Probabilistic Linguistics

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Overview

For the past forty years, linguistics has been dominated by the idea that language is categorical and linguistic competence discrete. It has become increasingly clear, however, that many levels of representation, from phonemes to sentence structure, show probabilistic properties, as does the language faculty. Probabilistic linguistics conceptualizes categories as distributions and views knowledge of language not as a minimal set of categorical constraints but as a set of gradient rules that may be characterized by a statistical distribution. Whereas categorical approaches focus on the endpoints of distributions of linguistic phenomena, probabilistic approaches focus on the gradient middle ground. Probabilistic linguistics integrates all the progress made by linguistics thus far with a probabilistic perspective.This book presents a comprehensive introduction to probabilistic approaches to linguistic inquiry. It covers the application of probabilistic techniques to phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, language acquisition, psycholinguistics,
historical linguistics, and sociolinguistics. It also includes a tutorial on elementary probability theory and probabilistic grammars.

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"For over forty years, probabilistic research on language has been banished to the wilderness by categorial theories of linguistics. This book demonstrates decisively that the two approaches can not only live alongside one another in peace, but be of mutual benefit."--Mark
Aronoff, Stony Brook University

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262523387
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 463
  • Sales rank: 1,053,838
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rens Bod is one of the principal architects of the Data-Oriented Parsing (DOP) model, which provides a general framework for probabilistic natural language processing.

Jennifer Hay is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Canterbury.

Stefanie Jannedy works on the development of text-to-speech systems at Lucent
Technologies/Bell Labs

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Table of Contents

Preface
Contributors
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Introduction to Elementary Probability Theory and Formal Stochastic Language Theory 11
Ch. 3 Probabilistic Modeling in Psycholinguistics: Linguistic Comprehension and Production 39
Ch. 4 Probabilistic Sociolinguistics: Beyond Variable Rules 97
Ch. 5 Probability in Language Change 139
Ch. 6 Probabilistic Phonology: Discrimination and Robustness 177
Ch. 7 Probabilistic Approaches to Morphology 229
Ch. 8 Probabilistic Syntax 289
Ch. 9 Probabilistic Approaches to Semantics 343
Glossary of Probabilistic Terms 381
References 389
Name Index 437
Subject Index 445
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