Associate 2002-03

Stephen E Levinson

Electrical & Computer Enginerring


Professor Levinson studies speech and language and conducts research on human-machine communication by voice. During his Center appointment, he will complete a book on mathematical methods in linguistic analysis.

In the book, Professor Levinson presents the basic mathematical models of natural spoken language communication and the motivations for and intuitions behind them. He gives a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the subject, from the physics of the human vocal apparatus, through the hierarchy of linguistic structure, to theories of language and mind, and places the material in a mathematically coherent and computationally tractable framework that, as faithfully as possible, captures known linguistic structure. One can thus view his presentation either as a mathematical theory of language or as a computational account of automatic speech recognition and speech synthesis.

Careful attention is given to the history of relevant theories and models and current debates about them. Also included are some important but little-known results and a few original proofs. The final chapter synthesizes the material into a unique research program attempting to demonstrate how an autonomous robot can acquire automatic language.