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Academic Paper

Title: Implicational markedness and frequency in constraint-based computational models of phonological learning
Author: Gaja Jarosz
Institution: Yale University
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics; Phonology
Abstract: This study examines the interacting roles of implicational markedness and frequency from the joint perspectives of formal linguistic theory, phonological acquisition and computational modeling. The hypothesis that child grammars are rankings of universal constraints, as in Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky, 1993/), that learning involves a gradual transition from an unmarked initial state to the target grammar, and that order of acquisition is guided by frequency, along the lines of Levelt, Schiller & Levelt (), is investigated. The study reviews empirical findings on syllable structure acquisition in Dutch, German, French and English, and presents novel findings on Polish. These comparisons reveal that, to the extent allowed by implicational markedness universals, frequency covaries with acquisition order across languages. From the computational perspective, the paper shows that interacting roles of markedness and frequency in a class of constraint-based phonological learning models embody this hypothesis, and their predictions are illustrated via computational simulation.


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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