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Transdisciplinary Workshop Maison des Astronomes, IMéRA, Marseille
May 9 - May 10
Outcome: a collective publication on methodological and theoretical issues
The complexity of animal communication signals (including humans) can be evaluated on the basis of the combinatorics of the units that make up these signals (property also referred to as “double articulation”). The first articulation concerns the arrangement of the semantic units (words) into sentences and the second corresponds to the arrangement of elementary sounds (e.g. human phonemes) into meaningful units (e.g. human words). The possibility to build different combinations at each level allows to produce an exponential number of new statements.
To compare the complexity of the vocal communication signals of different animal species, including humans, we propose to investigate possible combinatorial units in non-human animals.
For this, we intend to address two principal issues:
- The segmentation and clustering methods / principles used in the study of human and non-human vocalizations (mainly non-human primates and cetaceans).
- The association/combinability of units from different sensory channels (acoustic, visual, tactile) and the processing of these multimodal/multicomponent units
This will be done using the tools and concepts from linguistics, psycholinguistics, comparative psychology, philosophy, bioacoustics, neurosciences, computer sciences and ethology.