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ERIC Number: EJ1067959
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Computational Modeling for Language Acquisition: A Tutorial with Syntactic Islands
Pearl, Lisa S.; Sprouse, Jon
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v58 n3 p740-753 Jun 2015
Purpose: Given the growing prominence of computational modeling in the acquisition research community, we present a tutorial on how to use computational modeling to investigate learning strategies that underlie the acquisition process. This is useful for understanding both typical and atypical linguistic development. Method: We provide a general overview of why modeling can be a particularly informative tool and some general considerations when creating a computational acquisition model. We then review a concrete example of a computational acquisition model for complex structural knowledge referred to as "syntactic islands." This includes an overview of syntactic islands knowledge, a precise definition of the acquisition task being modeled, the modeling results, and how to meaningfully interpret those results in a way that is relevant for questions about knowledge representation and the learning process. Conclusions: Computational modeling is a powerful tool that can be used to understand linguistic development. The general approach presented here can be used to investigate any acquisition task and any learning strategy, provided both are precisely defined.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 800-638-8255; Fax: 301-571-0457; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS-0843896; BCS-134702