Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
This paper describes a recently started inter-disciplinary research program aiming at inves-tigating and modelling fundamental aspects of the language acquisition process. The working hypothesis assumes that general purpose per-ception and memory processes, common to both human and other mammalian species, along with the particular context of initial adult-infant interaction, underlie the infant’s ability to progressively derive linguistic struc-ture implicitly available in the ambient lan-guage. The project is conceived as an interdis-ciplinary research effort involving the areas of Phonetics, Psychology and Speech recognition. Experimental speech perception techniques will be used at Dept. of Linguistics, SU, to investi-gate the development of the infant’s ability to derive linguistic information from situated con-nected speech. These experiments will be matched by behavioural tests of animal sub-jects, carried out at CMU, Pittsburgh, to dis-close the potential significance that recurrent multi-sensory properties of the stimuli may have for spontaneous category formation. Data from infant and child vocal productions as well as infant-adult interactions will also be col-lected and analyzed to address the possibility of a production-perception link. Finally, the data from the infant and animal studies will be inte-grated and tested in mathematical models of the language acquisition process, developed at TMH, KTH.