Input and Intake in Language Acquisition

Ann C. Gagliardi

This dissertation presents an approach for a productive way forward in the study of language acquisition, sealing the rift between claims of an innate linguistic hypothesis space and powerful domain general statistical inference. This approach breaks language acquisition into its component parts, distinguishing the input in the environment from the intake encoded by the learner, and looking at how a statistical inference mechanism, coupled with a well de ned linguistic hypothesis space could lead a learn to infer the native grammar of their native language. This work draws on experimental work, corpus analyses and computational models of Tsez, Norwegian and English children acquiring word meanings, word classes and syntax to highlight the need for an appropriate encoding of the linguistic input in order to solve any given problem in language acquisition.