Abstract

Previous computerized models of child language acquisition have sought to determine how children acquire grammatical word categories (GWCs). The current study seeks to determine if statistical structure can be corroborated as a factor in GWC acquisition. Previous studies examining statistical structure have dealt with word order rather than GWC order and only examined an overall success rate. The present study examines how well a computer model of child acquisition of GWCs was able to reorganize scrambled sentences back into the correct GWC order using transitional probabilities extracted from adult language input. Overall, a 50% success rate was obtained, but when broken down by utterance length, utterances up to eight words in length had a success rate much higher than chance. Thus, it is likely that statistical structure informs children's acquisition of GWCs.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Communications

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright

Date Submitted

2016-03-16

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd8464

First Advisor

Ron W. Channell, Chair

Second Advisor

Shawn L. Nissen

Third Advisor

Christopher Dromey

Keywords

grammatical word categories, statistical structure, language acquisition

Language

English

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