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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: Words in puddles of sound: modelling psycholinguistic effects in speech segmentation
Author: Padraic Monaghan
Institution: University of York
Author: Morten H Christiansen
Institution: Cornell University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: There are numerous models of how speech segmentation may proceed in infants acquiring their first language. We present a framework for considering the relative merits and limitations of these various approaches. We then present a model of speech segmentation that aims to reveal important sources of information for speech segmentation, and to capture psycholinguistic constraints on children's language perception. The model constructs a lexicon based on information about utterance boundaries and deduces phonotactic constraints from the discovered lexicon. Compared to other models of speech segmentation, our model performs well in terms of accuracy, computational tractability and the number of components of the model. Finally, our model also reflects the psycholinguistic effects of language learning, in terms of the early advantage for segmentation provided by the child's name, and by revealing the overlap in usefulness of information for segmentation and for grammatical categorization of the language.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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