Lexical distributional cues, but not situational cues, are readily used tolearn abstract locative verb-structure associations



Twomey, Katherine E, Chang, Franklin ORCID: 0000-0003-1142-1911 and Ambridge, Ben ORCID: 0000-0003-2389-8477
(2016) Lexical distributional cues, but not situational cues, are readily used tolearn abstract locative verb-structure associations. Cognition, 153. 124 - 139.

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Abstract

Children must learn the structural biases of locative verbs in order to avoid making overgeneralisation errors (e.g., (∗)I filled water into the glass). It is thought that they use linguistic and situational information to learn verb classes that encode structural biases. In addition to situational cues, we examined whether children and adults could use the lexical distribution of nouns in the post-verbal noun phrase of transitive utterances to assign novel verbs to locative classes. In Experiment 1, children and adults used lexical distributional cues to assign verb classes, but were unable to use situational cues appropriately. In Experiment 2, adults generalised distributionally-learned classes to novel verb arguments, demonstrating that distributional information can cue abstract verb classes. Taken together, these studies show that human language learners can use a lexical distributional mechanism that is similar to that used by computational linguistic systems that use large unlabelled corpora to learn verb meaning.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lexical distributional learning, Language acquisition, Syntax acquisition, Verb semantics, Verb classes
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 09:06
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 08:28
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.001
Open Access URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3001254