1989 :: JOURNAL
Lingua 77(2):187-222, 1989
Most linguistic theories assume lexicon entries which incorporate the idea of the Saussurean sign, a bidirectional mapping between a phonological form and some representation of a concept. This Sign, like grammars generally, is unbiased with respect to perception or production, ...MORE ⇓
Most linguistic theories assume lexicon entries which incorporate the idea of the Saussurean sign, a bidirectional mapping between a phonological form and some representation of a concept. This Sign, like grammars generally, is unbiased with respect to perception or production, and provides part of the cognitive map which speakers use both in speaking and in interpreting the utterances of others. This bidirectionality of the Sign, or code, is a design feature of human language although workable communication does not necessarily incorporate such a feature.
Part of the Language Acquisition Device is a mechanism which mentally constructs such a bidirectional mapping, on the basis of observed samples of communicative behaviour (transmission and reception). This basic aspect of the LAD presumably evolved because of its superiority over other conceivable mechanisms for acquiring a basis for communicative behaviour from a sampling of observed transmission and reception data.
Three conceivable strategies for acquiring the basis of communicative behaviour, here labelled the Imitator, Calculator, and Saussurean strategies, are defined as functions from samplings of observed behaviour to acquired behaviour patterns. Essentially, the Imitator imitates the transmission and reception patterns in the observed sample; the Calculator constructs optimal reception responses to the transmissions in the observed sample and optimal transmission responses to receptions in the observed sample; the Saussurean imitates the transmission behaviour in the sample, but shapes his reception behaviour to mirror the acquired transmission behaviour, thus internalizing the equivalent of a set of bidirectional Saussurean signs. Extensive simulations of populations endowed with these innate strategies show the Saussurean strategy to be a winner in evolutionary terms; it produces individuals who communicate more successfully than individuals endowed with the other two strategies.
Journal of Artificial Intelligence
Journal of Artificial Intelligence 40:11-61, 1989
Abstract Given a set of observations, humans acquire concepts that organize those observations and use them in classifying future experiences. This type of concept formation can occur in the absence of a tutor and it can take place despite irrelevant and incomplete ...
Language Variation and Change
Reflexes of grammar in patterns of language changePDF
Language Variation and Change 1:199-244, 1989
ABSTRACT When one form replaces another over time in a changing language, the new form does not occur equally often in all linguistic contexts. Linguists have generally assumed that those contexts in which the new form is more common are those in which the form first ...
1989 :: BOOK
Learnability and Cognition: The acquisition of Argument Structure
Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989
Abstract 1. This book is about a paradox in language acquisition. The paradox begins with a small linguistic puzzle: Why does" He gave them a book" sound natural, but" He donated them a book" sound odd? It is complicated by a fact about children's environment—that ...