dutch speakers used pronouns differentially across the two types of videos. We argue that linguistic possibilities available in languages tune speakers into taking different principles into account to produce pragmatically coherent narratives
  • Bentum, M., Ten Bosch, L., Van den Bosch, A., & Ernestus, M. (2019). Listening with great expectations: An investigation of word form anticipations in naturalistic speech. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 2265-2269). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2741.

    Abstract

    The event-related potential (ERP) component named phonological mismatch negativity (PMN) arises when listeners hear an unexpected word form in a spoken sentence [1]. The PMN is thought to reflect the mismatch between expected and perceived auditory speech input. In this paper, we use the PMN to test a central premise in the predictive coding framework [2], namely that the mismatch between prior expectations and sensory input is an important mechanism of perception. We test this with natural speech materials containing approximately 50,000 word tokens. The corresponding EEG-signal was recorded while participants (n = 48) listened to these materials. Following [3], we quantify the mismatch with two word probability distributions (WPD): a WPD based on preceding context, and a WPD that is additionally updated based on the incoming audio of the current word. We use the between-WPD cross entropy for each word in the utterances and show that a higher cross entropy correlates with a more negative PMN. Our results show that listeners anticipate auditory input while processing each word in naturalistic speech. Moreover, complementing previous research, we show that predictive language processing occurs across the whole probability spectrum.
  • Bentum, M., Ten Bosch, L., Van den Bosch, A., & Ernestus, M. (2019). Quantifying expectation modulation in human speech processing. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 2270-2274). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2685.

    Abstract

    The mismatch between top-down predicted and bottom-up perceptual input is an important mechanism of perception according to the predictive coding framework (Friston, [1]). In this paper we develop and validate a new information-theoretic measure that quantifies the mismatch between expected and observed auditory input during speech processing. We argue that such a mismatch measure is useful for the study of speech processing. To compute the mismatch measure, we use naturalistic speech materials containing approximately 50,000 word tokens. For each word token we first estimate the prior word probability distribution with the aid of statistical language modelling, and next use automatic speech recognition to update this word probability distribution based on the unfolding speech signal. We validate the mismatch measure with multiple analyses, and show that the auditory-based update improves the probability of the correct word and lowers the uncertainty of the word probability distribution. Based on these results, we argue that it is possible to explicitly estimate the mismatch between predicted and perceived speech input with the cross entropy between word expectations computed before and after an auditory update.
  • Bergmann, C., Cristia, A., & Dupoux, E. (2016). Discriminability of sound contrasts in the face of speaker variation quantified. In Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1331-1336). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    How does a naive language learner deal with speaker variation irrelevant to distinguishing word meanings? Experimental data is contradictory, and incompatible models have been proposed. Here, we examine basic assumptions regarding the acoustic signal the learner deals with: Is speaker variability a hurdle in discriminating sounds or can it easily be ignored? To this end, we summarize existing infant data. We then present machine-based discriminability scores of sound pairs obtained without any language knowledge. Our results show that speaker variability decreases sound contrast discriminability, and that some contrasts are affected more than others. However, chance performance is rare; most contrasts remain discriminable in the face of speaker variation. We take our results to mean that speaker variation is not a uniform hurdle to discriminating sound contrasts, and careful examination is necessary when planning and interpreting studies testing whether and to what extent infants (and adults) are sensitive to speaker differences.

    Additional information

    Scripts and data
  • Bosker, H. R., Reinisch, E., & Sjerps, M. J. (2016). Listening under cognitive load makes speech sound fast. In H. van den Heuvel, B. Cranen, & S. Mattys (Eds.), Proceedings of the Speech Processing in Realistic Environments [SPIRE] Workshop (pp. 23-24). Groningen.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2016). Our own speech rate influences speech perception. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Stattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 227-231).

    Abstract

    During conversation, spoken utterances occur in rich acoustic contexts, including speech produced by our interlocutor(s) and speech we produced ourselves. Prosodic characteristics of the acoustic context have been known to influence speech perception in a contrastive fashion: for instance, a vowel presented in a fast context is perceived to have a longer duration than the same vowel in a slow context. Given the ubiquity of the sound of our own voice, it may be that our own speech rate - a common source of acoustic context - also influences our perception of the speech of others. Two experiments were designed to test this hypothesis. Experiment 1 replicated earlier contextual rate effects by showing that hearing pre-recorded fast or slow context sentences alters the perception of ambiguous Dutch target words. Experiment 2 then extended this finding by showing that talking at a fast or slow rate prior to the presentation of the target words also altered the perception of those words. These results suggest that between-talker variation in speech rate production may induce between-talker variation in speech perception, thus potentially explaining why interlocutors tend to converge on speech rate in dialogue settings.

    Additional information

    pdf via conference website227
  • Bowerman, M., de León, L., & Choi, S. (1995). Verbs, particles, and spatial semantics: Learning to talk about spatial actions in typologically different languages. In E. V. Clark (Ed.), Proceedings of the Twenty-seventh Annual Child Language Research Forum (pp. 101-110). Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.
  • Brehm, L., Jackson, C. N., & Miller, K. L. (2019). Incremental interpretation in the first and second language. In M. Brown, & B. Dailey (Eds.), BUCLD 43: Proceedings of the 43rd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 109-122). Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2016). Lexical manipulation as a discovery tool for psycholinguistic research. In C. Carignan, & M. D. Tyler (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (SST2016) (pp. 313-316).
  • Bruggeman, L., & Cutler, A. (2019). The dynamics of lexical activation and competition in bilinguals’ first versus second language. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1342-1346). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    Speech input causes listeners to activate multiple candidate words which then compete with one another. These include onset competitors, that share a beginning (bumper, butter), but also, counterintuitively, rhyme competitors, sharing an ending (bumper, jumper). In L1, competition is typically stronger for onset than for rhyme. In L2, onset competition has been attested but rhyme competition has heretofore remained largely unexamined. We assessed L1 (Dutch) and L2 (English) word recognition by the same late-bilingual individuals. In each language, eye gaze was recorded as listeners heard sentences and viewed sets of drawings: three unrelated, one depicting an onset or rhyme competitor of a word in the input. Activation patterns revealed substantial onset competition but no significant rhyme competition in either L1 or L2. Rhyme competition may thus be a “luxury” feature of maximally efficient listening, to be abandoned when resources are scarcer, as in listening by late bilinguals, in either language.
  • Crago, M. B., Allen, S. E. M., & Pesco, D. (1998). Issues of Complexity in Inuktitut and English Child Directed Speech. In Proceedings of the twenty-ninth Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum (pp. 37-46).
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2016). Language does not explain the wine-specific memory advantage of wine experts. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 141-146). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Although people are poor at naming odors, naming a smell helps to remember that odor. Previous studies show wine experts have better memory for smells, and they also name smells differently than novices. Is wine experts’ odor memory is verbally mediated? And is the odor memory advantage that experts have over novices restricted to odors in their domain of expertise, or does it generalize? Twenty-four wine experts and 24 novices smelled wines, wine-related odors and common odors, and remembered these. Half the participants also named the smells. Wine experts had better memory for wines, but not for the other odors, indicating their memory advantage is restricted to wine. Wine experts named odors better than novices, but there was no relationship between experts’ ability to name odors and their memory for odors. This suggests experts’ odor memory advantage is not linguistically mediated, but may be the result of differential perceptual learning
  • Cutler, A., Burchfield, A., & Antoniou, M. (2019). A criterial interlocutor tally for successful talker adaptation? In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1485-1489). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    Part of the remarkable efficiency of listening is accommodation to unfamiliar talkers’ specific pronunciations by retuning of phonemic intercategory boundaries. Such retuning occurs in second (L2) as well as first language (L1); however, recent research with emigrés revealed successful adaptation in the environmental L2 but, unprecedentedly, not in L1 despite continuing L1 use. A possible explanation involving relative exposure to novel talkers is here tested in heritage language users with Mandarin as family L1 and English as environmental language. In English, exposure to an ambiguous sound in disambiguating word contexts prompted the expected adjustment of phonemic boundaries in subsequent categorisation. However, no adjustment occurred in Mandarin, again despite regular use. Participants reported highly asymmetric interlocutor counts in the two languages. We conclude that successful retuning ability requires regular exposure to novel talkers in the language in question, a criterion not met for the emigrés’ or for these heritage users’ L1.
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (1998). Assimilation of place in Japanese and Dutch. In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: vol. 5 (pp. 1751-1754). Sydney: ICLSP.

    Abstract

    Assimilation of place of articulation across a nasal and a following stop consonant is obligatory in Japanese, but not in Dutch. In four experiments the processing of assimilated forms by speakers of Japanese and Dutch was compared, using a task in which listeners blended pseudo-word pairs such as ranga-serupa. An assimilated blend of this pair would be rampa, an unassimilated blend rangpa. Japanese listeners produced significantly more assimilated than unassimilated forms, both with pseudo-Japanese and pseudo-Dutch materials, while Dutch listeners produced significantly more unassimilated than assimilated forms in each materials set. This suggests that Japanese listeners, whose native-language phonology involves obligatory assimilation constraints, represent the assimilated nasals in nasal-stop sequences as unmarked for place of articulation, while Dutch listeners, who are accustomed to hearing unassimilated forms, represent the same nasal segments as marked for place of articulation.
  • Ip, M., & Cutler, A. (2016). Cross-language data on five types of prosodic focus. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 330-334).

    Abstract

    To examine the relative roles of language-specific and language-universal mechanisms in the production of prosodic focus, we compared production of five different types of focus by native speakers of English and Mandarin. Two comparable dialogues were constructed for each language, with the same words appearing in focused and unfocused position; 24 speakers recorded each dialogue in each language. Duration, F0 (mean, maximum, range), and rms-intensity (mean, maximum) of all critical word tokens were measured. Across the different types of focus, cross-language differences were observed in the degree to which English versus Mandarin speakers use the different prosodic parameters to mark focus, suggesting that while prosody may be universally available for expressing focus, the means of its employment may be considerably language-specific
  • Cutler, A. (1998). How listeners find the right words. In Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress on Acoustics: Vol. 2 (pp. 1377-1380). Melville, NY: Acoustical Society of America.

    Abstract

    Languages contain tens of thousands of words, but these are constructed from a tiny handful of phonetic elements. Consequently, words resemble one another, or can be embedded within one another, a coup stick snot with standing. me process of spoken-word recognition by human listeners involves activation of multiple word candidates consistent with the input, and direct competition between activated candidate words. Further, human listeners are sensitive, at an early, prelexical, stage of speeeh processing, to constraints on what could potentially be a word of the language.
  • Cutler, A., & Chen, H.-C. (1995). Phonological similarity effects in Cantonese word recognition. In K. Elenius, & P. Branderud (Eds.), Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: Vol. 1 (pp. 106-109). Stockholm: Stockholm University.

    Abstract

    Two lexical decision experiments in Cantonese are described in which the recognition of spoken target words as a function of phonological similarity to a preceding prime is investigated. Phonological similaritv in first syllables produced inhibition, while similarity in second syllables led to facilitation. Differences between syllables in tonal and segmental structure had generally similar effects.
  • Cutler, A., Treiman, R., & Van Ooijen, B. (1998). Orthografik inkoncistensy ephekts in foneme detektion? In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 6 (pp. 2783-2786). Sydney: ICSLP.

    Abstract

    The phoneme detection task is widely used in spoken word recognition research. Alphabetically literate participants, however, are more used to explicit representations of letters than of phonemes. The present study explored whether phoneme detection is sensitive to how target phonemes are, or may be, orthographically realised. Listeners detected the target sounds [b,m,t,f,s,k] in word-initial position in sequences of isolated English words. Response times were faster to the targets [b,m,t], which have consistent word-initial spelling, than to the targets [f,s,k], which are inconsistently spelled, but only when listeners’ attention was drawn to spelling by the presence in the experiment of many irregularly spelled fillers. Within the inconsistent targets [f,s,k], there was no significant difference between responses to targets in words with majority and minority spellings. We conclude that performance in the phoneme detection task is not necessarily sensitive to orthographic effects, but that salient orthographic manipulation can induce such sensitivity.
  • Cutler, A. (1998). The recognition of spoken words with variable representations. In D. Duez (Ed.), Proceedings of the ESCA Workshop on Sound Patterns of Spontaneous Speech (pp. 83-92). Aix-en-Provence: Université de Aix-en-Provence.
  • Cutler, A. (1995). Universal and Language-Specific in the Development of Speech. Biology International, (Special Issue 33).
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2016). Anatomical biasing of click learning and production: An MRI and 3d palate imaging study. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/57.html.

    Abstract

    The current paper presents results for data on click learning obtained from a larger imaging study (using MRI and 3D intraoral scanning) designed to quantify and characterize intra- and inter-population variation of vocal tract structures and the relation of this to speech production. The aim of the click study was to ascertain whether and to what extent vocal tract morphology influences (1) the ability to learn to produce clicks and (2) the productions of those that successfully learn to produce these sounds. The results indicate that the presence of an alveolar ridge certainly does not prevent an individual from learning to produce click sounds (1). However, the subtle details of how clicks are produced may indeed be driven by palate shape (2).
  • Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. (2016). Defining and counting phonological classes in cross-linguistic segment databases. In N. Calzolari, K. Choukri, T. Declerck, S. Goggi, M. Grobelnik, B. Maegaard, J. Mariani, H. Mazo, A. Moreno, J. Odijk, & S. Piperidis (Eds.), Proceedings of LREC 2016: 10th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (pp. 1955-1962). Paris: European Language Resources Association (ELRA).

    Abstract

    Recently, there has been an explosion in the availability of large, good-quality cross-linguistic databases such as WALS (Dryer & Haspelmath, 2013), Glottolog (Hammarstrom et al., 2015) and Phoible (Moran & McCloy, 2014). Databases such as Phoible contain the actual segments used by various languages as they are given in the primary language descriptions. However, this segment-level representation cannot be used directly for analyses that require generalizations over classes of segments that share theoretically interesting features. Here we present a method and the associated R (R Core Team, 2014) code that allows the exible denition of such meaningful classes and that can identify the sets of segments falling into such a class for any language inventory. The method and its results are important for those interested in exploring cross-linguistic patterns of phonetic and phonological diversity and their relationship to extra-linguistic factors and processes such as climate, economics, history or human genetics.
  • Dideriksen, C., Fusaroli, R., Tylén, K., Dingemanse, M., & Christiansen, M. H. (2019). Contextualizing Conversational Strategies: Backchannel, Repair and Linguistic Alignment in Spontaneous and Task-Oriented Conversations. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 261-267). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Do interlocutors adjust their conversational strategies to the specific contextual demands of a given situation? Prior studies have yielded conflicting results, making it unclear how strategies vary with demands. We combine insights from qualitative and quantitative approaches in a within-participant experimental design involving two different contexts: spontaneously occurring conversations (SOC) and task-oriented conversations (TOC). We systematically assess backchanneling, other-repair and linguistic alignment. We find that SOC exhibit a higher number of backchannels, a reduced and more generic repair format and higher rates of lexical and syntactic alignment. TOC are characterized by a high number of specific repairs and a lower rate of lexical and syntactic alignment. However, when alignment occurs, more linguistic forms are aligned. The findings show that conversational strategies adapt to specific contextual demands.
  • Doumas, L. A., & Martin, A. E. (2016). Abstraction in time: Finding hierarchical linguistic structure in a model of relational processing. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2279-2284). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Abstract mental representation is fundamental for human cognition. Forming such representations in time, especially from dynamic and noisy perceptual input, is a challenge for any processing modality, but perhaps none so acutely as for language processing. We show that LISA (Hummel & Holyaok, 1997) and DORA (Doumas, Hummel, & Sandhofer, 2008), models built to process and to learn structured (i.e., symbolic) rep resentations of conceptual properties and relations from unstructured inputs, show oscillatory activation during processing that is highly similar to the cortical activity elicited by the linguistic stimuli from Ding et al.(2016). We argue, as Ding et al.(2016), that this activation reflects formation of hierarchical linguistic representation, and furthermore, that the kind of computational mechanisms in LISA/DORA (e.g., temporal binding by systematic asynchrony of firing) may underlie formation of abstract linguistic representations in the human brain. It may be this repurposing that allowed for the generation or mergence of hierarchical linguistic structure, and therefore, human language, from extant cognitive and neural systems. We conclude that models of thinking and reasoning and models of language processing must be integrated —not only for increased plausiblity, but in order to advance both fields towards a larger integrative model of human cognition
  • Drozd, K. F. (1998). No as a determiner in child English: A summary of categorical evidence. In A. Sorace, C. Heycock, & R. Shillcock (Eds.), Proceedings of the Gala '97 Conference on Language Acquisition (pp. 34-39). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press,.

    Abstract

    This paper summarizes the results of a descriptive syntactic category analysis of child English no which reveals that young children use and represent no as a determiner and negatives like no pen as NPs, contra standard analyses.
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). Processing and adaptation to ambiguous sounds during the course of perceptual learning. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2811-2815). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-814.

    Abstract

    Listeners use their lexical knowledge to interpret ambiguous sounds, and retune their phonetic categories to include this ambiguous sound. Although there is ample evidence for lexically-guided retuning, the adaptation process is not fully understood. Using a lexical decision task with an embedded auditory semantic priming task, the present study investigates whether words containing an ambiguous sound are processed in the same way as “natural” words and whether adaptation to the ambiguous sound tends to equalize the processing of “ambiguous” and natural words. Analyses of the yes/no responses and reaction times to natural and “ambiguous” words showed that words containing an ambiguous sound were accepted as words less often and were processed slower than the same words without ambiguity. The difference in acceptance disappeared after exposure to approximately 15 ambiguous items. Interestingly, lower acceptance rates and slower processing did not have an effect on the processing of semantic information of the following word. However, lower acceptance rates of ambiguous primes predict slower reaction times of these primes, suggesting an important role of stimulus-specific characteristics in triggering lexically-guided perceptual learning.
  • Eryilmaz, K., Little, H., & De Boer, B. (2016). Using HMMs To Attribute Structure To Artificial Languages. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/125.html.

    Abstract

    We investigated the use of Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) as a way of representing repertoires of continuous signals in order to infer their building blocks. We tested the idea on a dataset from an artificial language experiment. The study demonstrates using HMMs for this purpose is viable, but also that there is a lot of room for refinement such as explicit duration modeling, incorporation of autoregressive elements and relaxing the Markovian assumption, in order to accommodate specific details.
  • Felker, E. R., Ernestus, M., & Broersma, M. (2019). Evaluating dictation task measures for the study of speech perception. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2019) (pp. 383-387). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    This paper shows that the dictation task, a well- known testing instrument in language education, has untapped potential as a research tool for studying speech perception. We describe how transcriptions can be scored on measures of lexical, orthographic, phonological, and semantic similarity to target phrases to provide comprehensive information about accuracy at different processing levels. The former three measures are automatically extractable, increasing objectivity, and the middle two are gradient, providing finer-grained information than traditionally used. We evaluate the measures in an English dictation task featuring phonetically reduced continuous speech. Whereas the lexical and orthographic measures emphasize listeners’ word identification difficulties, the phonological measure demonstrates that listeners can often still recover phonological features, and the semantic measure captures their ability to get the gist of the utterances. Correlational analyses and a discussion of practical and theoretical considerations show that combining multiple measures improves the dictation task’s utility as a research tool.
  • Felker, E. R., Ernestus, M., & Broersma, M. (2019). Lexically guided perceptual learning of a vowel shift in an interactive L2 listening context. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 3123-3127). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1414.

    Abstract

    Lexically guided perceptual learning has traditionally been studied with ambiguous consonant sounds to which native listeners are exposed in a purely receptive listening context. To extend previous research, we investigate whether lexically guided learning applies to a vowel shift encountered by non-native listeners in an interactive dialogue. Dutch participants played a two-player game in English in either a control condition, which contained no evidence for a vowel shift, or a lexically constraining condition, in which onscreen lexical information required them to re-interpret their interlocutor’s /ɪ/ pronunciations as representing /ε/. A phonetic categorization pre-test and post-test were used to assess whether the game shifted listeners’ phonemic boundaries such that more of the /ε/-/ɪ/ continuum came to be perceived as /ε/. Both listener groups showed an overall post-test shift toward /ɪ/, suggesting that vowel perception may be sensitive to directional biases related to properties of the speaker’s vowel space. Importantly, listeners in the lexically constraining condition made relatively more post-test /ε/ responses than the control group, thereby exhibiting an effect of lexically guided adaptation. The results thus demonstrate that non-native listeners can adjust their phonemic boundaries on the basis of lexical information to accommodate a vowel shift learned in interactive conversation.
  • Filippi, P., Congdon, J. V., Hoang, J., Bowling, D. L., Reber, S., Pašukonis, A., Hoeschele, M., Ocklenburg, S., de Boer, B., Sturdy, C. B., Newen, A., & Güntürkün, O. (2016). Humans Recognize Vocal Expressions Of Emotional States Universally Across Species. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/91.html.

    Abstract

    The perception of danger in the environment can induce physiological responses (such as a heightened state of arousal) in animals, which may cause measurable changes in the prosodic modulation of the voice (Briefer, 2012). The ability to interpret the prosodic features of animal calls as an indicator of emotional arousal may have provided the first hominins with an adaptive advantage, enabling, for instance, the recognition of a threat in the surroundings. This ability might have paved the ability to process meaningful prosodic modulations in the emerging linguistic utterances.
  • Filippi, P., Ocklenburg, S., Bowling, D. L., Heege, L., Newen, A., Güntürkün, O., & de Boer, B. (2016). Multimodal Processing Of Emotional Meanings: A Hypothesis On The Adaptive Value Of Prosody. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/90.html.

    Abstract

    Humans combine multiple sources of information to comprehend meanings. These sources can be characterized as linguistic (i.e., lexical units and/or sentences) or paralinguistic (e.g. body posture, facial expression, voice intonation, pragmatic context). Emotion communication is a special case in which linguistic and paralinguistic dimensions can simultaneously denote the same, or multiple incongruous referential meanings. Think, for instance, about when someone says “I’m sad!”, but does so with happy intonation and a happy facial expression. Here, the communicative channels express very specific (although conflicting) emotional states as denotations. In such cases of intermodal incongruence, are we involuntarily biased to respond to information in one channel over the other? We hypothesize that humans are involuntary biased to respond to prosody over verbal content and facial expression, since the ability to communicate socially relevant information such as basic emotional states through prosodic modulation of the voice might have provided early hominins with an adaptive advantage that preceded the emergence of segmental speech (Darwin 1871; Mithen, 2005). To address this hypothesis, we examined the interaction between multiple communicative channels in recruiting attentional resources, within a Stroop interference task (i.e. a task in which different channels give conflicting information; Stroop, 1935). In experiment 1, we used synonyms of “happy” and “sad” spoken with happy and sad prosody. Participants were asked to identify the emotion expressed by the verbal content while ignoring prosody (Word task) or vice versa (Prosody task). Participants responded faster and more accurately in the Prosody task. Within the Word task, incongruent stimuli were responded to more slowly and less accurately than congruent stimuli. In experiment 2, we adopted synonyms of “happy” and “sad” spoken in happy and sad prosody, while a happy or sad face was displayed. Participants were asked to identify the emotion expressed by the verbal content while ignoring prosody and face (Word task), to identify the emotion expressed by prosody while ignoring verbal content and face (Prosody task), or to identify the emotion expressed by the face while ignoring prosody and verbal content (Face task). Participants responded faster in the Face task and less accurately when the two non-focused channels were expressing an emotion that was incongruent with the focused one, as compared with the condition where all the channels were congruent. In addition, in the Word task, accuracy was lower when prosody was incongruent to verbal content and face, as compared with the condition where all the channels were congruent. Our data suggest that prosody interferes with emotion word processing, eliciting automatic responses even when conflicting with both verbal content and facial expressions at the same time. In contrast, although processed significantly faster than prosody and verbal content, faces alone are not sufficient to interfere in emotion processing within a three-dimensional Stroop task. Our findings align with the hypothesis that the ability to communicate emotions through prosodic modulation of the voice – which seems to be dominant over verbal content - is evolutionary older than the emergence of segmental articulation (Mithen, 2005; Fitch, 2010). This hypothesis fits with quantitative data suggesting that prosody has a vital role in the perception of well-formed words (Johnson & Jusczyk, 2001), in the ability to map sounds to referential meanings (Filippi et al., 2014), and in syntactic disambiguation (Soderstrom et al., 2003). This research could complement studies on iconic communication within visual and auditory domains, providing new insights for models of language evolution. Further work aimed at how emotional cues from different modalities are simultaneously integrated will improve our understanding of how humans interpret multimodal emotional meanings in real life interactions.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Tilot, A. K. (Eds.). (2019). Bridging senses: Novel insights from synaesthesia [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 374.
  • Frost, R. L. A., Isbilen, E. S., Christiansen, M. H., & Monaghan, P. (2019). Testing the limits of non-adjacent dependency learning: Statistical segmentation and generalisation across domains. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 1787-1793). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Achieving linguistic proficiency requires identifying words from speech, and discovering the constraints that govern the way those words are used. In a recent study of non-adjacent dependency learning, Frost and Monaghan (2016) demonstrated that learners may perform these tasks together, using similar statistical processes - contrary to prior suggestions. However, in their study, non-adjacent dependencies were marked by phonological cues (plosive-continuant-plosive structure), which may have influenced learning. Here, we test the necessity of these cues by comparing learning across three conditions; fixed phonology, which contains these cues, varied phonology, which omits them, and shapes, which uses visual shape sequences to assess the generality of statistical processing for these tasks. Participants segmented the sequences and generalized the structure in both auditory conditions, but learning was best when phonological cues were present. Learning was around chance on both tasks for the visual shapes group, indicating statistical processing may critically differ across domains.
  • Frost, R. L. A., Monaghan, P., & Christiansen, M. H. (2016). Using Statistics to Learn Words and Grammatical Categories: How High Frequency Words Assist Language Acquisition. In A. Papafragou, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 81-86). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2016/papers/0027/index.html.

    Abstract

    Recent studies suggest that high-frequency words may benefit speech segmentation (Bortfeld, Morgan, Golinkoff, & Rathbun, 2005) and grammatical categorisation (Monaghan, Christiansen, & Chater, 2007). To date, these tasks have been examined separately, but not together. We familiarised adults with continuous speech comprising repetitions of target words, and compared learning to a language in which targets appeared alongside high-frequency marker words. Marker words reliably preceded targets, and distinguished them into two otherwise unidentifiable categories. Participants completed a 2AFC segmentation test, and a similarity judgement categorisation test. We tested transfer to a word-picture mapping task, where words from each category were used either consistently or inconsistently to label actions/objects. Participants segmented the speech successfully, but only demonstrated effective categorisation when speech contained high-frequency marker words. The advantage of marker words extended to the early stages of the transfer task. Findings indicate the same high-frequency words may assist speech segmentation and grammatical categorisation.
  • Gannon, E., He, J., Gao, X., & Chaparro, B. (2016). RSVP Reading on a Smart Watch. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2016 Annual Meeting (pp. 1130-1134).

    Abstract

    Reading with Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) has shown promise for optimizing screen space and increasing reading speed without compromising comprehension. Given the wide use of small-screen devices, the present study compared RSVP and traditional reading on three types of reading comprehension, reading speed, and subjective measures on a smart watch. Results confirm previous studies that show faster reading speed with RSVP without detracting from comprehension. Subjective data indicate that Traditional is strongly preferred to RSVP as a primary reading method. Given the optimal use of screen space, increased speed and comparable comprehension, future studies should focus on making RSVP a more comfortable format.
  • Gerwien, J., & Flecken, M. (2016). First things first? Top-down influences on event apprehension. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2633-2638). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Not much is known about event apprehension, the earliest stage of information processing in elicited language production studies, using pictorial stimuli. A reason for our lack of knowledge on this process is that apprehension happens very rapidly (<350 ms after stimulus onset, Griffin & Bock 2000), making it difficult to measure the process directly. To broaden our understanding of apprehension, we analyzed landing positions and onset latencies of first fixations on visual stimuli (pictures of real-world events) given short stimulus presentation times, presupposing that the first fixation directly results from information processing during apprehension
  • Goldrick, M., Brehm, L., Pyeong Whan, C., & Smolensky, P. (2019). Transient blend states and discrete agreement-driven errors in sentence production. In G. J. Snover, M. Nelson, B. O'Connor, & J. Pater (Eds.), Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL 2019) (pp. 375-376). doi:10.7275/n0b2-5305.
  • Hahn, L. E., Ten Buuren, M., De Nijs, M., Snijders, T. M., & Fikkert, P. (2019). Acquiring novel words in a second language through mutual play with child songs - The Noplica Energy Center. In L. Nijs, H. Van Regenmortel, & C. Arculus (Eds.), MERYC19 Counterpoints of the senses: Bodily experiences in musical learning (pp. 78-87). Ghent, Belgium: EuNet MERYC 2019.

    Abstract

    Child songs are a great source for linguistic learning. Here we explore whether children can acquire novel words in a second language by playing a game featuring child songs in a playhouse. We present data from three studies that serve as scientific proof for the functionality of one game of the playhouse: the Energy Center. For this game, three hand-bikes were mounted on a panel. When children start moving the hand-bikes, child songs start playing simultaneously. Once the children produce enough energy with the hand-bikes, the songs are additionally accompanied with the sounds of musical instruments. In our studies, children executed a picture-selection task to evaluate whether they acquired new vocabulary from the songs presented during the game. Two of our studies were run in the field, one at a Dutch and one at an Indian pre-school. The third study features data from a more controlled laboratory setting. Our results partly confirm that the Energy Center is a successful means to support vocabulary acquisition in a second language. More research with larger sample sizes and longer access to the Energy Center is needed to evaluate the overall functionality of the game. Based on informal observations at our test sites, however, we are certain that children do pick up linguistic content from the songs during play, as many of the children repeat words and phrases from songs they heard. We will pick up upon these promising observations during future studies
  • Heilbron, M., Ehinger, B., Hagoort, P., & De Lange, F. P. (2019). Tracking naturalistic linguistic predictions with deep neural language models. In Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (pp. 424-427). doi:10.32470/CCN.2019.1096-0.

    Abstract

    Prediction in language has traditionally been studied using simple designs in which neural responses to expected and unexpected words are compared in a categorical fashion. However, these designs have been contested as being ‘prediction encouraging’, potentially exaggerating the importance of prediction in language understanding. A few recent studies have begun to address these worries by using model-based approaches to probe the effects of linguistic predictability in naturalistic stimuli (e.g. continuous narrative). However, these studies so far only looked at very local forms of prediction, using models that take no more than the prior two words into account when computing a word’s predictability. Here, we extend this approach using a state-of-the-art neural language model that can take roughly 500 times longer linguistic contexts into account. Predictability estimates fromthe neural network offer amuch better fit to EEG data from subjects listening to naturalistic narrative than simpler models, and reveal strong surprise responses akin to the P200 and N400. These results show that predictability effects in language are not a side-effect of simple designs, and demonstrate the practical use of recent advances in AI for the cognitive neuroscience of language.
  • Hendricks, I., Lefever, E., Croijmans, I., Majid, A., & Van den Bosch, A. (2016). Very quaffable and great fun: Applying NLP to wine reviews. In Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Vol 2 (pp. 306-312). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    We automatically predict properties of wines on the basis of smell and flavor de- scriptions from experts’ wine reviews. We show wine experts are capable of describ- ing their smell and flavor experiences in wine reviews in a sufficiently consistent manner, such that we can use their descrip- tions to predict properties of a wine based solely on language. The experimental re- sults show promising F-scores when using lexical and semantic information to predict the color, grape variety, country of origin, and price of a wine. This demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that wine ex- perts’ reviews really are informative.
  • Hintz, F., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). Neighbourhood density influences word recognition in native and non-native speech recognition in noise. In H. Van den Heuvel, B. Cranen, & S. Mattys (Eds.), Proceedings of the Speech Processing in Realistic Environments (SPIRE) workshop (pp. 46-47). Groningen.
  • Hintz, F., & Scharenborg, O. (2016). The effect of background noise on the activation of phonological and semantic information during spoken-word recognition. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2816-2820).

    Abstract

    During spoken-word recognition, listeners experience phonological competition between multiple word candidates, which increases, relative to optimal listening conditions, when speech is masked by noise. Moreover, listeners activate semantic word knowledge during the word’s unfolding. Here, we replicated the effect of background noise on phonological competition and investigated to which extent noise affects the activation of semantic information in phonological competitors. Participants’ eye movements were recorded when they listened to sentences containing a target word and looked at three types of displays. The displays either contained a picture of the target word, or a picture of a phonological onset competitor, or a picture of a word semantically related to the onset competitor, each along with three unrelated distractors. The analyses revealed that, in noise, fixations to the target and to the phonological onset competitor were delayed and smaller in magnitude compared to the clean listening condition, most likely reflecting enhanced phonological competition. No evidence for the activation of semantic information in the phonological competitors was observed in noise and, surprisingly, also not in the clear. We discuss the implications of the lack of an effect and differences between the present and earlier studies.
  • Irivine, E., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Deictic tools can limit the emergence of referential symbol systems. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/99.html.

    Abstract

    Previous experiments and models show that the pressure to communicate can lead to the emergence of symbols in specific tasks. The experiment presented here suggests that the ability to use deictic gestures can reduce the pressure for symbols to emerge in co-operative tasks. In the 'gesture-only' condition, pairs built a structure together in 'Minecraft', and could only communicate using a small range of gestures. In the 'gesture-plus' condition, pairs could also use sound to develop a symbol system if they wished. All pairs were taught a pointing convention. None of the pairs we tested developed a symbol system, and performance was no different across the two conditions. We therefore suggest that deictic gestures, and non-referential means of organising activity sequences, are often sufficient for communication. This suggests that the emergence of linguistic symbols in early hominids may have been late and patchy with symbols only emerging in contexts where they could significantly improve task success or efficiency. Given the communicative power of pointing however, these contexts may be fewer than usually supposed. An approach for identifying these situations is outlined.
  • Janssen, R., Winter, B., Dediu, D., Moisik, S. R., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Nonlinear biases in articulation constrain the design space of language. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/86.html.

    Abstract

    In Iterated Learning (IL) experiments, a participant’s learned output serves as the next participant’s learning input (Kirby et al., 2014). IL can be used to model cultural transmission and has indicated that weak biases can be amplified through repeated cultural transmission (Kirby et al., 2007). So, for example, structural language properties can emerge over time because languages come to reflect the cognitive constraints in the individuals that learn and produce the language. Similarly, we propose that languages may also reflect certain anatomical biases. Do sound systems adapt to the affordances of the articulation space induced by the vocal tract? The human vocal tract has inherent nonlinearities which might derive from acoustics and aerodynamics (cf. quantal theory, see Stevens, 1989) or biomechanics (cf. Gick & Moisik, 2015). For instance, moving the tongue anteriorly along the hard palate to produce a fricative does not result in large changes in acoustics in most cases, but for a small range there is an abrupt change from a perceived palato-alveolar [ʃ] to alveolar [s] sound (Perkell, 2012). Nonlinearities such as these might bias all human speakers to converge on a very limited set of phonetic categories, and might even be a basis for combinatoriality or phonemic ‘universals’. While IL typically uses discrete symbols, Verhoef et al. (2014) have used slide whistles to produce a continuous signal. We conducted an IL experiment with human subjects who communicated using a digital slide whistle for which the degree of nonlinearity is controlled. A single parameter (α) changes the mapping from slide whistle position (the ‘articulator’) to the acoustics. With α=0, the position of the slide whistle maps Bark-linearly to the acoustics. As α approaches 1, the mapping gets more double-sigmoidal, creating three plateaus where large ranges of positions map to similar frequencies. In more abstract terms, α represents the strength of a nonlinear (anatomical) bias in the vocal tract. Six chains (138 participants) of dyads were tested, each chain with a different, fixed α. Participants had to communicate four meanings by producing a continuous signal using the slide-whistle in a ‘director-matcher’ game, alternating roles (cf. Garrod et al., 2007). Results show that for high αs, subjects quickly converged on the plateaus. This quick convergence is indicative of a strong bias, repelling subjects away from unstable regions already within-subject. Furthermore, high αs lead to the emergence of signals that oscillate between two (out of three) plateaus. Because the sigmoidal spaces are spatially constrained, participants increasingly used the sequential/temporal dimension. As a result of this, the average duration of signals with high α was ~100ms longer than with low α. These oscillations could be an expression of a basis for phonemic combinatoriality. We have shown that it is possible to manipulate the magnitude of an articulator-induced non-linear bias in a slide whistle IL framework. The results suggest that anatomical biases might indeed constrain the design space of language. In particular, the signaling systems in our study quickly converged (within-subject) on the use of stable regions. While these conclusions were drawn from experiments using slide whistles with a relatively strong bias, weaker biases could possibly be amplified over time by repeated cultural transmission, and likely lead to similar outcomes.
  • Janssen, R., Dediu, D., & Moisik, S. R. (2016). Simple agents are able to replicate speech sounds using 3d vocal tract model. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/97.html.

    Abstract

    Many factors have been proposed to explain why groups of people use different speech sounds in their language. These range from cultural, cognitive, environmental (e.g., Everett, et al., 2015) to anatomical (e.g., vocal tract (VT) morphology). How could such anatomical properties have led to the similarities and differences in speech sound distributions between human languages? It is known that hard palate profile variation can induce different articulatory strategies in speakers (e.g., Brunner et al., 2009). That is, different hard palate profiles might induce a kind of bias on speech sound production, easing some types of sounds while impeding others. With a population of speakers (with a proportion of individuals) that share certain anatomical properties, even subtle VT biases might become expressed at a population-level (through e.g., bias amplification, Kirby et al., 2007). However, before we look into population-level effects, we should first look at within-individual anatomical factors. For that, we have developed a computer-simulated analogue for a human speaker: an agent. Our agent is designed to replicate speech sounds using a production and cognition module in a computationally tractable manner. Previous agent models have often used more abstract (e.g., symbolic) signals. (e.g., Kirby et al., 2007). We have equipped our agent with a three-dimensional model of the VT (the production module, based on Birkholz, 2005) to which we made numerous adjustments. Specifically, we used a 4th-order Bezier curve that is able to capture hard palate variation on the mid-sagittal plane (XXX, 2015). Using an evolutionary algorithm, we were able to fit the model to human hard palate MRI tracings, yielding high accuracy fits and using as little as two parameters. Finally, we show that the samples map well-dispersed to the parameter-space, demonstrating that the model cannot generate unrealistic profiles. We can thus use this procedure to import palate measurements into our agent’s production module to investigate the effects on acoustics. We can also exaggerate/introduce novel biases. Our agent is able to control the VT model using the cognition module. Previous research has focused on detailed neurocomputation (e.g., Kröger et al., 2014) that highlights e.g., neurobiological principles or speech recognition performance. However, the brain is not the focus of our current study. Furthermore, present-day computing throughput likely does not allow for large-scale deployment of these architectures, as required by the population model we are developing. Thus, the question whether a very simple cognition module is able to replicate sounds in a computationally tractable manner, and even generalize over novel stimuli, is one worthy of attention in its own right. Our agent’s cognition module is based on running an evolutionary algorithm on a large population of feed-forward neural networks (NNs). As such, (anatomical) bias strength can be thought of as an attractor basin area within the parameter-space the agent has to explore. The NN we used consists of a triple-layered (fully-connected), directed graph. The input layer (three neurons) receives the formants frequencies of a target-sound. The output layer (12 neurons) projects to the articulators in the production module. A hidden layer (seven neurons) enables the network to deal with nonlinear dependencies. The Euclidean distance (first three formants) between target and replication is used as fitness measure. Results show that sound replication is indeed possible, with Euclidean distance quickly approaching a close-to-zero asymptote. Statistical analysis should reveal if the agent can also: a) Generalize: Can it replicate sounds not exposed to during learning? b) Replicate consistently: Do different, isolated agents always converge on the same sounds? c) Deal with consolidation: Can it still learn new sounds after an extended learning phase (‘infancy’) has been terminated? Finally, a comparison with more complex models will be used to demonstrate robustness.
  • Jeske, J., Kember, H., & Cutler, A. (2016). Native and non-native English speakers' use of prosody to predict sentence endings. In Proceedings of the 16th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (SST2016).
  • Joo, H., Jang, J., Kim, S., Cho, T., & Cutler, A. (2019). Prosodic structural effects on coarticulatory vowel nasalization in Australian English in comparison to American English. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 835-839). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    This study investigates effects of prosodic factors (prominence, boundary) on coarticulatory Vnasalization in Australian English (AusE) in CVN and NVC in comparison to those in American English (AmE). As in AmE, prominence was found to lengthen N, but to reduce V-nasalization, enhancing N’s nasality and V’s orality, respectively (paradigmatic contrast enhancement). But the prominence effect in CVN was more robust than that in AmE. Again similar to findings in AmE, boundary induced a reduction of N-duration and V-nasalization phrase-initially (syntagmatic contrast enhancement), and increased the nasality of both C and V phrasefinally. But AusE showed some differences in terms of the magnitude of V nasalization and N duration. The results suggest that the linguistic contrast enhancements underlie prosodic-structure modulation of coarticulatory V-nasalization in comparable ways across dialects, while the fine phonetic detail indicates that the phonetics-prosody interplay is internalized in the individual dialect’s phonetic grammar.
  • Kember, H., Choi, J., & Cutler, A. (2016). Processing advantages for focused words in Korean. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 702-705).

    Abstract

    In Korean, focus is expressed in accentual phrasing. To ascertain whether words focused in this manner enjoy a processing advantage analogous to that conferred by focus as expressed in, e.g, English and Dutch, we devised sentences with target words in one of four conditions: prosodic focus, syntactic focus, prosodic + syntactic focus, and no focus as a control. 32 native speakers of Korean listened to blocks of 10 sentences, then were presented visually with words and asked whether or not they had heard them. Overall, words with focus were recognised significantly faster and more accurately than unfocused words. In addition, words with syntactic focus or syntactic + prosodic focus were recognised faster than words with prosodic focus alone. As for other languages, Korean focus confers processing advantage on the words carrying it. While prosodic focus does provide an advantage, however, syntactic focus appears to provide the greater beneficial effect for recognition memory
  • Kempen, G., & Harbusch, K. (1998). A 'tree adjoining' grammar without adjoining: The case of scrambling in German. In Fourth International Workshop on Tree Adjoining Grammars and Related Frameworks (TAG+4).
  • Kempen, G., & Hoenkamp, E. (1982). Incremental sentence generation: Implications for the structure of a syntactic processor. In J. Horecký (Ed.), COLING 82. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Prague, July 5-10, 1982 (pp. 151-156). Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Abstract

    Human speakers often produce sentences incrementally. They can start speaking having in mind only a fragmentary idea of what they want to say, and while saying this they refine the contents underlying subsequent parts of the utterance. This capability imposes a number of constraints on the design of a syntactic processor. This paper explores these constraints and evaluates some recent computational sentence generators from the perspective of incremental production.
  • Kita, S., van Gijn, I., & van der Hulst, H. (1998). Movement phases in signs and co-speech gestures, and their transcription by human coders. In Gesture and Sign-Language in Human-Computer Interaction (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence - LNCS Subseries, Vol. 1371) (pp. 23-35). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

    Abstract

    The previous literature has suggested that the hand movement in co-speech gestures and signs consists of a series of phases with qualitatively different dynamic characteristics. In this paper, we propose a syntagmatic rule system for movement phases that applies to both co-speech gestures and signs. Descriptive criteria for the rule system were developed for the analysis video-recorded continuous production of signs and gesture. It involves segmenting a stream of body movement into phases and identifying different phase types. Two human coders used the criteria to analyze signs and cospeech gestures that are produced in natural discourse. It was found that the criteria yielded good inter-coder reliability. These criteria can be used for the technology of automatic recognition of signs and co-speech gestures in order to segment continuous production and identify the potentially meaningbearing phase.
  • Klein, W. (1995). A simplest analysis of the English tense-aspect system. In W. Riehle, & H. Keiper (Eds.), Proceedings of the Anglistentag 1994 (pp. 139-151). Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1995). Epoche [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (100).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1998). Kaleidoskop [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (112).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1982). Zweitspracherwerb [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (45).
  • Levelt, W. J. M., & Plomp, R. (1962). Musical consonance and critical bandwidth. In Proceedings of the 4th International Congress Acoustics (pp. 55-55).
  • Little, H., & de Boer, B. (2016). Did the pressure for discrimination trigger the emergence of combinatorial structure? In Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (pp. 109-110).
  • Little, H., Eryılmaz, K., & De Boer, B. (2016). Differing signal-meaning dimensionalities facilitates the emergence of structure. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/25.html.

    Abstract

    Structure of language is not only caused by cognitive processes, but also by physical aspects of the signalling modality. We test the assumptions surrounding the role which the physical aspects of the signal space will have on the emergence of structure in speech. Here, we use a signal creation task to test whether a signal space and a meaning space having similar dimensionalities will generate an iconic system with signal-meaning mapping and whether, when the topologies differ, the emergence of non-iconic structure is facilitated. In our experiments, signals are created using infrared sensors which use hand position to create audio signals. We find that people take advantage of signal-meaning mappings where possible. Further, we use trajectory probabilities and measures of variance to show that when there is a dimensionality mismatch, more structural strategies are used.
  • Little, H., Eryılmaz, K., & De Boer, B. (2016). Emergence of signal structure: Effects of duration constraints. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/25.html.

    Abstract

    Recent work has investigated the emergence of structure in speech using experiments which use artificial continuous signals. Some experiments have had no limit on the duration which signals can have (e.g. Verhoef et al., 2014), and others have had time limitations (e.g. Verhoef et al., 2015). However, the effect of time constraints on the structure in signals has never been experimentally investigated.
  • Little, H. (2016). Nahran Bhannamz: Language Evolution in an Online Zombie Apocalypse Game. In Createvolang: creativity and innovation in language evolution.
  • Lockwood, G., Hagoort, P., & Dingemanse, M. (2016). Synthesized Size-Sound Sound Symbolism. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1823-1828). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Studies of sound symbolism have shown that people can associate sound and meaning in consistent ways when presented with maximally contrastive stimulus pairs of nonwords such as bouba/kiki (rounded/sharp) or mil/mal (small/big). Recent work has shown the effect extends to antonymic words from natural languages and has proposed a role for shared cross-modal correspondences in biasing form-to-meaning associations. An important open question is how the associations work, and particularly what the role is of sound-symbolic matches versus mismatches. We report on a learning task designed to distinguish between three existing theories by using a spectrum of sound-symbolically matching, mismatching, and neutral (neither matching nor mismatching) stimuli. Synthesized stimuli allow us to control for prosody, and the inclusion of a neutral condition allows a direct test of competing accounts. We find evidence for a sound-symbolic match boost, but not for a mismatch difficulty compared to the neutral condition.
  • Macuch Silva, V., & Roberts, S. G. (2016). Language adapts to signal disruption in interaction. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/20.html.

    Abstract

    Linguistic traits are often seen as reflecting cognitive biases and constraints (e.g. Christiansen & Chater, 2008). However, language must also adapt to properties of the channel through which communication between individuals occurs. Perhaps the most basic aspect of any communication channel is noise. Communicative signals can be blocked, degraded or distorted by other sources in the environment. This poses a fundamental problem for communication. On average, channel disruption accompanies problems in conversation every 3 minutes (27% of cases of other-initiated repair, Dingemanse et al., 2015). Linguistic signals must adapt to this harsh environment. While modern language structures are robust to noise (e.g. Piantadosi et al., 2011), we investigate how noise might have shaped the early emergence of structure in language. The obvious adaptation to noise is redundancy. Signals which are maximally different from competitors are harder to render ambiguous by noise. Redundancy can be increased by adding differentiating segments to each signal (increasing the diversity of segments). However, this makes each signal more complex and harder to learn. Under this strategy, holistic languages may emerge. Another strategy is reduplication - repeating parts of the signal so that noise is less likely to disrupt all of the crucial information. This strategy does not increase the difficulty of learning the language - there is only one extra rule which applies to all signals. Therefore, under pressures for learnability, expressivity and redundancy, reduplicated signals are expected to emerge. However, reduplication is not a pervasive feature of words (though it does occur in limited domains like plurals or iconic meanings). We suggest that this is due to the pressure for redundancy being lifted by conversational infrastructure for repair. Receivers can request that senders repeat signals only after a problem occurs. That is, robustness is achieved by repeating the signal across conversational turns (when needed) instead of within single utterances. As a proof of concept, we ran two iterated learning chains with pairs of individuals in generations learning and using an artificial language (e.g. Kirby et al., 2015). The meaning space was a structured collection of unfamiliar images (3 shapes x 2 textures x 2 outline types). The initial language for each chain was the same written, unstructured, fully expressive language. Signals produced in each generation formed the training language for the next generation. Within each generation, pairs played an interactive communication game. The director was given a target meaning to describe, and typed a word for the matcher, who guessed the target meaning from a set. With a 50% probability, a contiguous section of 3-5 characters in the typed word was replaced by ‘noise’ characters (#). In one chain, the matcher could initiate repair by requesting that the director type and send another signal. Parallel generations across chains were matched for the number of signals sent (if repair was initiated for a meaning, then it was presented twice in the parallel generation where repair was not possible) and noise (a signal for a given meaning which was affected by noise in one generation was affected by the same amount of noise in the parallel generation). For the final set of signals produced in each generation we measured the signal redundancy (the zip compressibility of the signals), the character diversity (entropy of the characters of the signals) and systematic structure (z-score of the correlation between signal edit distance and meaning hamming distance). In the condition without repair, redundancy increased with each generation (r=0.97, p=0.01), and the character diversity decreased (r=-0.99,p=0.001) which is consistent with reduplication, as shown below (part of the initial and the final language): Linear regressions revealed that generations with repair had higher overall systematic structure (main effect of condition, t = 2.5, p < 0.05), increasing character diversity (interaction between condition and generation, t = 3.9, p = 0.01) and redundancy increased at a slower rate (interaction between condition and generation, t = -2.5, p < 0.05). That is, the ability to repair counteracts the pressure from noise, and facilitates the emergence of compositional structure. Therefore, just as systems to repair damage to DNA replication are vital for the evolution of biological species (O’Brien, 2006), conversational repair may regulate replication of linguistic forms in the cultural evolution of language. Future studies should further investigate how evolving linguistic structure is shaped by interaction pressures, drawing on experimental methods and naturalistic studies of emerging languages, both spoken (e.g Botha, 2006; Roberge, 2008) and signed (e.g Senghas, Kita, & Ozyurek, 2004; Sandler et al., 2005).
  • Mamus, E., Rissman, L., Majid, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2019). Effects of blindfolding on verbal and gestural expression of path in auditory motion events. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 2275-2281). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Studies have claimed that blind people’s spatial representations are different from sighted people, and blind people display superior auditory processing. Due to the nature of auditory and haptic information, it has been proposed that blind people have spatial representations that are more sequential than sighted people. Even the temporary loss of sight—such as through blindfolding—can affect spatial representations, but not much research has been done on this topic. We compared blindfolded and sighted people’s linguistic spatial expressions and non-linguistic localization accuracy to test how blindfolding affects the representation of path in auditory motion events. We found that blindfolded people were as good as sighted people when localizing simple sounds, but they outperformed sighted people when localizing auditory motion events. Blindfolded people’s path related speech also included more sequential, and less holistic elements. Our results indicate that even temporary loss of sight influences spatial representations of auditory motion events
  • McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (1998). Spotting (different kinds of) words in (different kinds of) context. In R. Mannell, & J. Robert-Ribes (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing: Vol. 6 (pp. 2791-2794). Sydney: ICSLP.

    Abstract

    The results of a word-spotting experiment are presented in which Dutch listeners tried to spot different types of bisyllabic Dutch words embedded in different types of nonsense contexts. Embedded verbs were not reliably harder to spot than embedded nouns; this suggests that nouns and verbs are recognised via the same basic processes. Iambic words were no harder to spot than trochaic words, suggesting that trochaic words are not in principle easier to recognise than iambic words. Words were harder to spot in consonantal contexts (i.e., contexts which themselves could not be words) than in longer contexts which contained at least one vowel (i.e., contexts which, though not words, were possible words of Dutch). A control experiment showed that this difference was not due to acoustic differences between the words in each context. The results support the claim that spoken-word recognition is sensitive to the viability of sound sequences as possible words.
  • Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (Eds.). (2016). Speaking and Listening: Relationships Between Language Production and Comprehension [Special Issue]. Journal of Memory and Language, 89.
  • Micklos, A. (2016). Interaction for facilitating conventionalization: Negotiating the silent gesture communication of noun-verb pairs. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). Retrieved from http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/143.html.

    Abstract

    This study demonstrates how interaction – specifically negotiation and repair – facilitates the emergence, evolution, and conventionalization of a silent gesture communication system. In a modified iterated learning paradigm, partners communicated noun-verb meanings using only silent gesture. The need to disambiguate similar noun-verb pairs drove these "new" language users to develop a morphology that allowed for quicker processing, easier transmission, and improved accuracy. The specific morphological system that emerged came about through a process of negotiation within the dyad, namely by means of repair. By applying a discourse analytic approach to the use of repair in an experimental methodology for language evolution, we are able to determine not only if interaction facilitates the emergence and learnability of a new communication system, but also how interaction affects such a system
  • Moisik, S. R., Zhi Yun, D. P., & Dediu, D. (2019). Active adjustment of the cervical spine during pitch production compensates for shape: The ArtiVarK study. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 864-868). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    The anterior lordosis of the cervical spine is thought to contribute to pitch (fo) production by influencing cricoid rotation as a function of larynx height. This study examines the matter of inter-individual variation in cervical spine shape and whether this has an influence on how fo is produced along increasing or decreasing scales, using the ArtiVarK dataset, which contains real-time MRI pitch production data. We find that the cervical spine actively participates in fo production, but the amount of displacement depends on individual shape. In general, anterior spine motion (tending toward cervical lordosis) occurs for low fo, while posterior movement (tending towards cervical kyphosis) occurs for high fo.
  • Mulder, K., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2016). Comparing different methods for analyzing ERP signals. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 1373-1377). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-967.
  • Nijveld, A., Ten Bosch, L., & Ernestus, M. (2019). ERP signal analysis with temporal resolution using a time window bank. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 1208-1212). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2729.

    Abstract

    In order to study the cognitive processes underlying speech comprehension, neuro-physiological measures (e.g., EEG and MEG), or behavioural measures (e.g., reaction times and response accuracy) can be applied. Compared to behavioural measures, EEG signals can provide a more fine-grained and complementary view of the processes that take place during the unfolding of an auditory stimulus. EEG signals are often analysed after having chosen specific time windows, which are usually based on the temporal structure of ERP components expected to be sensitive to the experimental manipulation. However, as the timing of ERP components may vary between experiments, trials, and participants, such a-priori defined analysis time windows may significantly hamper the exploratory power of the analysis of components of interest. In this paper, we explore a wide-window analysis method applied to EEG signals collected in an auditory repetition priming experiment. This approach is based on a bank of temporal filters arranged along the time axis in combination with linear mixed effects modelling. Crucially, it permits a temporal decomposition of effects in a single comprehensive statistical model which captures the entire EEG trace.
  • Ortega, G., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Generalisable patterns of gesture distinguish semantic categories in communication without language. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1182-1187). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    There is a long-standing assumption that gestural forms are geared by a set of modes of representation (acting, representing, drawing, moulding) with each technique expressing speakers’ focus of attention on specific aspects of referents (Müller, 2013). Beyond different taxonomies describing the modes of representation, it remains unclear what factors motivate certain depicting techniques over others. Results from a pantomime generation task show that pantomimes are not entirely idiosyncratic but rather follow generalisable patterns constrained by their semantic category. We show that a) specific modes of representations are preferred for certain objects (acting for manipulable objects and drawing for non-manipulable objects); and b) that use and ordering of deictics and modes of representation operate in tandem to distinguish between semantically related concepts (e.g., “to drink” vs “mug”). This study provides yet more evidence that our ability to communicate through silent gesture reveals systematic ways to describe events and objects around us
  • Otake, T., Davis, S. M., & Cutler, A. (1995). Listeners’ representations of within-word structure: A cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal investigation. In J. Pardo (Ed.), Proceedings of EUROSPEECH 95: Vol. 3 (pp. 1703-1706). Madrid: European Speech Communication Association.

    Abstract

    Japanese, British English and American English listeners were presented with spoken words in their native language, and asked to mark on a written transcript of each word the first natural division point in the word. The results showed clear and strong patterns of consensus, indicating that listeners have available to them conscious representations of within-word structure. Orthography did not play a strongly deciding role in the results. The patterns of response were at variance with results from on-line studies of speech segmentation, suggesting that the present task taps not those representations used in on-line listening, but levels of representation which may involve much richer knowledge of word-internal structure.
  • Ozyurek, A. (1998). An analysis of the basic meaning of Turkish demonstratives in face-to-face conversational interaction. In S. Santi, I. Guaitella, C. Cave, & G. Konopczynski (Eds.), Oralite et gestualite: Communication multimodale, interaction: actes du colloque ORAGE 98 (pp. 609-614). Paris: L'Harmattan.
  • Parhammer*, S. I., Ebersberg*, M., Tippmann*, J., Stärk*, K., Opitz, A., Hinger, B., & Rossi, S. (2019). The influence of distraction on speech processing: How selective is selective attention? In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 3093-3097). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2699.

    Abstract

    -* indicates shared first authorship - The present study investigated the effects of selective attention on the processing of morphosyntactic errors in unattended parts of speech. Two groups of German native (L1) speakers participated in the present study. Participants listened to sentences in which irregular verbs were manipulated in three different conditions (correct, incorrect but attested ablaut pattern, incorrect and crosslinguistically unattested ablaut pattern). In order to track fast dynamic neural reactions to the stimuli, electroencephalography was used. After each sentence, participants in Experiment 1 performed a semantic judgement task, which deliberately distracted the participants from the syntactic manipulations and directed their attention to the semantic content of the sentence. In Experiment 2, participants carried out a syntactic judgement task, which put their attention on the critical stimuli. The use of two different attentional tasks allowed for investigating the impact of selective attention on speech processing and whether morphosyntactic processing steps are performed automatically. In Experiment 2, the incorrect attested condition elicited a larger N400 component compared to the correct condition, whereas in Experiment 1 no differences between conditions were found. These results suggest that the processing of morphosyntactic violations in irregular verbs is not entirely automatic but seems to be strongly affected by selective attention.
  • Peeters, D. (2016). Processing consequences of onomatopoeic iconicity in spoken language comprehension. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1632-1647). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Iconicity is a fundamental feature of human language. However its processing consequences at the behavioral and neural level in spoken word comprehension are not well understood. The current paper presents the behavioral and electrophysiological outcome of an auditory lexical decision task in which native speakers of Dutch listened to onomatopoeic words and matched control words while their electroencephalogram was recorded. Behaviorally, onomatopoeic words were processed as quickly and accurately as words with an arbitrary mapping between form and meaning. Event-related potentials time-locked to word onset revealed a significant decrease in negative amplitude in the N2 and N400 components and a late positivity for onomatopoeic words in comparison to the control words. These findings advance our understanding of the temporal dynamics of iconic form-meaning mapping in spoken word comprehension and suggest interplay between the neural representations of real-world sounds and spoken words.
  • Pouw, W., Paxton, A., Harrison, S. J., & Dixon, J. A. (2019). Acoustic specification of upper limb movement in voicing. In A. Grimminger (Ed.), Proceedings of the 6th Gesture and Speech in Interaction – GESPIN 6 (pp. 68-74). Paderborn: Universitaetsbibliothek Paderborn. doi:10.17619/UNIPB/1-812.
  • Pouw, W., & Dixon, J. A. (2019). Quantifying gesture-speech synchrony. In A. Grimminger (Ed.), Proceedings of the 6th Gesture and Speech in Interaction – GESPIN 6 (pp. 75-80). Paderborn: Universitaetsbibliothek Paderborn. doi:10.17619/UNIPB/1-812.

    Abstract

    Spontaneously occurring speech is often seamlessly accompanied by hand gestures. Detailed observations of video data suggest that speech and gesture are tightly synchronized in time, consistent with a dynamic interplay between body and mind. However, spontaneous gesturespeech synchrony has rarely been objectively quantified beyond analyses of video data, which do not allow for identification of kinematic properties of gestures. Consequently, the point in gesture which is held to couple with speech, the so-called moment of “maximum effort”, has been variably equated with the peak velocity, peak acceleration, peak deceleration, or the onset of the gesture. In the current exploratory report, we provide novel evidence from motiontracking and acoustic data that peak velocity is closely aligned, and shortly leads, the peak pitch (F0) of speech

    Additional information

    https://osf.io/9843h/
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2016). Language evolution in the lab: The case of child learners. In A. Papagrafou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1643-1648). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Recent work suggests that cultural transmission can lead to the emergence of linguistic structure as speakers’ weak individual biases become amplified through iterated learning. However, to date, no published study has demonstrated a similar emergence of linguistic structure in children. This gap is problematic given that languages are mainly learned by children and that adults may bring existing linguistic biases to the task. Here, we conduct a large-scale study of iterated language learning in both children and adults, using a novel, child-friendly paradigm. The results show that while children make more mistakes overall, their languages become more learnable and show learnability biases similar to those of adults. Child languages did not show a significant increase in linguistic structure over time, but consistent mappings between meanings and signals did emerge on many occasions, as found with adults. This provides the first demonstration that cultural transmission affects the languages children and adults produce similarly.
  • Raviv, L., & Arnon, I. (2016). The developmental trajectory of children's statistical learning abilities. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1469-1474). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Infants, children and adults are capable of implicitly extracting regularities from their environment through statistical learning (SL). SL is present from early infancy and found across tasks and modalities, raising questions about the domain generality of SL. However, little is known about its’ developmental trajectory: Is SL fully developed capacity in infancy, or does it improve with age, like other cognitive skills? While SL is well established in infants and adults, only few studies have looked at SL across development with conflicting results: some find age-related improvements while others do not. Importantly, despite its postulated role in language learning, no study has examined the developmental trajectory of auditory SL throughout childhood. Here, we conduct a large-scale study of children's auditory SL across a wide age-range (5-12y, N=115). Results show that auditory SL does not change much across development. We discuss implications for modality-based differences in SL and for its role in language acquisition.
  • Rissman, L., & Majid, A. (2019). Agency drives category structure in instrumental events. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 2661-2667). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Thematic roles such as Agent and Instrument have a long-standing place in theories of event representation. Nonetheless, the structure of these categories has been difficult to determine. We investigated how instrumental events, such as someone slicing bread with a knife, are categorized in English. Speakers described a variety of typical and atypical instrumental events, and we determined the similarity structure of their descriptions using correspondence analysis. We found that events where the instrument is an extension of an intentional agent were most likely to elicit similar language, highlighting the importance of agency in structuring instrumental categories.
  • Rodd, J., & Chen, A. (2016). Pitch accents show a perceptual magnet effect: Evidence of internal structure in intonation categories. In J. Barnes, A. Brugos, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, & N. Veilleux (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016 (pp. 697-701).

    Abstract

    The question of whether intonation events have a categorical mental representation has long been a puzzle in prosodic research, and one that experiments testing production and perception across category boundaries have failed to definitively resolve. This paper takes the alternative approach of looking for evidence of structure within a postulated category by testing for a Perceptual Magnet Effect (PME). PME has been found in boundary tones but has not previously been conclusively found in pitch accents. In this investigation, perceived goodness and discriminability of re-synthesised Dutch nuclear rise contours (L*H H%) were evaluated by naive native speakers of Dutch. The variation between these stimuli was quantified using a polynomial-parametric modelling approach (i.e. the SOCoPaSul model) in place of the traditional approach whereby excursion size, peak alignment and pitch register are used independently of each other to quantify variation between pitch accents. Using this approach to calculate the acoustic-perceptual distance between different stimuli, PME was detected: (1) rated goodness, decreased as acoustic-perceptual distance relative to the prototype increased, and (2) equally spaced items far from the prototype were less frequently generalised than equally spaced items in the neighbourhood of the prototype. These results support the concept of categorically distinct intonation events.

    Additional information

    Link to Speech Prosody Website
  • Schuerman, W. L., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Speaker statistical averageness modulates word recognition in adverse listening conditions. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1203-1207). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    We tested whether statistical averageness (SA) at the level of the individual speaker could predict a speaker’s intelligibility. 28 female and 21 male speakers of Dutch were recorded producing 336 sentences, each containing two target nouns. Recordings were compared to those of all other same-sex speakers using dynamic time warping (DTW). For each sentence, the DTW distance constituted a metric of phonetic distance from one speaker to all other speakers. SA comprised the average of these distances. Later, the same participants performed a word recognition task on the target nouns in the same sentences, under three degraded listening conditions. In all three conditions, accuracy increased with SA. This held even when participants listened to their own utterances. These findings suggest that listeners process speech with respect to the statistical properties of the language spoken in their community, rather than using their own speech as a reference
  • Scott, D. R., & Cutler, A. (1982). Segmental cues to syntactic structure. In Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics 'Spectral Analysis and its Use in Underwater Acoustics' (pp. E3.1-E3.4). London: Institute of Acoustics.
  • Seijdel, N., Sakmakidis, N., De Haan, E. H. F., Bohte, S. M., & Scholte, H. S. (2019). Implicit scene segmentation in deeper convolutional neural networks. In Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (pp. 1059-1062). doi:10.32470/CCN.2019.1149-0.

    Abstract

    Feedforward deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) are matching and even surpassing human performance on object recognition. This performance suggests that activation of a loose collection of image features could support the recognition of natural object categories, without dedicated systems to solve specific visual subtasks. Recent findings in humans however, suggest that while feedforward activity may suffice for sparse scenes with isolated objects, additional visual operations ('routines') that aid the recognition process (e.g. segmentation or grouping) are needed for more complex scenes. Linking human visual processing to performance of DCNNs with increasing depth, we here explored if, how, and when object information is differentiated from the backgrounds they appear on. To this end, we controlled the information in both objects and backgrounds, as well as the relationship between them by adding noise, manipulating background congruence and systematically occluding parts of the image. Results indicated less distinction between object- and background features for more shallow networks. For those networks, we observed a benefit of training on segmented objects (as compared to unsegmented objects). Overall, deeper networks trained on natural (unsegmented) scenes seem to perform implicit 'segmentation' of the objects from their background, possibly by improved selection of relevant features.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1982). Riorientamenti metodologici nello studio della variabilità linguistica. In D. Gambarara, & A. D'Atri (Eds.), Ideologia, filosofia e linguistica: Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Rende (CS) 15-17 Settembre 1978 ( (pp. 499-515). Roma: Bulzoni.
  • Sloetjes, H., & Seibert, O. (2016). Measuring by marking; the multimedia annotation tool ELAN. In A. Spink, G. Riedel, L. Zhou, L. Teekens, R. Albatal, & C. Gurrin (Eds.), Measuring Behavior 2016, 10th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research (pp. 492-495).

    Abstract

    ELAN is a multimedia annotation tool developed by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. It is applied in a variety of research areas. This paper presents a general overview of the tool and new developments as the calculation of inter-rater reliability, a commentary framework, semi-automatic segmentation and labeling and export to Theme.
  • Speed, L., & Majid, A. (2016). Grammatical gender affects odor cognition. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1451-1456). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Language interacts with olfaction in exceptional ways. Olfaction is believed to be weakly linked with language, as demonstrated by our poor odor naming ability, yet olfaction seems to be particularly susceptible to linguistic descriptions. We tested the boundaries of the influence of language on olfaction by focusing on a non-lexical aspect of language (grammatical gender). We manipulated the grammatical gender of fragrance descriptions to test whether the congruence with fragrance gender would affect the way fragrances were perceived and remembered. Native French and German speakers read descriptions of fragrances containing ingredients with feminine or masculine grammatical gender, and then smelled masculine or feminine fragrances and rated them on a number of dimensions (e.g., pleasantness). Participants then completed an odor recognition test. Fragrances were remembered better when presented with descriptions whose grammatical gender matched the gender of the fragrance. Overall, results suggest grammatical manipulations of odor descriptions can affect odor cognition
  • Speed, L., Chen, J., Huettig, F., & Majid, A. (2016). Do classifier categories affect or reflect object concepts? In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 2267-2272). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We conceptualize objects based on sensory and motor information gleaned from real-world experience. But to what extent is such conceptual information structured according to higher level linguistic features too? Here we investigate whether classifiers, a grammatical category, shape the conceptual representations of objects. In three experiments native Mandarin speakers (speakers of a classifier language) and native Dutch speakers (speakers of a language without classifiers) judged the similarity of a target object (presented as a word or picture) with four objects (presented as words or pictures). One object shared a classifier with the target, the other objects did not, serving as distractors. Across all experiments, participants judged the target object as more similar to the object with the shared classifier than distractor objects. This effect was seen in both Dutch and Mandarin speakers, and there was no difference between the two languages. Thus, even speakers of a non-classifier language are sensitive to object similarities underlying classifier systems, and using a classifier system does not exaggerate these similarities. This suggests that classifier systems simply reflect, rather than affect, conceptual structure.
  • Sumer, B., Perniss, P. M., & Ozyurek, A. (2016). Viewpoint preferences in signing children's spatial descriptions. In J. Scott, & D. Waughtal (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 40) (pp. 360-374). Boston, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Ten Bosch, L., Boves, L., & Ernestus, M. (2016). Combining data-oriented and process-oriented approaches to modeling reaction time data. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2801-2805). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2016-1072.

    Abstract

    This paper combines two different approaches to modeling reaction time data from lexical decision experiments, viz. a dataoriented statistical analysis by means of a linear mixed effects model, and a process-oriented computational model of human speech comprehension. The linear mixed effect model is implemented by lmer in R. As computational model we apply DIANA, an end-to-end computational model which aims at modeling the cognitive processes underlying speech comprehension. DIANA takes as input the speech signal, and provides as output the orthographic transcription of the stimulus, a word/non-word judgment and the associated reaction time. Previous studies have shown that DIANA shows good results for large-scale lexical decision experiments in Dutch and North-American English. We investigate whether predictors that appear significant in an lmer analysis and processes implemented in DIANA can be related and inform both approaches. Predictors such as ‘previous reaction time’ can be related to a process description; other predictors, such as ‘lexical neighborhood’ are hard-coded in lmer and emergent in DIANA. The analysis focuses on the interaction between subject variables and task variables in lmer, and the ways in which these interactions can be implemented in DIANA.
  • Ten Bosch, L., Giezenaar, G., Boves, L., & Ernestus, M. (2016). Modeling language-learners' errors in understanding casual speech. In G. Adda, V. Barbu Mititelu, J. Mariani, D. Tufiş, & I. Vasilescu (Eds.), Errors by humans and machines in multimedia, multimodal, multilingual data processing. Proceedings of Errare 2015 (pp. 107-121). Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române.

    Abstract

    In spontaneous conversations, words are often produced in reduced form compared to formal careful speech. In English, for instance, ’probably’ may be pronounced as ’poly’ and ’police’ as ’plice’. Reduced forms are very common, and native listeners usually do not have any problems with interpreting these reduced forms in context. Non-native listeners, however, have great difficulties in comprehending reduced forms. In order to investigate the problems in comprehension that non-native listeners experience, a dictation experiment was conducted in which sentences were presented auditorily to non-natives either in full (unreduced) or reduced form. The types of errors made by the L2 listeners reveal aspects of the cognitive processes underlying this dictation task. In addition, we compare the errors made by these human participants with the type of word errors made by DIANA, a recently developed computational model of word comprehension.
  • Ten Bosch, L., Mulder, K., & Boves, L. (2019). Phase synchronization between EEG signals as a function of differences between stimuli characteristics. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2019 (pp. 1213-1217). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2443.

    Abstract

    The neural processing of speech leads to specific patterns in the brain which can be measured as, e.g., EEG signals. When properly aligned with the speech input and averaged over many tokens, the Event Related Potential (ERP) signal is able to differentiate specific contrasts between speech signals. Well-known effects relate to the difference between expected and unexpected words, in particular in the N400, while effects in N100 and P200 are related to attention and acoustic onset effects. Most EEG studies deal with the amplitude of EEG signals over time, sidestepping the effect of phase and phase synchronization. This paper investigates the relation between phase in the EEG signals measured in an auditory lexical decision task by Dutch participants listening to full and reduced English word forms. We show that phase synchronization takes place across stimulus conditions, and that the so-called circular variance is narrowly related to the type of contrast between stimuli.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Ozyurek, A., & Ünal, E. (2019). Speaking but not gesturing predicts motion event memory within and across languages. In A. Goel, C. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 2940-2946). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    In everyday life, people see, describe and remember motion events. We tested whether the type of motion event information (path or manner) encoded in speech and gesture predicts which information is remembered and if this varies across speakers of typologically different languages. We focus on intransitive motion events (e.g., a woman running to a tree) that are described differently in speech and co-speech gesture across languages, based on how these languages typologically encode manner and path information (Kita & Özyürek, 2003; Talmy, 1985). Speakers of Dutch (n = 19) and Turkish (n = 22) watched and described motion events. With a surprise (i.e. unexpected) recognition memory task, memory for manner and path components of these events was measured. Neither Dutch nor Turkish speakers’ memory for manner went above chance levels. However, we found a positive relation between path speech and path change detection: participants who described the path during encoding were more accurate at detecting changes to the path of an event during the memory task. In addition, the relation between path speech and path memory changed with native language: for Dutch speakers encoding path in speech was related to improved path memory, but for Turkish speakers no such relation existed. For both languages, co-speech gesture did not predict memory speakers. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of the relations between speech, gesture, type of encoding in language and memory.
  • Trilsbeek, P., & Windhouwer, M. (2016). FLAT: A CLARIN-compatible repository solution based on Fedora Commons. In Proceedings of the CLARIN Annual Conference 2016. Clarin ERIC.

    Abstract

    This paper describes the development of a CLARIN-compatible repository solution that fulfils both the long-term preservation requirements as well as the current day discoverability and usability needs of an online data repository of language resources. The widely used Fedora Commons open source repository framework, combined with the Islandora discovery layer, forms the basis of the solution. On top of this existing solution, additional modules and tools are developed to make it suitable for the types of data and metadata that are used by the participating partners.

    Additional information

    link to pdf on CLARIN site
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Imitating speech in an unfamiliar language and an unfamiliar non-native accent in the native language. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1362-1366). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    This study concerns individual differences in speech imitation ability and the role that lexical representations play in imitation. We examined 1) whether imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar language (L0) is related to imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar non-native accent in the speaker’s native language (L1) and 2) whether it is easier or harder to imitate speech when you know the words to be imitated. Fifty-nine native Dutch speakers imitated words with target vowels in Basque (/a/ and /e/) and Greekaccented Dutch (/i/ and /u/). Spectral and durational analyses of the target vowels revealed no relationship between the success of L0 and L1 imitation and no difference in performance between tasks (i.e., L1 imitation was neither aided nor blocked by lexical knowledge about the correct pronunciation). The results suggest instead that the relationship of the vowels to native phonological categories plays a bigger role in imitation
  • Weber, A. (1998). Listening to nonnative language which violates native assimilation rules. In D. Duez (Ed.), Proceedings of the European Scientific Communication Association workshop: Sound patterns of Spontaneous Speech (pp. 101-104).

    Abstract

    Recent studies using phoneme detection tasks have shown that spoken-language processing is neither facilitated nor interfered with by optional assimilation, but is inhibited by violation of obligatory assimilation. Interpretation of these results depends on an assessment of their generality, specifically, whether they also obtain when listeners are processing nonnative language. Two separate experiments are presented in which native listeners of German and native listeners of Dutch had to detect a target fricative in legal monosyllabic Dutch nonwords. All of the nonwords were correct realisations in standard Dutch. For German listeners, however, half of the nonwords contained phoneme strings which violate the German fricative assimilation rule. Whereas the Dutch listeners showed no significant effects, German listeners detected the target fricative faster when the German fricative assimilation was violated than when no violation occurred. The results might suggest that violation of assimilation rules does not have to make processing more difficult per se.

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