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This paper reconsiders the diphone-based word segmentation model of Cairns, Shillcock, Chater, and Levy (1997) and Hockema (2006), previously thought to be unlearnable. A statistically principled learning model is developed using Bayes' theorem and reasonable assumptions about infants' implicit knowledge. The ability to recover phrase-medial word boundaries(More)
Sonority projection refers to behavioral distinctions speakers make between unattested phonological sequences on the basis of sonority.). We begin by replicating the sonority projection effects in a nonword acceptability study. Then we evaluate the extent to which sonority projection is predicted by existing computational models of phonotactics (Coleman &(More)
Phonological grammars characterize distinctions between relatively well-formed (unmarked) and relatively ill-formed (marked) phonological structures. We review evidence that markedness influences speech error probabilities. Specifically, although errors result in both unmarked as well as marked structures, there is a markedness asymmetry: errors are more(More)
ABSTRACT What are the sources of variation in the input, and how much do they matter for language acquisition? This study examines frequency variation in manner-of-articulation classes in child and adult input. The null hypothesis is that segmental frequency distributions of language varieties are unigram (modelable by stationary, ergodic processes), and(More)
A number of Russian verbs lack 1sg non-past forms. These paradigmatic gaps are puzzling because they seemingly contradict the highly productive nature of inflectional systems. We model the persistence and spread of Russian gaps via a multi-agent model with Bayesian learning. We ran three simulations: no grammar learning, learning with arbitrary analogical(More)
A common view in the phonological literature is that phonological alternations typically involve markedness reduction; that is, deviation from an input is basically characterized as a repair of a marked structure. Under the most extreme version of phonological theory, every output constraint is simply a reflection of a markedness hierarchy, meaning that all(More)
Linguistic norms emerge in human communities because people imitate each other. A shared linguistic system provides people with the benefits of shared knowledge and coordinated planning. Once norms are in place, why would they ever change? This question, echoing broad questions in the theory of social dynamics, has particular force in relation to language.(More)