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    ABSTRACT: Research in children's language acquisition has recently benefited from the application of network theory to large sets of empirical data, which has illuminated interesting patterns and trends. Network theory is an extremely powerful modelling and analysis tool, and its full potential in terms of extracting useful information from raw data has yet to be exploited. In the present paper, we argue that well-established network analysis techniques can, and should be applied to the study of language acquisition, in order to reveal otherwise invisible patterns. We show that a key network parameter – the ranked frequency distribution of the links – provides useful information about the data, even though it had been previously neglected in this domain.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Young English-speaking children often produce utterances with missing 3sg -s (e.g., *He play). Since the mid 1990s, such errors have tended to be treated as Optional Infinitive (OI) errors, in which the verb is a non-finite form (e.g., Wexler, 1998; Legate & Yang, 2007). The present article reports the results of a cross-sectional elicited-production study with 22 children (aged 3;1-4;1), which investigated the possibility that at least some apparent OI errors reflect a process of defaulting to the form with the highest frequency in the input. Across 48 verbs, a significant negative correlation was observed between the proportion of 'bare' vs. 3sg -s forms in a representative input corpus and the rate of 3sg -s production. This finding suggests that, in addition to other learning mechanisms that yield such errors cross-linguistically, at least some of the OI errors produced by English-speaking children reflect a process of defaulting to a high-frequency/phonologically simple form.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Child Language
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    ABSTRACT: The limits of generalization of our 3-D shape recognition system to identifying objects by touch was investigated by testing exploration at unusual locations and using untrained effectors. In Experiments 1 and 2, people found identification by hand of real objects, plastic 3-D models of objects, and raised line drawings placed in front of themselves no easier than when exploration was behind their back. Experiment 3 compared one-handed, two-handed, one-footed, and two-footed haptic object recognition of familiar objects. Recognition by foot was slower (7 vs. 13 s) and much less accurate (9 % vs. 47 % errors) than recognition by either one or both hands. Nevertheless, item difficulty was similar across hand and foot exploration, and there was a strong correlation between an individual's hand and foot performance. Furthermore, foot recognition was better with the largest 20 of the 80 items (32 % errors), suggesting that physical limitations hampered exploration by foot. Thus, object recognition by hand generalized efficiently across the spatial location of stimuli, while object recognition by foot seemed surprisingly good given that no prior training was provided. Active touch (haptics) thus efficiently extracts 3-D shape information and accesses stored representations of familiar objects from novel modes of input.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Attention Perception & Psychophysics
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