Livre: Alishahi, Computational Modeling of Human Language Acquisition

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Fri Aug 12 18:51:13 UTC 2011

Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 11:34:05 -0400
From: Graeme Hirst <gh at>
Message-Id: <CAF1EEC0-67B7-4FD9-A1ED-07824AED973F at>


Computational Modeling of Human Language Acquisition

Afra Alishahi (University of the Saarland)

Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies #11 (Morgan & Claypool
Publishers), 2010, 107 pages

Human language acquisition has been studied for centuries, but using
computational modeling for such studies is a relatively recent
trend. However, computational approaches to language learning have
become increasingly popular, mainly due to advances in developing
machine learning techniques, and the availability of vast collections of
experimental data on child language learning and child-adult
interaction. Many of the existing computational models attempt to study
the complex task of learning a language under cognitive plausibility
criteria (such as memory and processing limitations that humans face),
and to explain the developmental stages observed in children. By
simulating the process of child language learning, computational models
can show us which linguistic representations are learnable from the
input that children have access to, and which mechanisms yield the same
patterns of behaviour that children exhibit during this process. In
doing so, computational modeling provides insight into the plausible
mechanisms involved in human language acquisition, and inspires the
development of better language models and techniques. This book provides
an overview of the main research questions in the field of human
language acquisition. It reviews the most commonly used computational
frameworks, methodologies and resources for modeling child language
learning, and the evaluation techniques used for assessing these
computational models. The book is aimed at cognitive scientists who want
to become familiar with the available computational methods for
investigating problems related to human language acquisition, as well as
computational linguists who are interested in applying their skills to
the study of child language acquisition.

Different aspects of language learning are discussed in separate
chapters, including the acquisition of the individual words, the general
regularities which govern word and sentence form, and the associations
between form and meaning. For each of these aspects, the challenges of
the task are discussed and the relevant empirical findings on children
are summarized. Furthermore, the existing computational models that
attempt to simulate the task under study are reviewed, and a number of
case studies are presented.

Table of Contents: Overview / Computational Models of Language Learning
/ Learning Words / Putting Words Together / Form--Meaning Associations /
Final Thoughts

This title is available online without charge to members of institutions
that have licensed the Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and
Computer Science.  Members of licensing institutions have unlimited
access to download, save, and print the PDF without restriction; use of
the book as a course text is encouraged.  To find out whether your
institution is a subscriber, visit, or just click on the book's
URL above from an institutional IP address and attempt to download the
PDF.  Others may purchase the book from this URL as a PDF download for
US$30 or in print for US$40.  Printed copies are also available from
Amazon and from booksellers worldwide at approximately US$40 or local
currency equivalent.

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