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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)
We conducted a large-scale corpus analysis indicating that pronominal object relative clauses are significantly more frequent than pronominal subject relative clauses when the embedded pronoun is personal. This difference was reversed when impersonal pronouns constituted the embedded noun phrase. This pattern of distribution provides a suitable framework(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)
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)
Language comprehension in humans is significantly constrained by memory, yet rapid, highly incremental, and capable of utilizing a wide range of contextual information to resolve ambiguity and form expectations about future input. In contrast, most of the leading psycholinguistic models and fielded algorithms for natural language parsing are(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)
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)
The development of neural network models has greatly enhanced the comprehension of cognitive phenomena. Here, we show that models using multiplicative processing of inputs are both powerful and simple to train and understand. We believe they are valuable tools for cognitive explorations. Our model can be viewed as a subclass of networks built on sigma-pi(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)
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)