Learnability in Optimality Theory

Learnability in Optimality Theory

ISBN-10:
0262201267
ISBN-13:
9780262201261
Pub. Date:
05/08/2000
Publisher:
MIT Press

Hardcover

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Overview

Learnability in Optimality Theory

Highlighting the close relationship between linguistic explanation and learnability, Bruce Tesar and Paul Smolensky examine the implications of Optimality Theory (OT) for language learnability.

Highlighting the close relationship between linguistic explanation and learnability, Bruce Tesar and Paul Smolensky examine the implications of Optimality Theory (OT) for language learnability. They show how the core principles of OT lead to the learning principle of constraint demotion, the basis for a family of algorithms that infer constraint rankings from linguistic forms.

Of primary concern to the authors are the ambiguity of the data received by the learner and the resulting interdependence of the core grammar and the structural analysis of overt linguistic forms. The authors argue that iterative approaches to interdependencies, inspired by work in statistical learning theory, can be successfully adapted to address the interdependencies of language learning. Both OT and Constraint Demotion play critical roles in their adaptation. The authors support their findings both formally and through simulations. They also illustrate how their approach could be extended to other language learning issues, including subset relations and the learning of phonological underlying forms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262201261
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 05/08/2000
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 148
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Bruce Tesar is Professor in the Department of Linguistics/Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University.

Paul Smolensky is Professor of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University. He was a leading member of the PDP connectionist research group, and is the recipient of the 2005 David E. Rumelhart Prize in Cognitive Science, which is awarded annually to an individual or collaborative team making a significant contribution to the formal analysis of human cognition.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Language Learning
1.1 What This Books Is About
1.2 Learnability and Universal Grammar
1.3 Decomposing the Learning Problem
1.4 Outline of the Book
2 An Overview of Optimality Theory
2.1 Constraints and Their Violation
2.2 Optimality and Harmonic Ordering
2.3 The Grammar Learning Problem
3 Constraint Demotion
3.1 The Principle of Constraint Demotion
3.2 Analysis of Constraint Demotion
3.3 ErrorDriven Constraint Demotion
4 Overcoming Ambiguity in Overt Forms
4.1 An Optimality Theoretic System of Stress Grammars
4.2 Robust Interpretive Parsing
4.3 The RIP/CD Learning Procedure
4.4 Getting Stuck: How RIP/CD Can Fail
4.5 Simulation Results: Metrical Stress
4.6 Discussion
5 Issues in Language Learning
5.1 The Subset Principle, Richness of the Base, and Acquisition
Theory
5.2 Learning Underlying Forms
6 Learnability and Linguistic Theory
6.1 Parametric Independence and Linguistic Explanation
6.2 Summary
7 Correctness and Data Complexity of Constraint
Demotion
7.1 Stratified Hierarchies
7.2 The Target Stratified Hierarchy
7.3 Constraint Demotion
7.4 Extension to Arbitrary Initial Hierarchies
7.5 ErrorDriven Constraint Demotion
7.6 Recursive Constraint Demotion
8 ProductionDirected Parsing
8.1 The Parsing Problem in Optimality Theory
8.2 Formalizing CVT
8.3 Parsing with CVT
8.4 A Sample Parse
8.5 Interpretive Parsing
8.6 Discussion
8.7 The Rest of the Operations Set
Notes
References
Index

What People are Saying About This

Alan Price

In Tesar and Smolensky's groundbreaking work, grammar learning is tied intimately and inextricably to the core principles of the underlying linguistic theory. Their success in this ambitious project is a beacon to all those who see learning as a central link between generative grammar and its interpretation as cognitive science.

John J. McCarthy

Tesar and Smolensky have done something remarkable here: they've managed to address an important topic in a way that's both formally rigorous and wonderfully accessible.

Stefano Bertolo

This work represents what is arguably the most clear-minded and far-reaching current research program on the applications of formal learning theory to the problem of language acquisition.

Endorsement

In Tesar and Smolensky's groundbreaking work, grammar learning is tied intimately and inextricably to the core principles of the underlying linguistic theory. Their success in this ambitious project is a beacon to all those who see learning as a central link between generative grammar and its interpretation as cognitive science.

Alan Price, Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

From the Publisher

"This work represents what is arguably the most clear-minded and far-reaching current research program on the applications of formal learning theory to the problem of language acquisition." Stefano Bertolo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bruce Hayes

In this work, Tesar and Smolensky fruitfully extend their research program in Optimality-Theoretic learning theory to the crucial problem of learning 'hidden' structure: linguistic entities, such as foot structure and underlying representations, which cannot be directly detected in the learning data. This thoughful and novel work is strongly recommended to scholars in learnability theory, as well as to anyone with an interest in Optimality Theory.

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