Human, Monkey and Cetacean, Communication Signals: What to compare, How?

Human, Monkey and Cetacean, Communication Signals: What to compare, How?

Transdisciplinary Workshop (French/English)
Maison des Astronomes, IMERA, Marseille
9 & 10th of May, 2022

The complexity of animal communication signals (including humans) can be evaluated on the basis of the combinatorics of the units that make up these signals (property also referred to as “double articulation”). The first articulation concerns the arrangement of the semantic units (words) into sentences and the second corresponds to the arrangement of elementary sounds (e.g. human phonemes) into meaningful units (e.g.  human words). The possibility to build different combinations at each level allows to produce an exponential number of new statements.

To compare the complexity of the vocal communication signals of different animal species, including humans, we propose to investigate possible combinatorial units in non-human animals.

For this, we intend to address two principal issues:

  1.       The segmentation and clustering methods / principles used in the study of human and non-human vocalizations (mainly non-human primates and cetaceans).
  2.       The association/combinability of units from different sensory channels (acoustic, visual, tactile) and the processing of these multimodal/multicomponent units


This will be doneusing the tools and concepts from linguistics, psycholinguistics, comparative psychology, philosophy, bioacoustics, neurosciences, computer sciences and ethology.


This workshop is strictly reserved to registered audience, if you wish to register please write to Ms. Marie Montant: