Giulio Degano & Narly Golestani

Giulio Degano & Narly Golestani

Lecture 8 | Leipzig Lectures on Language—Combinatorics 2021

September 15, 2021


Combining Prosodic and Syntactic Information in the Brain During Listening to Naturalistic Speech

Recent computational modeling approaches have investigated the neural signatures underlying different levels of processing in linguistic hierarchy. However, the interaction across these levels is poorly understood. Our goal is to investigate whether the processing of syntactic information in the brain is modulated by prosodic cues carried within naturalistic speech signals. Crucially, the influence between prosody and syntax is reciprocal, thus, a computational model representing these two different levels can uncover if and how the neural processing of linguistic (i.e., syntactic) information is facilitated by their interaction. Here, we will describe our first steps in tackling this question, using an information theory approach for the analysis of MEG data acquired during listening to naturalistic speech. Results suggest that the shared information between prosody and syntax appears to be localised bilaterally in the brain, and occurs in a broad time window that also overlaps with the early effect of prosodic encoding.


About the speakers

Giulio Degano is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Brain and Language Lab, University of Geneva. His
research interests include the perception of naturalistic stimuli such as speech and music, and multisensory integration.

Narly Golestani is Associate Professor at the University of Geneva and the University of Vienna. Her
research focuses on the neural bases of auditory and language processing, using a range of
neuroimaging techniques to study questions on language learning, multilingualism and individual

Keywords: language processing; prosody-syntax interaction; computational modelling


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