Exploring the Relative Role of Bottom-up and Top-down Information in Phoneme Learning
Fourtassi, Abdellah and Schatz, Thomas and Varadarajan, Balakrishnan and Dupoux, Emmanuel

Article Structure


We test both bottom-up and top-down approaches in learning the phonemic status of the sounds of English and Japanese.


Developmental studies have shown that, during their first year, infants tune in on the phonemic categories (consonants and vowels) of their language, i.e., they lose the ability to distinguish some within-category contrasts (Werker and Tees, 1984) and enhance their ability to distinguish between-category contrasts (Kuhl et al., 2006).

Modeling phonetic variation

In this section, we describe how we modeled the representation of speech sounds putatively processed by infants, before they learn the relevant phonemic categories of their language.

Bottom-up and top-down hypotheses

3.1 Acoustic cue


4.1 Task


5.1 Why does the performance drop for realistic allophones?


In this study we explored the role of both bottom-up and top-down hypotheses in learning the phonemic status of the sounds of two typologically different languages.