LIGN 170 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Infinite Loop, Hot Chocolate, Lexical Decision Task

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Learning Sentence Structure
Recursion
Seen in syntax
Nestling elements of the same kind within other constituents in potentially infinite
manner
Infinite loop
Example: I went to the party in the movie in the restaurant
Not unique to syntax
Chomsky: recursion is unique to syntax
There are cases of recursion in nature
Fractal cabbage
Slerpinski gasket
German hot chocolate advertisement
Ambiguity
Syntactic ambiguities
Example: the children are ready to eat
Example: he offered the dog meat
Bootstrapping
Kids need to learn…
Syntactic categories and rules
Example: nouns and constituency
Semantic categories and rules
Example: patients and agents
Kids are great at…
Mutual exclusivity
Category formation
Pattern analysis
Results in…
Semantic bootstrapping
Syntactic bootstrapping
Example: “Bunny is gorping the duck”
Image 1: bunny is pulling the duck around
Image 2: duck is pulling bunny around
Kids assume image 1
Semantics were strapped onto unknown syntactic components
Word Recognition
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