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Language in Space and Time or, the Tao of Language Acquisition Simon D. Levy PSYC 257 13 March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Language in Space and Time or, the Tao of Language Acquisition Simon D. Levy PSYC 257 13 March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Language in Space and Time or, the Tao of Language Acquisition Simon D. Levy PSYC March 2007

3 Format Overview: Language in Space & Time The Story to ~1960 Chomsky vs. Skinner The Yin of Learning / The Yang of Innateness Words and Rules The Search for New Principles Conclusions

4 Language in Space: I Pieter Brueghel: The Tower of Babel (1563)

5 Language in Space: I

6 Language in Space: I

7 Location, location, location: what language you learn depends on where you’re born No relationship between your genes and what language you learn (?)

8 Language in Space: II

9 Language in Time: I Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum, monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad, weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah, oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra ofer hronrade hyran scolde, gomban gyldan.þæt wæs god cyning! AD 900

10 Language in Time: I Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote The drought of March hath perced to the roote And bathed every vein in swich liquor Of which vertu engendred is the flour When Zephyrus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes and the yonge sun Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne And smale fowles maken melodye That slepen all the night with open eye So priketh hem nature in hir courages AD 1400

11 Language in Time: I To be or not to be, that is the question— Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep— No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to — 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep— To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause AD 1600

12 Language in Time: II (Want) tride! 0 3 yr 1 Please I can go on (the) slide? 0 3 yr 2 Please can I go on the slide? 0 3 yr 2.5

13 Language in Time : III

14 The Story to ~1960

15 The Story to ~ : Empiricists vs. Rationalists

16 The Story to ~ : Behaviorism Rising

17 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together."

18 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together."

19 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together." + +

20 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together." - -

21 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together." + -

22 The Story to ~1960 Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. ­ D.O. Hebb, The Organization of Behavior (1949) “Fire together, wire together." - +

23 The Story to ~1960 State/Transition Models Please can leave I we go...

24 Chomsky vs. Skinner

25 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959)

26 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959) From this sample, it can be seen that the notion of reinforcement has totally lost whatever objective meaning it may ever have had.

27 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959) It seems that Skinner’s claim that all verbal behavior is acquired and maintained in “strength” through reinforcement is quite empty....

28 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959) Similarly, it seems quite beyond question that children acquire a good deal of their verbal and nonverbal behavior by casual observation and imitation of adults and other children. It is simply not true that children can learn language only through “meticulous care” on the part of adults who shape their verbal repertoire through differential reinforcement....

29 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959) It is also perfectly obvious that, at a later stage, a child will be able to construct and understand utterances which are quite new, and are, at the same time, acceptable sentences in his language.

30 Chomsky vs. Skinner (1959) It would appear to follow from this description that a speaker will not respond properly to the [command] Your money or your life unless he has a past history of being killed.

31 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness

32 Our “knowledge” of what is and isn’t part of our language goes beyond the meanings of words and sentences: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. Ideas colorless sleep furiously green.

33 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness The “surface” form of a sentence isn’t always a good clue to its meaning: John is eager to please. John is easy to please.

34 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness Grammar (what is and isn’t acceptable) contains mysterious gaps that are hard to motivate through general theories of mind, learning, etc: (1) I saw Bill with Mary yesterday. (2) You saw WHO with Mary yesterday?! (3) Who did you see with Mary yesterday? (4) I saw Bill and Mary yesterday. (5) You saw WHO and Mary yesterday?! (6) Who did you see and Mary yesterday?

35 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness Grammar supports “dependencies” between items separated by arbitrarily long amounts of intervening material, making state/transition models inadequate: That guy likes you.

36 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness That guy likes you.

37 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness That guy you ran into last night likes you.

38 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness That guy you ran into last night at FD likes you.

39 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness That guy you ran into last night at FD with the girl from Mary Baldwin likes you.

40 The Yin of Learning; The Yang of Innateness That guy you ran into last night at FD with the girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand likes you.

41 Words and Rules

42 Words and Rules ( ) Producing / understanding sentences involves coordinating the behavior of (1) a state/transition model (2) a “stack” that keeps track of the current subject/verb

43 Words and Rules ( ) That guy likes you You ran into him at FD last night He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin No one can stand that girl

44 Words and Rules ( ) That guy... That guy PUSH

45 That guy... You ran into him at FD last night Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night PUSH

46 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy... You ran into him at FD last night He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin PUSH

47 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy... You ran into him at FD last night He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin No one can stand that girl PUSH

48 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand likes you. He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy... You ran into him at FD last night He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin

49 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand likes you. He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy... You ran into him at FD last night POP

50 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand likes you. He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy... POP

51 Words and Rules ( ) That guy you ran into at FD last night with that girl from Mary Baldwin that no one can stand likes you. He was with that girl from Mary Baldwin That guy likes you. POP

52 The Search for New Principles

53 We know very little about what happens when neurons are crammed into something the size of a basketball, with further conditions imposed by the specific manner in which this system developed over time. It would be a serious error to suppose that all properties, or the interesting properties of the structures that evolved, can be ‘explained’ by natural selection. - N. Chomsky

54 The Search for New Principles If we want to imitate human memory with models, we must take account of the weaknesses of the nervous system as well as its powers. - D. Gabor

55 The Search for New Principles Very little evidence for neural architectures supporting discrete, rule-like behavior, states, transitions, stacks, etc.: the mind/brain is not a computer!

56 The Search for New Principles Some genetic/anatomical evidence from schizophrenic patients (Crow 1997) suggesting hemispheric specialization for language functions (right for planning/comprehension; left for sequence processing)

57 The Search for New Principles Continuous-state models: Elman et al. That guy I saw

58 The Search for New Principles Store: a k Storage and Recall: Hebb revisited / Hopfield Networks Where u i = 1 initially; then u i = 0 for s i <0; u i = 1 otherwise Probe:

59 The Search for New Principles Storage and Recall: “Hopfield image stacks” Example: Three 70x50-pixel images n = 3500 pixels w = 3500x3500 “synaptic weights”

60 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: base images

61 The Search for New Principles “Hofpield stacks”: PUSH JACKSON

62 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: PUSH GRANT

63 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: PUSH LEE

64 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: PROBE

65 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: POP

66 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: PROBE

67 The Search for New Principles “Hopfield stacks”: POP

68 Conclusions

69 Conclusions: Where to Now? Instead of nature vs. nurture, maybe natural principles + communication constraints : “cultural learning” (Kirby 2000) Image-like representation of sentence meaning (Plate 2003) as stack contents Some possibility for genetic origins: e.g., Dediu & Ladd (2006): Genetic Influences on Tonogenesis and the Geographical Distribution of Tone Languages (983 genes, 26 linguistic features)


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