PP-2008-23: From Exemplar to Grammar: Integrating Analogy and Probability in Language Learning

PP-2008-23: Bod, Rens (2008) From Exemplar to Grammar: Integrating Analogy and Probability in Language Learning. [Report]

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We present a new model of language learning which is based on the following idea: if a language learner does not know which phrase-structure trees should be assigned to initial sentences, s/he allows (implicitly) for all possible trees and lets linguistic experience decide which is the 'best' tree for each sentence. The best tree is obtained by maximizing 'structural analogy' between a sentence and previous sentences, which is formalized by the most probable shortest combination of subtrees from all trees of previous sentences. Corpus-based experiments with this model on the Penn Treebank and the Childes database indicate that it can learn both exemplar-based and rulebased aspects of language, ranging from phrasal verbs to auxiliary fronting. By having learned the syntactic structures of sentences, we have also learned the grammar implicit in these structures, which can in turn be used to produce new sentences. We show that our model mimicks children's language development from item-based constructions to abstract constructions, and that the model can simulate some of the errors made by children in producing complex questions.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: PP-2008-23
Series Name: Prepublication (PP) Series
Year: 2008
Uncontrolled Keywords: U-DOP; language acquisition
Subjects: Language
Depositing User: Rens Bod
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/297

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