It's all in your head - How to get abstract representations in there

TitleIt's all in your head - How to get abstract representations in there
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2007
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2007
AuthorsApoussidou, Diana
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

How do we get the phonological representation of a word into our heads from the speech signal? If we assume that the mental lexicon contains something like underlying representations of words, we have to account for how children acquire them in the course of language learning. For instance, how can children learn that the word for 'rat' in Dutch, pronounced [rat], ends in a final voiceless stop, while the word for 'wheel', also pronounced [rat], actually ends in a final voiced stop, as the plural form [radə] shows? In this talk, it will be demonstrated how computer-simulated learners can acquire both the phonological grammar causing the final devoicing effect plus the correct underlying forms from the phonetic forms and their meanings (e.g. from pairs such as [rat] - 'rat' or [radə] - 'wheels') by combining a parallel learning procedure of the different levels of representation with subsequent serial production of the words.