The Sensorimotor Foundations of Phonology: A Computational Model of Early Childhood Articulatory and Phonetic Development
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Kevin Lee Markey
Department of Computer Science; University of Colorado at Boulder
Campus Box 430; Boulder, Colorado 80309-0430 USA
This thesis describes HABLAR, a computational model of the sensorimotor foundations of early childhood phonological development. HABLAR (an acronym for "Hierarchical Articulatory Based Language Acquisition by Reinforcement learning" and Spanish for "to speak") is intended to replicate the major milestones of emerging speech and demonstrate key characteristics of normal development, including the phonetic characteristics of babble, systematic and context-sensitive patterns of sound substitutions and deletions, overgeneralization errors, and the emergence of adult phonemic organization. It should also mimic abnormal phonological development under certain conditions of damage or degradation. HABLAR simulates a complete sensorimotor system consisting of an auditory system that detects and categorizes speech sounds using only acoustic cues drawn from its linguistic environment, an articulatory system that generates synthetic speech based on a realistic computer model of the vocal tract, an...