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The poverty of stimulus argument is one of the most controversial arguments in the study of language acquisition. Here we follow previous approaches challenging the assumption of impoverished primary linguistic data, focusing on the specific problem of auxiliary (AUX) fronting in complex polar interrogatives. We develop a series of corpus analyses of(More)
The regularization of linguistic structures by learners has played a key role in arguments for strong innate constraints on language acquisition, and has important implications for language evolution. However, relating the inductive biases of learners to regularization behavior in laboratory tasks can be challenging without a formal model. In this paper we(More)
Language acquisition and processing are governed by genetic constraints. A crucial unresolved question is how far these genetic constraints have coevolved with language, perhaps resulting in a highly specialized and species-specific language "module," and how much language acquisition and processing redeploy preexisting cognitive machinery. In the present(More)
Visual search based on a conjunction of two features typically elicits reaction times that increase linearly as a function of the number of distractors, whereas search based on a single feature is essentially unaffected by set size. These and related findings have often been interpreted as evidence of a serial search stage that follows a parallel search(More)
Scientists studying how languages change over time often make an analogy between biological and cultural evolution, with words or grammars behaving like traits subject to natural selection. Recent work has exploited this analogy by using models of biological evolution to explain the properties of languages and other cultural artefacts. However, the(More)
Recent work in developmental psycholinguistics suggests that children may bootstrap grammatical categories and basic syntactic structure by exploiting distributional, phonological, and prosodic cues. Previous connectionist work has indicated that multiple-cue integration is computationally feasible for small artificial languages. In this paper, we present a(More)
We present experimental support for the view that fine-grained statistical information may play a crucial role in the processing of centre-embedded linguistic structure. Using both offline and online methods, we show that the processing of pronominal object-relative clauses is influenced by the frequency of co-occurrence of the word combinations (chunks)(More)
There is considerable variation across the languages of the world, nonetheless it is possible to discern common patterns in how languages are structured and used. The underlying source of this variation as well as the nature of crosslinguistic universals is the focus of much debate across different areas of linguistics. Some linguists suggest that language(More)
Although there may be no true language universals, it is nonetheless possible to discern several family resemblance patterns across the languages of the world. Recent work on the cultural evolution of language indicates the source of these patterns is unlikely to be an innate universal grammar evolved through biological adaptations for arbitrary linguistic(More)
It has been observed that languages with huge numbers of speakers tend to be structurally simple while small communities can sometimes develop languages with great structural complexity. Paradoxically, an apparent opposite pattern appears to be observed in relation to non-structural properties of language such as number of content words. These apparent(More)