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Academic Paper


Title: Learning Lexical Indexation
Author: Andries W. Coetzee
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~coetzee
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Morphological concatenation often triggers phonological processes. For instance, addition of the plural suffix /-ən/ to Dutch nouns causes vowel lengthening in some nouns due to the stress-to-weight principle ([xɑt] vs. [ˈxaː.tən] ‘hole’). These kinds of processes often apply only to a subset of words – not all Dutch nouns undergo this process ([kɑt] vs. [ˈkɑ.tən] ‘cat’). Nouns need to be lexically indexed as either undergoing this process or not. I investigate how phonological grammar and lexical indexation are learned when learners are confronted with data like these. Based on learnability considerations, I hypothesise that learners acquire a grammar with default non-alternation, so that novel items are treated as non-alternating. I report the results of artificial language learning experiments compatible with this hypothesis, and model these results in a version of the Biased Constraint Demotion algorithm (Prince & Tesar ).

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 26, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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