InterSpeech 2017: The Home Straight!

Hej kära vänner! Det är sista dagen på InterSpeech 2017! Hello dear friends! It is Thursday, August 24, and today is our last day at InterSpeech 2017 here at Stockholm University in Sweden! As always, time is running too fast! Incredible! Let’s take a quick look at this morning’s plenary address!

Björn Lindblom was InterSpeech 2017’s last keynote speaker and his address on “Re-Inventing Speech – The Biological Way” was a masterpiece of truly multidisciplinary research. Björn Lindblom discussed the ‘inescapable dogma’ of 20th century linguistics – “the logical priority of linguistic form over substance” – by reminding the audience of the neurobiological and physical constraints underlying language and phonetic typology. Excellent arguments for the independent biological motivation of the structures associated with the IPA-chart or revealed by the UPSID database. One of the highlights of Prof. Lindblom’s lecture were his well-grounded arguments for the continuity from basic communicative apian behavior to the evolutionary and ontogenetic increasingly complex human linguistic capabilities. Check the Book of Abstracts (p. 218) for a quick overview of Lindblom’s research questions.

Here are two of, Björn Lindblom’s four examples:

Ape skill

Human skill

Group activity


Social learning

Instructed learning

Prof. Lindblom referred to social brain hypothesis by asking: “How do we interpret babbling?” He pointed out that jaw oscillations while vocalizing are a fundamental building block of languages’ syllabic structure and he illustrated the basic nature of jaw movements with a short video of an 18-week old foetus showing jaw oscillations.

It was incredibly inspiring to follow along with Björn Lindblom as he discussed the challenges in biology and speech science!

Prof. Lindblom finished his presentation wishing us all “Many happy Eureka moments!” We definitely share his enthusiasm and belief that systematic fundamental research will lead to rewarding Eureka insights on “Situated Interaction” 😉 Click here for a sample of prof. Lindblom’s publications

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InterSpeech 2017 plenary sessions are available on Youtube.

After keynote session and a short coffee break, we will head for the last phase of oral, poster and special sessions, Show & Tell and exhibitions! Since this is our last day, the sessions will end at 15.30. We hope that you have discussed and developed new insights in speaker & language identifications, speech recognition, coding and enhancements, phonology and phonetics and all the other areas. We also hope that you managed to participate in the Open Doors Event, where students (and not only them) have had a cool opportunity to meet with representatives of different Stockholm’s companies. Together, students, researchers and companies could discuss the main trends in industry and job and collaboration opportunities with the potential of leading to exciting professional careers. An excellent event, was not it? 😊

We hope that you have enjoyed InterSpeech 2017!

Coming soon: interviews with keynote speakers!


By Tatiana Volkova of Stockholm University.

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