Reverse Engineering Early Language Acquisition in Infants

Speaker: Emmanuel Dupoux , Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Date: Thursday, February 06, 2014

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Refreshments: 3:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: 32-G882 (Stata Center - Hewlett Room)

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Host: Jim Glass, MIT CSAIL

Contact: Marcia G. Davidson, 617-253-3049,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Reverse Engineering Early Language Acquisition in Infants

Human infants learn spontaneously and effortlessly the language(s) spoken in their environments, but we still have a very poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying this feat. Here, I will show that algorithms from Natural Language Processing and Speech Technology can help to shed light on this problem, if they are cast within the framework of multilevel unsupervised learning. I will illustrate the notion of learning synergies through several studies on the discovery of phonetic and lexical units from speech (both modeling and experimental), and discuss the idea that studying the human infant can help us understand what the nature of language learning is.

Emmanuel Dupoux has a background in computer science and telecom engineering. He received his Ph.D. degree in cognitive psychology with Jacques Mehler in Paris in 1989. From 1998 to 2009, he took over the Direction of Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (LSCP), and created an interdisciplinary Cognitive Science Master program (CogMaster) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. His research interests include the acquisition of linguistic and social skills in infants and the consequences of early acquisitions in adults, in particular on the more or less reversible specialization of cognitive processes for a particular language or culture.

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Created by Marcia G. Davidson Email at Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 5:03 PM.