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Syllable as a unit of information transfer in linguistic communication: The entropy syllable parsing model

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Abstract To understand human language—both spoken and signed—the listener or viewer has to parse the continuous external signal into components. The question of what those components are (e.g., phrases, words, sounds, phonemes?) has been a subject of long‐standing debate. We re‐frame this question to ask: What properties of the incoming visual or auditory signal are indispensable to eliciting language comprehension? In this review, we assess the phenomenon of language parsing from modality‐independent viewpoint. We show that the interplay between dynamic changes in the entropy of the signal and between neural entrainment to the signal at syllable level (4–5 Hz range) is causally related to language comprehension in both speech and sign language. This modality‐independent Entropy Syllable Parsing model for the linguistic signal offers insight into the mechanisms of language processing, suggesting common neurocomputational bases for syllables in speech and sign language. This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Linguistic Theory Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain Linguistics > Computational Models of Language Psychology > Language
The overall optical flow across velocity bins (plotted on the y‐axis) and time (x‐axis) in a two‐dimensional video of a signed sentence in ASL. The integrated sum of velocities across bins is plotted as a black line. Green vertical lines mark word onsets; red vertical lines mark word offsets, which are followed by transitional motion
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The Entropy Syllable Parsing model as a modality‐independent signal segmentation framework for communication: The envelope of the incoming signal in any modality is used as the basis for its perceptual parsing. Parsing at lower and higher frequencies is subsequent to syllabic parsing
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Psychology > Language
Linguistics > Linguistic Theory
Linguistics > Computational Models of Language
Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain

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