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Phonemic Coding Might Result From Sensory-Motor Coupling Dynamics

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Document pages: 10 pages

Abstract: Human sound systems are invariably phonemically coded. Furthermore,phoneme inventories follow very particular tendancies. To explain these phenomena, there existed so far three kinds of approaches :``Chomskyan cognitive innatism, morpho-perceptual innatism and the more recent approach of ``language as a complex cultural systemwhich adapts under the pressure of efficient communication . The two first approaches are clearly not satisfying, whilethe third, even if much more convincing, makes a lot of speculative assumptions and did notreally bring answers to the question of phonemic coding. We proposehere a new hypothesis based on a low-level model ofsensory-motor interactions. We show that certain very simple and non language-specific neural devices allow a population of agents to build signalling systemswithout any functional pressure. Moreover, these systemsare phonemically coded. Using a realistic vowel articulatorysynthesizer, we show that the inventories of vowels have striking similarities with human vowel systems.

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