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COGNITIVE SCIENCE Vol 23 (4) 1999, pp. 569588 ISSN 0364-0213 Copyright 1999 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
 

Summary: COGNITIVE SCIENCE Vol 23 (4) 1999, pp. 569≠588 ISSN 0364-0213
Copyright © 1999 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
A Probabilistic Constraints Approach to
Language Acquisition and Processing
MARK S. SEIDENBERG
MARYELLEN C. MACDONALD
University of Southern California
This article provides an overview of a probabilistic constraints framework for
thinking about language acquisition and processing. The generative ap-
proach attempts to characterize knowledge of language (i.e., competence
grammar) and then asks how this knowledge is acquired and used. Our
approach is performance oriented: the goal is to explain how people com-
prehend and produce utterances and how children acquire this skill. Use of
language involves exploiting multiple probabilistic constraints over various
types of linguistic and nonlinguistic information. Acquisition is the process
of accumulating this information, which begins in infancy. The constraint
satisfaction processes that are central to language use are the same as the
bootstrapping processes that provide entry to language for the child. Fram-
ing questions about acquisition in terms of models of adult performance
unifies the two topics under a set of common principles and has important

  

Source: Alishahi, Afra - Department of Computational Linguistics and Phonetics, Universitšt des Saarlandes

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences