Statistical learning of complex questions

Fitz, H. (2010). Statistical learning of complex questions. In S. Ohlsson, & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2692-2698). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
The problem of auxiliary fronting in complex polar questions occupies a prominent position within the nature versus nurture controversy in language acquisition. We employ a model of statistical learning which uses sequential and semantic information to produce utterances from a bag of words. This linear learner is capable of generating grammatical questions without exposure to these structures in its training environment. We also demonstrate that the model performs superior to n-gram learners on this task. Implications for nativist theories of language acquisition are discussed.
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