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Emergence of linguistic laws in human voice

by   Ivan Gonzalez Torre, et al.
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Queen Mary University of London

Linguistic laws constitute one of the quantitative cornerstones of modern cognitive sciences and have been routinely investigated in written corpora, or in the equivalent transcription of oral corpora. This means that inferences of statistical patterns of language in acoustics are biased by the arbitrary, language-dependent segmentation of the signal, and virtually precludes the possibility of making comparative studies between human voice and other animal communication systems. Here we bridge this gap by proposing a method that allows to measure such patterns in acoustic signals of arbitrary origin, without needs to have access to the language corpus underneath. The method has been applied to six different human languages, recovering successfully some well-known laws of human communication at timescales even below the phoneme and finding yet another link between complexity and criticality in a biological system. These methods further pave the way for new comparative studies in animal communication or the analysis of signals of unknown code.


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