Breiss (2019) – Cumulativity by default in phonotactic learning

Cumulativity by default in phonotactic learning
Canaan Breiss
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August 2019
An ongoing debate in phonology concerns whether the grammar is better characterized by frameworks which use strictly-ranked constraints (such as Optimality Theory, “OT”) or weighted constraints (Harmonic Grammar, “HG”). This paper uses a series of Arti^Lcial Grammar Learning experiments focused on static phonotactics to probe an empirical domain where OT and HG make different empirical predictions: cumulative constraint interactions, also known as “gang effects”. OT does not allow gang effects by default, while HG permits ganging automatically. I show that learners exhibit spontaneously emerging ganging behavior in a poverty-of-the-stimulus environment, providing experimental data supporting weighted-constraint theories of phonological grammar.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004747
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted
keywords: phonotactics, cumulative constraint interaction, gang effects, poverty of the stimulus, artifi^Lcial grammar, acquisition, phonology