Empiricism and Language Learnability

Paperback | August 9, 2015

byNick Chater, Alexander Clark, John A. Goldsmith

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This interdisciplinary new work explores one of the central theoretical problems in linguistics: learnability. The authors, from different backgrounds---linguistics, philosophy, computer science, psychology and cognitive science-explore the idea that language acquisition proceeds throughgeneral purpose learning mechanisms, an approach that is broadly empiricist both methodologically and psychologically. For many years, the empiricist approach has been taken to be unfeasible on practical and theoretical grounds. In the book, the authors present a variety of precisely specified mathematical and computational results that show that empiricist approaches can form a viable solution to the problem oflanguage acquisition. It assumes limited technical background and explains the fundamental principles of probability, grammatical description and learning theory in an accessible and non-technical way. Different chapters address the problem of language acquisition using different assumptions:looking at the methodology of linguistic analysis using simplicity based criteria, using computational experiments on real corpora, using theoretical analysis using probabilistic learning theory, and looking at the computational problems involved in learning richly structured grammars.Written by four researchers in the full range of relevant fields: linguistics (John Goldsmith), psychology (Nick Chater), computer science (Alex Clark), and cognitive science (Amy Perfors), the book sheds light on the central problems of learnability and language, and traces their implications forkey questions of theoretical linguistics and the study of language acquisition.

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This interdisciplinary new work explores one of the central theoretical problems in linguistics: learnability. The authors, from different backgrounds---linguistics, philosophy, computer science, psychology and cognitive science-explore the idea that language acquisition proceeds throughgeneral purpose learning mechanisms, an approach ...

Nick Chater is Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, after previously holding chairs in psychology at Warwick and UCL. He has over 200 publications, has won four national awards for psychological research, and has served as Associate Editor for the journals Cognitive Science, Psychological Review, and Psychologic...

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Kobo ebook|Mar 18 2016

$40.49 online$52.48list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.02 × 0.58 inPublished:August 9, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198734263

ISBN - 13:9780198734260

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Computational Approaches to Induction3. Towards a New Empiricism for Linguistics4. Distributional Learning of Syntax5. A Simplicity Principle6. Learnability in Practice7. The Empiricist TurnBibliography