The University of Hertfordshire announced on 20th June 2012 that “Robots can develop basic language skills through interaction with a human, according to new results from researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and published in PLoS ONE “
“Dr Caroline Lyon, Professor Chrystopher Nehaniv and Dr Joe Saunders have carried out experiments as part of the iTalk project with the childlike iCub humanoid robot to show how language learning emerges. Initially the robot can only babble and perceives speech as a string of sounds, not divided up into words. After engaging in a few minutes of “conversation” with humans, in which the participants were instructed to speak to the robot as if it were a small child, the robot adapted its output to the most frequently heard syllables to produce some word forms such as the names of simple shapes and colours.”
The full article can be read here.