Multitimescale Dynamical Interactions Between Speech Rhythm and Gesture

Cognitive Science 33 (5):839-879 (2009)
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Temporal patterns in human movement, and in speech in particular, occur on multiple timescales. Regularities in such patterns have been observed between speech gestures, which are relatively quick movements of articulators (e.g., tongue fronting and lip protrusion), and also between rhythmic units (e.g., syllables and metrical feet), which occur more slowly. Previous work has shown that patterns in both domains can be usefully modeled with oscillatory dynamical systems. To investigate how rhythmic and gestural domains interact, an experiment was conducted in which speakers performed a phrase repetition task, and gestural kinematics were recorded using electromagnetic articulometry. Variance in relative timing of gestural movements was correlated with variance in rhythmic timing, indicating that gestural and rhythmic systems interact in the process of planning and producing speech. A model of rhythmic and gestural planning oscillators with multifrequency coupling is presented, which can simulate the observed covariability between rhythmic and gestural timing.



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