Some Tests of an Unsupervised Model of Language Acquisition

We outline an unsupervised language acquisition algorithm and offer some psycholinguistic support for a model based on it. Our approach resembles the Construction Grammar in its general philosophy, and the Tree Adjoining Grammar in its computational characteristics. The model is trained on a corpus of transcribed child-directed speech (CHILDES). The model’s ability to process novel inputs makes it capable of taking various standard tests of English that rely on forced-choice judgment and on magnitude estimation of linguistic acceptability. We report encouraging results from several such tests, and discuss the limitations revealed by other tests in our present method of dealing with novel stimuli.
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