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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: An empirical generative framework for computational modeling of language acquisition
Author: Heidi R Waterfall
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Cornell University
Author: Ben Sandbank
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Author: Luca Onnis
Institution: University of Hawaii
Author: Shimon Edelman
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Cornell University
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: This paper reports progress in developing a computer model of language acquisition in the form of (1) a generative grammar that is (2) algorithmically learnable from realistic corpus data, (3) viable in its large-scale quantitative performance and (4) psychologically real. First, we describe new algorithmic methods for unsupervised learning of generative grammars from raw CHILDES data and give an account of the generative performance of the acquired grammars. Next, we summarize findings from recent longitudinal and experimental work that suggests how certain statistically prominent structural properties of child-directed speech may facilitate language acquisition. We then present a series of new analyses of CHILDES data indicating that the desired properties are indeed present in realistic child-directed speech corpora. Finally, we suggest how our computational results, behavioral findings, and corpus-based insights can be integrated into a next-generation model aimed at meeting the four requirements of our modeling framework.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 3.

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