Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 120
  • 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., Scha, R., & Zudema, W. (2015). How should we evaluate models of segmentation in artificial language learning? In N. A. Taatgen, M. K. van Vugt, J. P. Borst, & K. Mehlhorn (Eds.), Proceedings of ICCM 2015 (pp. 172-173). Groningen: University of Groningen.

    Abstract

    One of the challenges that infants have to solve when learn- ing their native language is to identify the words in a con- tinuous speech stream. Some of the experiments in Artificial Grammar Learning (Saffran, Newport, and Aslin (1996); Saf- fran, Aslin, and Newport (1996); Aslin, Saffran, and Newport (1998) and many more) investigate this ability. In these ex- periments, subjects are exposed to an artificial speech stream that contains certain regularities. Adult participants are typ- ically tested with 2-alternative Forced Choice Tests (2AFC) in which they have to choose between a word and another sequence (typically a partword, a sequence resulting from misplacing boundaries).
  • 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.
  • Anderson, P., Harandi, N. M., Moisik, S. R., Stavness, I., & Fels, S. (2015). A comprehensive 3D biomechanically-driven vocal tract model including inverse dynamics for speech research. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2015: The 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2395-2399).

    Abstract

    We introduce a biomechanical model of oropharyngeal structures that adds the soft-palate, pharynx, and larynx to our previous models of jaw, skull, hyoid, tongue, and face in a unified model. The model includes a comprehensive description of the upper airway musculature, using point-to-point muscles that may either be embedded within the deformable structures or operate exter- nally. The airway is described by an air-tight mesh that fits and deforms with the surrounding articulators, which enables dynamic coupling to our articulatory speech synthesizer. We demonstrate that the biomechanics, in conjunction with the skinning, supports a range from physically realistic to simplified vocal tract geometries to investigate different approaches to aeroacoustic modeling of vocal tract. Furthermore, our model supports inverse modeling to support investigation of plausible muscle activation patterns to generate speech.
  • 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
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2015). Origins of the indefinite HOMO constructions. In G. Haverling (Ed.), Latin Linguistics in the Early 21st Century: Acts of the 16th International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics (pp. 542-553). Uppsala: Uppsala University.
  • 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., Tjiong, V., Quené, H., Sanders, T., & De Jong, N. H. (2015). Both native and non-native disfluencies trigger listeners' attention. In Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech: DISS 2015: An ICPhS Satellite Meeting. Edinburgh: DISS2015.

    Abstract

    Disfluencies, such as uh and uhm, are known to help the listener in speech comprehension. For instance, disfluencies may elicit prediction of less accessible referents and may trigger listeners’ attention to the following word. However, recent work suggests differential processing of disfluencies in native and non-native speech. The current study investigated whether the beneficial effects of disfluencies on listeners’ attention are modulated by the (non-)native identity of the speaker. Using the Change Detection Paradigm, we investigated listeners’ recall accuracy for words presented in disfluent and fluent contexts, in native and non-native speech. We observed beneficial effects of both native and non-native disfluencies on listeners’ recall accuracy, suggesting that native and non-native disfluencies trigger listeners’ attention in a similar fashion.
  • 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
  • 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., & Reinisch, E. (2015). Normalization for speechrate in native and nonnative speech. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Speech perception involves a number of processes that deal with variation in the speech signal. One such process is normalization for speechrate: local temporal cues are perceived relative to the rate in the surrounding context. It is as yet unclear whether and how this perceptual effect interacts with higher level impressions of rate, such as a speaker’s nonnative identity. Nonnative speakers typically speak more slowly than natives, an experience that listeners take into account when explicitly judging the rate of nonnative speech. The present study investigated whether this is also reflected in implicit rate normalization. Results indicate that nonnative speech is implicitly perceived as faster than temporally-matched native speech, suggesting that the additional cognitive load of listening to an accent speeds up rate perception. Therefore, rate perception in speech is not dependent on syllable durations alone but also on the ease of processing of the temporal signal.
  • Brand, S., & Ernestus, M. (2015). Reduction of obstruent-liquid-schwa clusters in casual French. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS 2015, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This study investigated pronunciation variants of word-final obstruent-liquid-schwa (OLS) clusters in casual French and the variables predicting the absence of the phonemes in these clusters. In a dataset of 291 noun tokens extracted from a corpus of casual conversations, we observed that in 80.7% of the tokens, at least one phoneme was absent and that in no less than 15.5% the whole cluster was absent (e.g., /mis/ for ministre). Importantly, the probability of a phoneme being absent was higher if the following phoneme was absent as well. These data show that reduction can affect several phonemes at once and is not restricted to just a handful of (function) words. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the absence of each single phoneme is affected by the speaker's tendency to increase ease of articulation and to adapt a word's pronunciation variant to the time available.
  • Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). The effect of target-background synchronicity on speech-in-speech recognition. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS 2015, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    The aim of the present study was to investigate whether speech-in-speech recognition is affected by variation in the target-background timing relationship. Specifically, we examined whether within trial synchronous or asynchronous onset and offset of the target and background speech influenced speech-in-speech recognition. Native English listeners were presented with English target sentences in the presence of English or Dutch background speech. Importantly, only the short-term temporal context –in terms of onset and offset synchrony or asynchrony of the target and background speech– varied across conditions. Participants’ task was to repeat back the English target sentences. The results showed an effect of synchronicity for English-in-English but not for English-in-Dutch recognition, indicating that familiarity with the English background lead in the asynchronous English-in-English condition might have attracted attention towards the English background. Overall, this study demonstrated that speech-in-speech recognition is sensitive to the target-background timing relationship, revealing an important role for variation in the local context of the target-background relationship as it extends beyond the limits of the time-frame of the to-be-recognized target sentence.
  • 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., & Janse, E. (2015). Older listeners' decreased flexibility in adjusting to changes in speech signal reliability. In M. Wolters, J. Linvingstone, B. Beattie, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Under noise or speech reductions, young adult listeners flexibly adjust the parameters of lexical activation and competition to allow for speech signal unreliability. Consequently, mismatches in the input are treated more leniently such that lexical candidates are not immediately deactivated. Using eyetracking, we assessed whether this modulation of recognition dynamics also occurs for older listeners. Dutch participants (aged 60+) heard Dutch sentences containing a critical word while viewing displays of four line drawings. The name of one picture shared either onset or rhyme with the critical word (i.e., was a phonological competitor). Sentences were either clear and noise-free, or had several phonemes replaced by bursts of noise. A larger preference for onset competitors than for rhyme competitors was observed in both clear and noise conditions; performance did not alter across condition. This suggests that dynamic adjustment of spoken-word recognition parameters in response to noise is less available to older listeners.
  • Casillas, M., De Vos, C., Crasborn, O., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). The perception of stroke-to-stroke turn boundaries in signed conversation. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. R. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 315-320). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speaker transitions in conversation are often brief, with minimal vocal overlap. Signed languages appear to defy this pattern with frequent, long spans of simultaneous signing. But recent evidence suggests that turn boundaries in signed language may only include the content-bearing parts of the turn (from the first stroke to the last), and not all turn-related movement (from first preparation to final retraction). We tested whether signers were able to anticipate “stroke-to-stroke” turn boundaries with only minimal conversational context. We found that, indeed, signers anticipated turn boundaries at the ends of turn-final strokes. Signers often responded early, especially when the turn was long or contained multiple possible end points. Early responses for long turns were especially apparent for interrogatives—long interrogative turns showed much greater anticipation compared to short ones.
  • Choi, J., Broersma, M., & Cutler, A. (2015). Enhanced processing of a lost language: Linguistic knowledge or linguistic skill? In Proceedings of Interspeech 2015: 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 3110-3114).

    Abstract

    Same-different discrimination judgments for pairs of Korean stop consonants, or of Japanese syllables differing in phonetic segment length, were made by adult Korean adoptees in the Netherlands, by matched Dutch controls, and Korean controls. The adoptees did not outdo either control group on either task, although the same individuals had performed significantly better than matched controls on an identification learning task. This suggests that early exposure to multiple phonetic systems does not specifically improve acoustic-phonetic skills; rather, enhanced performance suggests retained language knowledge.
  • Coridun, S., Ernestus, M., & Ten Bosch, L. (2015). Learning pronunciation variants in a second language: Orthographic effects. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS 2015, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated the effect of orthography on the learning and subsequent processing of pronunciation variants in a second language. Dutch learners of French learned reduced pronunciation variants that result from schwa-zero alternation in French (e.g., reduced /ʃnij/ from chenille 'caterpillar'). Half of the participants additionally learnt the words' spellings, which correspond more closely to the full variants with schwa. On the following day, participants performed an auditory lexical decision task, in which they heard half of the words in their reduced variants, and the other half in their full variants. Participants who had exclusively learnt the auditory forms performed significantly worse on full variants than participants who had also learnt the spellings. This shows that learners integrate phonological and orthographic information to process pronunciation variants. There was no difference between both groups in their performances on reduced variants, suggesting that the exposure to spelling does not impede learners' processing of these variants.
  • 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
  • Croijmans, I., & Majid, A. (2015). Odor naming is difficult, even for wine and coffee experts. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 483-488). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2015/papers/0092/index.html.

    Abstract

    Odor naming is difficult for people, but recent cross-cultural research suggests this difficulty is culture-specific. Jahai speakers (hunter-gatherers from the Malay Peninsula) name odors as consistently as colors, and much better than English speakers (Majid & Burenhult, 2014). In Jahai the linguistic advantage for smells correlates with a cultural interest in odors. Here we ask whether sub-cultures in the West with odor expertise also show superior odor naming. We tested wine and coffee experts (who have specialized odor training) in an odor naming task. Both wine and coffee experts were no more accurate or consistent than novices when naming odors. Although there were small differences in naming strategies, experts and non-experts alike relied overwhelmingly on source-based descriptions. So the specific language experts speak continues to constrain their ability to express odors. This suggests expertise alone is not sufficient to overcome the limits of language in the domain of smell.
  • Cutler, A., & Fear, B. D. (1991). Categoricality in acceptability judgements for strong versus weak vowels. In J. Llisterri (Ed.), Proceedings of the ESCA Workshop on Phonetics and Phonology of Speaking Styles (pp. 18.1-18.5). Barcelona, Catalonia: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

    Abstract

    A distinction between strong and weak vowels can be drawn on the basis of vowel quality, of stress, or of both factors. An experiment was conducted in which sets of contextually matched word-intial vowels ranging from clearly strong to clearly weak were cross-spliced, and the naturalness of the resulting words was rated by listeners. The ratings showed that in general cross-spliced words were only significantly less acceptable than unspliced words when schwa was not involved; this supports a categorical distinction based on vowel quality.
  • 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. (1980). Productivity in word formation. In J. Kreiman, & A. E. Ojeda (Eds.), Papers from the Sixteenth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society (pp. 45-51). Chicago, Ill.: CLS.
  • Cutler, A. (1991). Prosody in situations of communication: Salience and segmentation. In Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: Vol. 1 (pp. 264-270). Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence, Service des publications.

    Abstract

    Speakers and listeners have a shared goal: to communicate. The processes of speech perception and of speech production interact in many ways under the constraints of this communicative goal; such interaction is as characteristic of prosodic processing as of the processing of other aspects of linguistic structure. Two of the major uses of prosodic information in situations of communication are to encode salience and segmentation, and these themes unite the contributions to the symposium introduced by the present review.
  • 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.
  • Dietrich, W., & Drude, S. (Eds.). (2015). Variation in Tupi languages: Genealogy, language change, and typology [Special Issue]. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi:Ciencias Humanas, 10(2).
  • Doherty, M., & Klein, W. (Eds.). (1991). Übersetzung [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (84).
  • Dolscheid, S., Hunnius, S., & Majid, A. (2015). When high pitches sound low: Children's acquisition of space-pitch metaphors. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 584-598). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2015/papers/0109/index.html.

    Abstract

    Some languages describe musical pitch in terms of spatial height; others in terms of thickness. Differences in pitch metaphors also shape adults’ nonlinguistic space-pitch representations. At the same time, 4-month-old infants have both types of space-pitch mappings available. This tension between prelinguistic space-pitch associations and their subsequent linguistic mediation raises questions about the acquisition of space-pitch metaphors. To address this issue, 5-year-old Dutch children were tested on their linguistic knowledge of pitch metaphors, and nonlinguistic space-pitch associations. Our results suggest 5-year-olds understand height-pitch metaphors in a reversed fashion (high pitch = low). Children displayed good comprehension of a thickness-pitch metaphor, despite its absence in Dutch. In nonlinguistic tasks, however, children did not show consistent space-pitch associations. Overall, pitch representations do not seem to be influenced by linguistic metaphors in 5-year-olds, suggesting that effects of language on musical pitch arise rather late during development.
  • 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
  • Drijvers, L., Zaadnoordijk, L., & Dingemanse, M. (2015). Sound-symbolism is disrupted in dyslexia: Implications for the role of cross-modal abstraction processes. In D. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 602-607). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Research into sound-symbolism has shown that people can consistently associate certain pseudo-words with certain referents; for instance, pseudo-words with rounded vowels and sonorant consonants are linked to round shapes, while pseudowords with unrounded vowels and obstruents (with a noncontinuous airflow), are associated with sharp shapes. Such sound-symbolic associations have been proposed to arise from cross-modal abstraction processes. Here we assess the link between sound-symbolism and cross-modal abstraction by testing dyslexic individuals’ ability to make sound-symbolic associations. Dyslexic individuals are known to have deficiencies in cross-modal processing. We find that dyslexic individuals are impaired in their ability to make sound-symbolic associations relative to the controls. Our results shed light on the cognitive underpinnings of sound-symbolism by providing novel evidence for the role —and disruptability— of cross-modal abstraction processes in sound-symbolic eects.
  • 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.
  • Drozdova, P., Van Hout, R., & Scharenborg, O. (2015). The effect of non-nativeness and background noise on lexical retuning. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS 2015, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    Previous research revealed remarkable flexibility of native and non-native listeners’ perceptual system, i.e., native and non-native phonetic category boundaries can be quickly recalibrated in the face of ambiguous input. The present study investigates the limitations of the flexibility of the non-native perceptual system. In two lexically-guided perceptual learning experiments, Dutch listeners were exposed to a short story in English, where either all /l/ or all /ɹ/ sounds were replaced by an ambiguous [l/ɹ] sound. In the first experiment, the story was presented in clean, while in the second experiment, intermittent noise was added to the story, although never on the critical words. Lexically-guided perceptual learning was only observed in the clean condition. It is argued that the introduction of intermittent noise reduced the reliability of the evidence of hearing a particular word, which in turn blocked retuning of the phonetic categories.
  • 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.
  • Esling, J. H., Benner, A., & Moisik, S. R. (2015). Laryngeal articulatory function and speech origins. In H. Little (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015) Satellite Event: The Evolution of Phonetic Capabilities: Causes constraints, consequences (pp. 2-7). Glasgow: ICPhS.

    Abstract

    The larynx is the essential articulatory mechanism that primes the vocal tract. Far from being only a glottal source of voicing, the complex laryngeal mechanism entrains the ontogenetic acquisition of speech and, through coarticulatory coupling, guides the production of oral sounds in the infant vocal tract. As such, it is not possible to speculate as to the origins of the speaking modality in humans without considering the fundamental role played by the laryngeal articulatory mechanism. The Laryngeal Articulator Model, which divides the vocal tract into a laryngeal component and an oral component, serves as a basis for describing early infant speech and for positing how speech sounds evolving in various hominids may be related phonetically. To this end, we offer some suggestions for how the evolution and development of vocal tract anatomy fit with our infant speech acquisition data and discuss the implications this has for explaining phonetic learning and for interpreting the biological evolution of the human vocal tract in relation to speech and speech acquisition.
  • 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.
  • Franken, M. K., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Acheson, D. J. (2015). Assessing the link between speech perception and production through individual differences. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: the University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This study aims to test a prediction of recent theoretical frameworks in speech motor control: if speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, people with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets. To investigate this, we had participants perform speech perception and production tasks in a counterbalanced order. To assess speech perception acuity, we used an adaptive speech discrimination task. To assess variability in speech production, participants performed a pseudo-word reading task; formant values were measured for each recording. We predicted that speech production variability to correlate inversely with discrimination performance. The results suggest that people do vary in their production and perceptual abilities, and that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets, confirming our prediction. This study highlights the importance of individual differences in the study of speech motor control, and sheds light on speech production-perception interaction.
  • 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
  • Hammarström, H. (2015). Glottolog: A free, online, comprehensive bibliography of the world's languages. In E. Kuzmin (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace (pp. 183-188). Moscow: UNESCO.
  • 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., Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2015). Bézier modelling and high accuracy curve fitting to capture hard palate variation. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow, UK: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    The human hard palate shows between-subject variation that is known to influence articulatory strategies. In order to link such variation to human speech, we are conducting a cross-sectional MRI study on multiple populations. A model based on Bezier curves using only three parameters was fitted to hard palate MRI tracings using evolutionary computation. The fits produced consistently yield high accuracies. For future research, this new method may be used to classify our MRI data on ethnic origins using e.g., cluster analyses. Furthermore, we may integrate our model into three-dimensional representations of the vocal tract in order to investigate its effect on acoustics and cultural transmission.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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., & 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.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1980). Argumentation [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (38/39).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1985). Schriftlichkeit [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (59).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1982). Zweitspracherwerb [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (45).
  • Koch, X., & Janse, E. (2015). Effects of age and hearing loss on articulatory precision for sibilants. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the effects of adult age and speaker abilities on articulatory precision for sibilant productions. Normal-hearing young adults with better sibilant discrimination have been shown to produce greater spectral sibilant contrasts. As reduced auditory feedback may gradually impact on feedforward commands, we investigate whether articulatory precision as indexed by spectral mean for [s] and [S] decreases with age, and more particularly with agerelated hearing loss. Younger, middle-aged and older adults read aloud words starting with the sibilants [s] or [S]. Possible effects of cognitive, perceptual, linguistic and sociolinguistic background variables on the sibilants’ acoustics were also investigated. Sibilant contrasts were less pronounced for male than female speakers. Most importantly, for the fricative [s], the spectral mean was modulated by individual high-frequency hearing loss, but not age. These results underscore that even mild hearing loss already affects articulatory precision.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1991). Lexical access in speech production: Stages versus cascading. In H. Peters, W. Hulstijn, & C. Starkweather (Eds.), Speech motor control and stuttering (pp. 3-10). Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica.
  • Little, H., Eryılmaz, K., & de Boer, B. (2015). A new artificial sign-space proxy for investigating the emergence of structure and categories in speech. In The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (Ed.), The proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. (ICPhS 2015).
  • 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., & 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. (2015). Linguistic modality affects the creation of structure and iconicity in signals. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. Jennings, & P. Maglio (Eds.), The 37th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 1392-1398). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Different linguistic modalities (speech or sign) offer different levels at which signals can iconically represent the world. One hypothesis argues that this iconicity has an effect on how linguistic structure emerges. However, exactly how and why these effects might come about is in need of empirical investigation. In this contribution, we present a signal creation experiment in which both the signalling space and the meaning space are manipulated so that different levels and types of iconicity are available between the signals and meanings. Signals are produced using an infrared sensor that detects the hand position of participants to generate auditory feedback. We find evidence that iconicity may be maladaptive for the discrimination of created signals. Further, we implemented Hidden Markov Models to characterise the structure within signals, which was also used to inform a metric for iconicity.
  • 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).
  • Majid, A., Jordan, F., & Dunn, M. (Eds.). (2015). Semantic systems in closely related languages [Special Issue]. Language Sciences, 49.
  • 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
  • Moers, C., Janse, E., & Meyer, A. S. (2015). Probabilistic reduction in reading aloud: A comparison of younger and older adults. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetics Association.

    Abstract

    Frequent and predictable words are generally pronounced with less effort and are therefore acoustically more reduced than less frequent or unpredictable words. Local predictability can be operationalised by Transitional Probability (TP), which indicates how likely a word is to occur given its immediate context. We investigated whether and how probabilistic reduction effects on word durations change with adult age when reading aloud content words embedded in sentences. The results showed equally large frequency effects on verb and noun durations for both younger (Mage = 20 years) and older (Mage = 68 years) adults. Backward TP also affected word duration for younger and older adults alike. ForwardTP, however, had no significant effect on word duration in either age group. Our results resemble earlier findings of more robust BackwardTP effects compared to ForwardTP effects. Furthermore, unlike often reported decline in predictive processing with aging, probabilistic reduction effects remain stable across adulthood.
  • Moisik, S. R., & Dediu, D. (2015). Anatomical biasing and clicks: Preliminary biomechanical modelling. In H. Little (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015) Satellite Event: The Evolution of Phonetic Capabilities: Causes constraints, consequences (pp. 8-13). Glasgow: ICPhS.

    Abstract

    It has been observed by several researchers that the Khoisan palate tends to lack a prominent alveolar ridge. A preliminary biomechanical model of click production was created to examine if these sounds might be subject to an anatomical bias associated with alveolar ridge size. Results suggest the bias is plausible, taking the form of decreased articulatory effort and improved volume change characteristics, however, further modelling and experimental research is required to solidify the claim.
  • Morano, L., Ernestus, M., & Ten Bosch, L. (2015). Schwa reduction in low-proficiency L2 speakers: Learning and generalization. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This paper investigated the learnability and generalizability of French schwa alternation by Dutch low-proficiency second language learners. We trained 40 participants on 24 new schwa words by exposing them equally often to the reduced and full forms of these words. We then assessed participants' accuracy and reaction times to these newly learnt words as well as 24 previously encountered schwa words with an auditory lexical decision task. Our results show learning of the new words in both forms. This suggests that lack of exposure is probably the main cause of learners' difficulties with reduced forms. Nevertheless, the full forms were slightly better recognized than the reduced ones, possibly due to phonetic and phonological properties of the reduced forms. We also observed no generalization to previously encountered words, suggesting that our participants stored both of the learnt word forms and did not create a rule that applies to all schwa words.
  • 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.
  • Mulder, K., Brekelmans, G., & Ernestus, M. (2015). The processing of schwa reduced cognates and noncognates in non-native listeners of English. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    In speech, words are often reduced rather than fully pronounced (e.g., (/ˈsʌmri/ for /ˈsʌməri/, summary). Non-native listeners may have problems in processing these reduced forms, because they have encountered them less often. This paper addresses the question whether this also holds for highly proficient non-natives and for words with similar forms and meanings in the non-natives' mother tongue (i.e., cognates). In an English auditory lexical decision task, natives and highly proficient Dutch non-natives of English listened to cognates and non-cognates that were presented in full or without their post-stress schwa. The data show that highly proficient learners are affected by reduction as much as native speakers. Nevertheless, the two listener groups appear to process reduced forms differently, because non-natives produce more errors on reduced cognates than on non-cognates. While listening to reduced forms, non-natives appear to be hindered by the co-activated lexical representations of cognate forms in their native language.
  • Neger, T. M., Rietveld, T., & Janse, E. (2015). Adult age effects in auditory statistical learning. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Statistical learning plays a key role in language processing, e.g., for speech segmentation. Older adults have been reported to show less statistical learning on the basis of visual input than younger adults. Given age-related changes in perception and cognition, we investigated whether statistical learning is also impaired in the auditory modality in older compared to younger adults and whether individual learning ability is associated with measures of perceptual (i.e., hearing sensitivity) and cognitive functioning in both age groups. Thirty younger and thirty older adults performed an auditory artificial-grammar-learning task to assess their statistical learning ability. In younger adults, perceptual effort came at the cost of processing resources required for learning. Inhibitory control (as indexed by Stroop colornaming performance) did not predict auditory learning. Overall, younger and older adults showed the same amount of auditory learning, indicating that statistical learning ability is preserved over the adult life span.
  • Nijveld, A., Ten Bosch, L., & Ernestus, M. (2015). Exemplar effects arise in a lexical decision task, but only under adverse listening conditions. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This paper studies the influence of adverse listening conditions on exemplar effects in priming experiments that do not instruct participants to use their episodic memories. We conducted two lexical decision experiments, in which a prime and a target represented the same word type and could be spoken by the same or a different speaker. In Experiment 1, participants listened to clear speech, and showed no exemplar effects: they recognised repetitions by the same speaker as quickly as different speaker repetitions. In Experiment 2, the stimuli contained noise, and exemplar effects did arise. Importantly, Experiment 1 elicited longer average RTs than Experiment 2, a result that contradicts the time-course hypothesis, according to which exemplars only play a role when processing is slow. Instead, our findings support the hypothesis that exemplar effects arise under adverse listening conditions, when participants are stimulated to use their episodic memories in addition to their mental lexicons.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Peeters, D., Snijders, T. M., Hagoort, P., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). The role of left inferior frontal Gyrus in the integration of point- ing gestures and speech. In G. Ferré, & M. Tutton (Eds.), Proceedings of the4th GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference. Nantes: Université de Nantes.

    Abstract

    Comprehension of pointing gestures is fundamental to human communication. However, the neural mechanisms that subserve the integration of pointing gestures and speech in visual contexts in comprehension are unclear. Here we present the results of an fMRI study in which participants watched images of an actor pointing at an object while they listened to her referential speech. The use of a mismatch paradigm revealed that the semantic unication of pointing gesture and speech in a triadic context recruits left inferior frontal gyrus. Complementing previous ndings, this suggests that left inferior frontal gyrus semantically integrates information across modalities and semiotic domains.
  • Perlman, M., Paul, J., & Lupyan, G. (2015). Congenitally deaf children generate iconic vocalizations to communicate magnitude. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. R. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Cognitive Science Society Meeting (CogSci 2015) (pp. 315-320). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    From an early age, people exhibit strong links between certain visual (e.g. size) and acoustic (e.g. duration) dimensions. Do people instinctively extend these crossmodal correspondences to vocalization? We examine the ability of congenitally deaf Chinese children and young adults (age M = 12.4 years, SD = 3.7 years) to generate iconic vocalizations to distinguish items with contrasting magnitude (e.g., big vs. small ball). Both deaf and hearing (M = 10.1 years, SD = 0.83 years) participants produced longer, louder vocalizations for greater magnitude items. However, only hearing participants used pitch—higher pitch for greater magnitude – which counters the hypothesized, innate size “frequency code”, but fits with Mandarin language and culture. Thus our results show that the translation of visible magnitude into the duration and intensity of vocalization transcends auditory experience, whereas the use of pitch appears more malleable to linguistic and cultural influence.
  • Perniss, P. M., Ozyurek, A., & Morgan, G. (Eds.). (2015). The influence of the visual modality on language structure and conventionalization: Insights from sign language and gesture [Special Issue]. Topics in Cognitive Science, 7(1). doi:10.1111/tops.12113.
  • Perry, L., Perlman, M., & Lupyan, G. (2015). Iconicity in English vocabulary and its relation to toddlers’ word learning. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. R. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Cognitive Science Society Meeting (CogSci 2015) (pp. 315-320). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Scholars have documented substantial classes of iconic vocabulary in many non-Indo-European languages. In comparison, Indo-European languages like English are assumed to be arbitrary outside of a small number of onomatopoeic words. In three experiments, we asked English speakers to rate the iconicity of words from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory. We found English—contrary to common belief—exhibits iconicity that correlates with age of acquisition and differs across lexical classes. Words judged as most iconic are learned earlier, in accord with findings that iconic words are easier to learn. We also find that adjectives and verbs are more iconic than nouns, supporting the idea that iconicity provides an extra cue in learning more difficult abstract meanings. Our results provide new evidence for a relationship between iconicity and word learning and suggest iconicity may be a more pervasive property of spoken languages than previously thought.
  • 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.
  • Roberts, S. G., Everett, C., & Blasi, D. (2015). Exploring potential climate effects on the evolution of human sound systems. In H. Little (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences [ICPhS 2015] Satellite Event: The Evolution of Phonetic Capabilities: Causes constraints, consequences (pp. 14-19). Glasgow: ICPHS.

    Abstract

    We suggest that it is now possible to conduct research on a topic which might be called evolutionary geophonetics. The main question is how the climate influences the evolution of language. This involves biological adaptations to the climate that may affect biases in production and perception; cultural evolutionary adaptations of the sounds of a language to climatic conditions; and influences of the climate on language diversity and contact. We discuss these ideas with special reference to a recent hypothesis that lexical tone is not adaptive in dry climates (Everett, Blasi & Roberts, 2015).
  • 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
  • San Roque, L., & Bergvist, H. (Eds.). (2015). Epistemic marking in typological perspective [Special Issue]. STUF -Language typology and universals, 68(2).
  • Schmidt, J., Scharenborg, O., & Janse, E. (2015). Semantic processing of spoken words under cognitive load in older listeners. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Processing of semantic information in language comprehension has been suggested to be modulated by attentional resources. Consequently, cognitive load would be expected to reduce semantic priming, but studies have yielded inconsistent results. This study investigated whether cognitive load affects semantic activation in speech processing in older adults, and whether this is modulated by individual differences in cognitive and hearing abilities. Older adults participated in an auditory continuous lexical decision task in a low-load and high-load condition. The group analysis showed only a marginally significant reduction of semantic priming in the high-load condition compared to the low-load condition. The individual differences analysis showed that semantic priming was significantly reduced under increased load in participants with poorer attention-switching control. Hence, a resource-demanding secondary task may affect the integration of spoken words into a coherent semantic representation for listeners with poorer attentional skills.
  • Schubotz, L., Holler, J., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Age-related differences in multi-modal audience design: Young, but not old speakers, adapt speech and gestures to their addressee's knowledge. In G. Ferré, & M. Tutton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference (pp. 211-216). Nantes: Université of Nantes.

    Abstract

    Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures for addressees. Here, we investigate whether this ability is modulated by age. Younger and older adults participated in a comic narration task in which one participant (the speaker) narrated six short comic stories to another participant (the addressee). One half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. Younger but not older speakers used more words and gestures when narrating novel story content as opposed to known content. We discuss cognitive and pragmatic explanations of these findings and relate them to theories of gesture production.
  • Schuerman, W. L., Nagarajan, S., & Houde, J. (2015). Changes in consonant perception driven by adaptation of vowel production to altered auditory feedback. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congresses of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). London: International Phonetic Association.

    Abstract

    Adaptation to altered auditory feedback has been shown to induce subsequent shifts in perception. However, it is uncertain whether these perceptual changes may generalize to other speech sounds. In this experiment, we tested whether exposing the production of a vowel to altered auditory feedback affects perceptual categorization of a consonant distinction. In two sessions, participants produced CVC words containing the vowel /i/, while intermittently categorizing stimuli drawn from a continuum between "see" and "she." In the first session feedback was unaltered, while in the second session the formants of the vowel were shifted 20% towards /u/. Adaptation to the altered vowel was found to reduce the proportion of perceived /S/ stimuli. We suggest that this reflects an alteration to the sensorimotor mapping that is shared between vowels and consonants.
  • 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.
  • Senft, G. (1991). Bakavilisi Biga - we can 'turn' the language - or: What happens to English words in Kilivila language? In W. Bahner, J. Schildt, & D. Viehwegger (Eds.), Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Linguists (pp. 1743-1746). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
  • 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.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1985). Predicate raising and semantic transparency in Mauritian Creole. In N. Boretzky, W. Enninger, & T. Stolz (Eds.), Akten des 2. Essener Kolloquiums über "Kreolsprachen und Sprachkontakte", 29-30 Nov. 1985 (pp. 203-229). Bochum: Brockmeyer.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1991). Notes on noun phrases and quantification. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Current Issues in Computational Linguistics (pp. 19-44). Penang, Malaysia: Universiti Sains Malaysia.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1980). Variabele competentie: Linguïstiek en sociolinguïstiek anno 1980. In Handelingen van het 36e Nederlands Filologencongres: Gehouden te Groningen op woensdag 9, donderdag 10 en vrijdag 11 April 1980 (pp. 41-56). Amsterdam: Holland University Press.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1991). What makes a text untranslatable? In H. M. N. Noor Ein, & H. S. Atiah (Eds.), Pragmatik Penterjemahan: Prinsip, Amalan dan Penilaian Menuju ke Abad 21 ("The Pragmatics of Translation: Principles, Practice and Evaluation Moving towards the 21st Century") (pp. 19-27). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
  • 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.
  • Slonimska, A., Ozyurek, A., & Campisi, E. (2015). Ostensive signals: markers of communicative relevance of gesture during demonstration to adults and children. In G. Ferré, & M. Tutton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference (pp. 217-222). Nantes: Universite of Nantes.

    Abstract

    Speakers adapt their speech and gestures in various ways for their audience. We investigated further whether they use ostensive signals (eye gaze, ostensive speech (e.g. like this, this) or a combination of both) in relation to their gestures when talking to different addressees, i.e., to another adult or a child in a multimodal demonstration task. While adults used more eye gaze towards their gestures with other adults than with children, they were more likely to use combined ostensive signals for children than for adults. Thus speakers mark the communicative relevance of their gestures with different types of ostensive signals and by taking different types of addressees into account.
  • Smorenburg, L., Rodd, J., & Chen, A. (2015). The effect of explicit training on the prosodic production of L2 sarcasm by Dutch learners of English. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow, UK: University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    Previous research [9] suggests that Dutch learners of (British) English are not able to express sarcasm prosodically in their L2. The present study investigates whether explicit training on the prosodic markers of sarcasm in English can improve learners’ realisation of sarcasm. Sarcastic speech was elicited in short simulated telephone conversations between Dutch advanced learners of English and a native British English-speaking ‘friend’ in two sessions, fourteen days apart. Between the two sessions, participants were trained by means of (1) a presentation, (2) directed independent practice, and (3) evaluation of participants’ production and individual feedback in small groups. L1 British English-speaking raters subsequently evaluated the degree of sarcastic sounding in the participants’ responses on a five-point scale. It was found that significantly higher sarcasm ratings were given to L2 learners’ production obtained after the training than that obtained before the training; explicit training on prosody has a positive effect on learners’ production of sarcasm.

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