The ability to combine words into novel sentences has been used to argue that humans have symbolic language production abilities. Critiques of connectionist models of language often center on the inability of these models to generalize symbolically (Fodor & Pylyshyn, 1988; Marcus, 1998). To address these issues, a connectionist model of sentence production was developed. The model had variables (role‐concept bindings) that were inspired by spatial representations (Landau & Jackendoff, 1993). In order to take advantage of these variables, a novel (...) dual‐pathway architecture with event semantics is proposed and shown to be better at symbolic generalization than several variants. This architecture has one pathway for mapping message content to words and a separate pathway that enforces sequencing constraints. Analysis of the model's hidden units demonstrated that the model learned different types of information in each pathway, and that the model's compositional behavior arose from the combination of these two pathways. The model's ability to balance symbolic and statistical behavior in syntax acquisition and to model aphasic double dissociations provided independent support for the dual‐pathway architecture. (shrink)
Lexicalized theories of syntax often assume that verb-structure regularities are mediated by lemmas, which abstract over variation in verb tense and aspect. German syntax seems to challenge this assumption, because verb position depends on tense and aspect. To examine how German speakers link these elements, a structural priming study was performed which varied syntactic structure, verb position, and verb overlap.structural priming was found, both within and across verb position, but priming was larger when the verb position was the same between (...) prime and target. Priming was boosted by verb overlap, but there was no interaction with verb position. The results can be explained by a lemma model where tense and aspect are linked to structural choices in German. Since the architecture of this lemma model is not consistent with results from English, a connectionist model was developed which could explain the cross-linguistic variation in the production system. Together, these findings support the view that language learning plays an important role in determining the nature of structural priming in different languages. (shrink)
Theories of language production have long been expressed as connectionist models. We outline the issues and challenges that must be addressed by connectionist models of lexical access and grammatical encoding, and review three recent models. The models illustrate the value of an interactive activation approach to lexical access in production, the need for sequential output in both phonological and grammatical encoding, and the potential for accounting for structural effects on errors and structural priming from learning.
Language learning requires linguistic input, but several studies have found that knowledge of second language rules does not seem to improve with more language exposure. One reason for this is that previous studies did not factor out variation due to the different rules tested. To examine this issue, we reanalyzed grammaticality judgment scores in Flege, Yeni-Komshian, and Liu's study of L2 learners using rule-related predictors and found that, in addition to the overall drop in performance due to a sensitive period, (...) L2 knowledge increased with years of input. Knowledge of different grammar rules was negatively associated with input frequency of those rules. To better understand these effects, we modeled the results using a connectionist model that was trained using Korean as a first language and then English as an L2. To explain the sensitive period in L2 learning, the model's learning rate was reduced in an age-related manner. By assigning different learning rates for syntax and lexical learning, we were able to model the difference between early and late L2 learners in input sensitivity. The model's learning mechanism allowed transfer between the L1 and L2, and this helped to explain the differences between different rules in the grammaticality judgment task. This work demonstrates that an L1 model of learning and processing can be adapted to provide an explicit account of how the input and the sensitive period interact in L2 learning. (shrink)
Both children and adults predict the content of upcoming language, suggesting that prediction is useful for learning as well as processing. We present an alternative model which can explain prediction behaviour as a by-product of language learning. We suggest that a consideration of language acquisition places important constraints on Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) theory.
Tense/aspect morphology on verbs is often thought to depend on event features like telicity, but it is not known how speakers identify these features in visual scenes. To examine this question, we asked Japanese speakers to describe computer‐generated animations of simple actions with variation in visual features related to telicity. Experiments with adults and children found that they could use goal information in the animations to select appropriate past and progressive verb forms. They also produced a large number of different (...) verb forms. To explain these findings, a deep‐learning model of verb production from visual input was created that could produce a human‐like distribution of verb forms. It was able to use visual cues to select appropriate tense/aspect morphology. The model predicted that video duration would be related to verb complexity, and past tense production would increase when it received the endpoint as input. These predictions were confirmed in a third study with Japanese adults. This work suggests that verb production could be tightly linked to visual heuristics that support the understanding of events. (shrink)