Monday, January 17, 2011

Seminar Series starts up again

Yvan Rose (Department of Linguistics) and Todd Wareham (Department of Computer Science) will be speaking on the topic of phonological acquisition. Please see the abstract below. All are welcome to attend!

February 11, 2011
Location: TBA

Pushing the Envelope:
Are Analogy-Based Approaches to Phonological Acquisition Viable?

When learning a language, children must first learn the phonological categories (e.g. sound and syllable types) particular to that language. Even though such learning appears to exploit statistical regularities in language input (e.g. Kuhl 2004), this seems at odds with a growing body of evidence that the later stages of phonological acquisition are performed at a more symbolic level (e.g. Thiessen & Saffran 2003). One way of dealing with this problem is to assume that acquisition occurs by progressive and incremental generalizations over linguistic inputs. Such a model phrased within Dedre Gentner's structure-mapping theory of analogy-based generalization has been shown to be consistent with the later acquisition of individual words, syntax, and relational categories.

This suggests two important questions:

1) Can such a (possibly modified) model work for phonological acquisition?

2) How might such a model be tested?

In this talk, we will give some preliminary answers and further thoughts on these questions.

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