ERIC Number: ED267419
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct
Reference Count: 0
On Learning the Past Tenses of English Verbs.
Rumelhart, David E.; McClelland, James L.
An alternative to the standard "rule based" account of a child's acquisition of the past tense in English is presented in this paper. While the rule based assumption suggests that children typically pass through a three-phase acquisition process in which they first learn past tense by rote, then learn the past tense rule and overregularize, and then finally learn the exceptions to the rule, this paper argues that the acquisition data can be accounted for in more detail by dispensing with the assumption and substituting in its place a simple homogeneous learning procedure. The paper shows how "rule-like" behavior can emerge from the interactions among a network of units encoding the root form to past tense mapping. The paper concludes with the observation that a large computer simulation of the learning process demonstrates the operating rules of this alternative account, shows how details of the acquisition process not captured by the rule account emerge, and makes predictions about other details of the acquisition process not yet observed. A description of a binding network for converting the computer representation to a phonological representation is appended. (Author/HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA. Dept. of Psychology.; California Univ., San Diego, La Jolla. Inst. for Cognitive Science.