Pinker Chapter 5

Pinker Chapter 5 - Pinker Language Instinct Chapter 5 Words...

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Pinker: Language Instinct Chapter 5: Words, Words, Words Dr. Swathi Vanniarajan Ling 161: Psycholinguistics
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The central thesis of this chapter Pinker talks about one’s knowledge of lexicon in terms of morphology. He argues that knowledge of vocabulary and the morphological processes of word formation are so complex that they cannot be captured by computing machines or by any other neural network models. The reasons are:
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Why machines cannot capture the morphological processes? There is a unique way in which morphology works (it is unpredictable). Machine language works by analogy whereas morphology does not work completely by analogy. Irregular verbs are particularly intriguing.
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The central thesis of this chapter Headless words and head words are another problem area for machines. Compound formation is another tricky matter. Words with multiple meanings. The way children learn and process morphology cannot be replicated by machines.
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Morphology as a psycholinguistic system Like syntax, morphology is a cleverly designed system.
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How does morphology work as a psycholinguistic system? Human language is a discrete combinatorial system at two levels - sentences and phrases are built out of words by the rules of syntax and words are built out of morphemes by another set of rules, the rules of morphology.
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Stress assignment rules are complicated. compounds (housewife, lawsuit, wallpaper are compounds) generally have stress on the first word while phrases on the second. Machines cannot handle stress assignment on their own.
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Compounding nouns are not adjectives though they take the slot reserved for adjectives.
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The scheme for computing the meaning of a stem out of the meaning of its parts is similar to the one used in syntax: one special element is the head, and it determines what the conglomeration refers to.
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LING 161 at San Jose State.

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Pinker Chapter 5 - Pinker Language Instinct Chapter 5 Words...

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