We presented the results of our artificial language learning study on the use of case-marking and word order as cues in processing and learning at the LSA annual meeting. This is work done with Florian Jaeger and Elissa Newport. We investigated whether functional pressures (e.g., ambiguity reduction) operate during language acquisition, biasing learners to (subtly) deviate from the input they receive. Our results suggest that language learners indeed have a bias to reduce uncertainty (or ambiguity) in the input language: The learners are more likely to fix the word order if a language does not have case. See the image below for the details of the study or download the poster as a pdf here. Feedback welcome!
Update 11/29/11: This work was published in the 2011 CogSci Proceedings as
- Fedzechkina, M., Jaeger, T. F., and Newport, E. L. 2011. Functional Biases in Language Learning: Evidence from Word Order and Case-Marking Interaction. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci11), 318-323.