Linguistics Colloquium 05/03/13 – Bryan Gick

Bryan GickArticulating without articulators: body devices in multidimensional task space
Bryan Gick
University of British Colombia

Friday, May 3, 2013
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
MGH 241

Speech production models have long modularized the vocal tract into gross-anatomical “articulators” (e.g., upper lip, tongue tip, jaw), of which the brain can, in theory, demand any action. This view is at odds with the observation that only a small repertoire of articulatory postures is used again and again across languages (these providing the basis for our use of universal phonetic transcription systems). An alternative view of modularizing motor control suggests that independent, functionally defined body modules (“devices”) are optimized through use to perform specific tasks in multidimensional “real-world” space. We describe a model of how such structures emerge within individuals in this multidimensional sensory-behavioral space.

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