Psych 229: Language Acquisition

Psych 229: Language Acquisition

Psych 56L/ Ling 51: Acquisition of Language Lecture 11 Lexical Development III Announcements Pick up your midterm & HW1 if you havent yet Be working on HW2 (due 2/17/11) - Note: Remember that working in a group can be very beneficial.

What does gavagai mean? Gavagai! What does gavagai mean? Rabbit? Mammal? gray rabbit? Animal? Carrot eater? vegetarian? Ears?

Long ears? Is it gray? Fluffy? What a cutie! Thumping Hopping Scurrying Stay! Look! Meal!

Rabbit only until eaten! Cheeks and left ear! Thats not a dog! Same problem the child faces A little more context Look! Theres a goblin! Goblin = ???? The Mapping Problem

Even if something is explicitly labeled in the input (Look! Theres a goblin!), how does the child know what specifically that word refers to? (Is it the head? The feet? The staff? The combination of eyes and hands? Attached goblin parts?) Quine (1960): An infinite number of hypotheses about word meaning are possible given the input the child has. That is, the input underspecifies the words meaning. So how do children figure it out? Obviously, they do.

One solution: fast mapping Children begin by making an initial fast mapping between a new word they hear and its likely meaning. They guess, and then modify the guess as more input comes in. Experimental evidence of fast mapping (Dollaghan 1985, Mervis & Bertrand 1994) ball bear kitty

[unknown] One solution: fast mapping Children begin by making an initial fast mapping between a new word they hear and its likely meaning. They guess, and then modify the guess as more input comes in. Experimental evidence of fast mapping (Dollaghan 1985, Mervis & Bertrand 1994) ball bear

Can I have the ball? kitty [unknown] One solution: fast mapping Children begin by making an initial fast mapping between a new word they hear and its likely meaning. They guess, and then modify the guess as more input comes in. Experimental evidence of fast mapping

(Dollaghan 1985, Mervis & Bertrand 1994) ball bear Can I have the zib? kitty 20 months [unknown]

Knowing what to guess Lexical constraints Whole-object assumption: new word refers to entire object, rather than some subset of it Goblin = Knowing what to guess Lexical constraints Mutual-exclusivity assumption: assume new word does not overlap in meaning with known word (can be used to

overcome whole-object assumption) Look! You can see the handle! Handle = some part of the cup Known: cup Knowing what to guess Lexical constraints Mutual-exclusivity assumption: assume new word does not

overlap in meaning with known word (can be used to overcome whole-object assumption)not without its own problems Look at the kitty! Hes a siamese! Siamese = ???? Known: kitty Knowing what to guess Social Cues Speakers will look at the novel thing theyre talking about: assume

new word refers to object of speakers gaze (children do this by 18 months Baldwin 1991) Look at the siamese! Siamese = ???? Known as kitty Knowing what to guess Social Cues Speakers will look at the novel thing theyre talking about: assume

new word refers to object of speakers gaze (children do this by 18 months Baldwin 1991) Look at the siamese! Siamese = ???? Known as kitty Knowing what to guess Social Cues Speakers will look at the novel thing theyre talking about: assume

new word refers to object of speakers gaze (children do this by 18 months Baldwin 1991) Look at the siamese! Siamese = ???? Known as kitty Knowing what to guess Social Cues Speakers will look at the novel thing theyre talking about: assume

new word refers to object of speakers gaze (children do this by 18 months Baldwin 1991) Look at the siamese! Siamese = = Known as kitty Knowing what to guess

Clues from the input Speakers generally talk to children about the here and now (Quines problem is not nearly so serious in child-directed speech) Look at the siamese! (Not I just took her to the vet yesterday. Poor things been sick all of last week.) Knowing what to guess

Clues from the input Speakers also sometimes provide explicit correction for meaning, and provide additional information about the words meaning. Can I see the bugs again? Those are goblins, honey, not bugs. Goblins live in the Labyrinth and occasionally take naughty children away.

Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Different grammatical categories (nouns, verb, etc.) tend to have different meanings. Once children have identified some grammatical categories (after ~18 months), they can use the syntactic structure (how words appear together) as a clue to meaning. Those are goblins. goblins = noun nouns = objects

goblins = Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Hes sebbing! seb = verb verb = action seb Brown, 1957

Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Look a seb! seb = noun with a noun = countable object like bowl seb Brown, 1957

Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Look some seb! seb = noun with some noun = mass substance like stuff seb Brown, 1957

Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Find the fep one. Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Find the fep one.

the__ one = adjective adjective = property (like spotted) fep =~ spotted Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Find the fep one. the__ one = adjective adjective = property (like spotted)

fep =~ spotted Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Now find the fep. Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Now find the fep.

the__ = noun noun = object fep =~ new object thats more familiar Knowing what to guess Clues from the syntactic structure Experimental evidence with 4-year-olds (Gelman & Markman 1985) Now find the fep. the__ = noun

noun = object fep =~ new object thats more familiar Knowing what to guess Syntactic Bootstrapping Hypothesis: primarily using the syntactic structure to get to meaning Naigles (1990): 2-yr-olds can use syntactic structure to guess aspects of word meaning, even the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs Transitive: The rabbit is gorping the duck. (expectation: rabbit is doing something to the duck)

Intransitive: The rabbit and the duck are gorping. (expectation: rabbit and duck doing actions separately) Learning Semantic Organization Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Lexical gaps: concepts that have no words associated with them couch hole = gap between couch cushions child has to be careful to avoid when walking across the couch

???? Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Lexical gaps: concepts that have no words associated with them couch hole = gap between couch cushions child has to be careful to avoid when walking across the couch couch hole

Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions Ex: vs. Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available

distinctions Ex: vs. English fingers toes Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one.

Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions Ex: vs. English Spanish fingers toes dedos

Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions Ex: vs. English fingers

toes digits Spanish dedos Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions

Ex: vs. Limb is foot Attached to end of limb Limb is hand Concepts Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available

distinctions Ex: vs. toes Limb is foot Attached to end of limb Limb is hand English fingers

Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions Ex: vs. Limb is foot Attached to end of limb Limb is hand

English digits Words != Concepts Words and concepts do not map one-to-one. Words pick out some, but not all, conceptually available distinctions Ex: vs. Limb is foot Attached to end of limb

Limb is hand Spanish dedos How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) What colors are these?

How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) red yellow green

green blue How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) a blue tray

a chromium tray Note: none of the children knew either the word olive as a color or the word chromium as a property How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978)

Bring me the chromium tray; not the blue one, the chromium one. How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) Children learned to give the olive tray.

How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) 5 weeks later What colors are these? How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language

Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) 5 weeks later red yellow green Via input (contrast with blue), children figured out that

chromium referred to a color the same way that blue does ???? blue I dont know [other previously unused color term like gray]

How the input can help Children can use input to figure out which aspects of meaning are lexicalized in the language Ex: Fastmapping experiment by Carey & Bartlett (1978) 5 weeks later red yellow

green and also that the dark green-ish color had a different name from green ???? blue I dont know

[other previously unused color term like gray] Lexical Development Recap Children have to figure out what concept a word refers to. Not all concepts are picked out by words. Languages tend to differ on which concepts they pick out. Children may have different learning strategies they use when hearing a word for a first time, such as the whole-object assumption and mutual-exclusivity assumption. While these are helpful, they may lead to errors sometimes.

Children may benefit from a number of different sources of information, including social knowledge and knowledge of syntactic structure. Questions? You should be able to do all the questions on HW2 and all the review questions for lexical development.

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