Language Learning From Positive Evidence, Reconsidered: A Simplicity-Based Approach

Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):35-55 (2013)

Abstract

Children learn their native language by exposure to their linguistic and communicative environment, but apparently without requiring that their mistakes be corrected. Such learning from “positive evidence” has been viewed as raising “logical” problems for language acquisition. In particular, without correction, how is the child to recover from conjecturing an over-general grammar, which will be consistent with any sentence that the child hears? There have been many proposals concerning how this “logical problem” can be dissolved. In this study, we review recent formal results showing that the learner has sufficient data to learn successfully from positive evidence, if it favors the simplest encoding of the linguistic input. Results include the learnability of linguistic prediction, grammaticality judgments, language production, and form-meaning mappings. The simplicity approach can also be “scaled down” to analyze the learnability of specific linguistic constructions, and it is amenable to empirical testing as a framework for describing human language acquisition

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,879

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-03-01

Downloads
98 (#122,556)

6 months
1 (#386,016)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Rules and Representations.Noam A. Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.
Rules and Representations.Noam Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (1):1-15.
Natural Language and Natural Selection.Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):707-27.

View all 42 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Complexity in Language Acquisition.Alexander Clark & Shalom Lappin - 2013 - Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):89-110.
Which Came First: Infants Learning Language or Motherese?Heather Bortfeld - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):505-506.
Grammar as a Developmental Phenomenon.Guy Dove - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637.