9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

A Computational Model of Language Acquisition: Focus on Word Discovery

Louis ten Bosch (1), Hugo Van hamme (2), Lou Boves (1)

(1) Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands
(2) Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Young infants learn words by detecting patterns in the speech signal and by associating these patterns to stimuli presented by non-speech modalities (e.g vision). In this paper, we model this behaviour by designing and testing a computational model of word discovery. The model is able to build word-like representations on the basis of multimodal input data. The discovery of words (and word-like entities) takes place within a communicative loop between two protagonists, a 'carer' and the 'learner'. Experiments carried out on three different European languages (Finnish, Swedish, and Dutch) show that a robust word representation can be learned in using about 50 acoustic tokens (examples) of that word. The model is inspired by the memory structure that is assumed functional for human speech processing.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bosch, Louis ten / Van hamme, Hugo / Boves, Lou (2008): "A computational model of language acquisition: focus on word discovery", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 2570-2573.