Born to learn?

June 22, 2010

There’s a debate in linguistics on the extent to which humans acquire language via learning and statistical generalization and the extent to which language acquisition aided by innate biases. Theoretical arguments have been devised to demonstrate that general-purpose learning would require to much data and that innate bias is necessary. An eprint claims to provide mathematical and empirical support against such impossibility results and in favor of the possibility of language acquisition through general-purpose learning. The learning method being advanced is a Minimum Description Length type method.

A. S. Hsu, N. Chater and P. M. B. Vitanyi. The probabilistic analysis of language acquisition: Theoretical, computational, and experimental analysis. arXiv:1006.3271 (2010)