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ERIC Number: EJ785755
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 38
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 96
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Lexical Categories at the Edge of the Word
Onnis, Luca; Christiansen, Morten H.
Cognitive Science, v32 n1 p184-221 Jan 2008
Language acquisition may be one of the most difficult tasks that children face during development. They have to segment words from fluent speech, figure out the meanings of these words, and discover the syntactic constraints for joining them together into meaningful sentences. Over the past couple of decades, computational modeling has emerged as a new paradigm for gaining insights into the mechanisms by which children may accomplish these feats. Unfortunately, many of these models assume a computational complexity and linguistic knowledge likely to be beyond the abilities of developing young children. This article shows that, using simple statistical procedures, significant correlations exist between the beginnings and endings of a word and its lexical category in English, Dutch, French, and Japanese. Therefore, phonetic information can contribute to individuating higher level structural properties of these languages. This article also presents a simple 2-layer connectionist model that, once trained with an initial small sample of words labeled for lexical category, can infer the lexical category of a large proportion of novel words using only word-edge phonological information, namely the first and last phoneme of a word. The results suggest that simple procedures combined with phonetic information perceptually available to children provide solid scaffolding for emerging lexical categories in language development. (Contains 7 tables, 8 figures and 6 notes.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A