Carnegie Mellon University
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Models of the Emergence of Language

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journal contribution
posted on 1998-02-01, 00:00 authored by Brian MacwhinneyBrian Macwhinney
Recent work in language acquisition has shown how linguistic form emerges from the operation of self-organizing systems. The emergentist framework emphasizes ways in which the formal structures of language emerge from the interaction of social patterns, patterns implicit in the input, and pressures arising from general aspects of the cognitive system. Emergentist models have been developed to study the acquisition of auditory and articulatory patterns during infancy and the ways in which the learning of the first words emerges from the linkage of auditory, articulatory, and conceptual systems. Neural network models have also been used to study the learning of inflectional markings and basic syntactic patterns. Using both neural network modeling and concepts from the study of dynamic systems, it is possible to analyze language learning as the integration of emergent dynamic systems.