SFB 732: Incremental Specification in Context (Univ. Stuttgart)

Project A2: Exemplar-Based Speech Representation

Funded by German Research Foundation (DFG), 2006-2010

Project A2: Exemplar Theory: Models and Experiments

Funded by German Research Foundation (DFG), 2010-2014

PI: Bernd Möbius and Hinrich Schütze; from May 2011: Grzegorz Dogil and Hinrich Schütze
Note: Bernd Möbius moved to Saarland University and will remain associated with the project
Researchers: Daniel Duran, Jagoda Sieczkowska Bruni, Michael Walsh; Travis Wade (2006-2008)


Within the overarching topic of the SFB, Incremental Specification in Context, Exemplar Theory is a formal model of contextual perception and production. Thus, we use Exemplar Theory as a model of context that explicates how linguistic units are incrementally specified in production and to what degree the fully specified speech signal undergoes incremental processes of underspecification in perception.

The first phase of this project (2006-2010) yielded two computational models which have facilitated the pursuit of the research agenda set out in the original A2 proposal. The first model, known as the Context Sequence Model, models speech perception by representing memory as a single ordered collection of acoustic cues from previously heard speech and encoded to preserve temporal patterns. The categorization of newly encountered speech sounds involves comparing the sounds, and their neighbouring contexts, with similar sequences in memory. The second model is the Mulit Level-Exemplar Model, whose key innovation is the explicit formalisation of the relastionship between exemplars on the constituent level and exemplars on what is referred to as the unit level. Constituents are segments, for example, consonants and vowels in phonetics, and words in syntax. Units are represented by syllables in phonetics, and phrases or sentences in syntax. Both models have been successful in accounting for a number of phenomena in phonetics and syntax.

In the second phase (2010-2014) both models will be employed in a variety of areas including the following: investigations into exemplar transfer in the context of second language acquisition, experiments on durational autonomy and temporal shrinking in phonetics, research into possible prosodic storage in the lexicon, exemplar-theoretic language modelling, and the dynamics of emergent abstraction.


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bm 25.6.2012