Gobet, F., & Pine, J. (1997). Modeling the acquisition of syntactic categories. (To appear in the Proceedings of the 19th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society,)



This research represents an attempt to model the child's acquisition of syntactic categories. A computational model, based on the EPAM theory of perception and learning, is developed. The basic assumptions are that (1) syntactic categories are actively constructed by the child using distributional learning abilities; and (2) cognitive constraints in learning rate and memory capacity limit these learning abilities. We present simulations of the syntax acquisition of a single subject, where the model learns to build up multi-word utterances by scanning a sample of the speech addressed to the subject by his mother.