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Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Academic Paper

Title: 'Modeling the contribution of phonotactic cues to the problem of word segmentation'
Author: DanielBlanchard
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Homepage: ''
Institution: 'University of Delaware'
Author: JeffreyN.Heinz
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Homepage: ''
Institution: 'University of Delaware'
Author: RobertaMichnickGolinkoff
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Homepage: ''
Institution: 'University of Delaware'
Linguistic Field: 'Computational Linguistics; Language Acquisition'
Abstract: How do infants find the words in the speech stream? Computational models help us understand this feat by revealing the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies that infants might use. Here, we outline a computational model of word segmentation that aims both to incorporate cues proposed by language acquisition researchers and to establish the contributions different cues can make to word segmentation. We present experimental results from modified versions of Venkataraman's () segmentation model that examine the utility of: (1) language-universal phonotactic cues; (2) language-specific phonotactic cues which must be learned while segmenting utterances; and (3) their combination. We show that the language-specific cue improves segmentation performance overall, but the language-universal phonotactic cue does not, and that their combination results in the most improvement. Not only does this suggest that language-specific constraints can be learned simultaneously with speech segmentation, but it is also consistent with experimental research that shows that there are multiple phonotactic cues helpful to segmentation (e.g. Mattys, Jusczyk, Luce & Morgan, ; Mattys & Jusczyk, ). This result also compares favorably to other segmentation models (e.g. Brent, ; Fleck, ; Goldwater, ; Johnson & Goldwater, ; Venkataraman, ) and has implications for how infants learn to segment.


This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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