Clippers 04/02 Cory Shain on measuring the perceptual availability of phonological features

Measuring the perceptual availability of phonological features during language acquisition using unsupervised binary stochastic autoencoders

This study deploys binary stochastic neural autoencoder networks as models of infant language learning in two typologically unrelated languages (Xitsonga and English). Results show that the drive to model auditory percepts leads to latent clusters that partially align with theory-driven phonemic categories. Evaluation of the degree to which theory-driven phonological features are encoded in the latent bit patterns shows that some (e.g. [+-approximant]), are well represented by the network in both languages, while others (e.g. [+-spread glottis]) are less so. Together, these findings suggest that many reliable cues to phonemic structure are immediately available to infants from bottom-up perceptual characteristics alone, but that these cues must eventually be supplemented by top-down lexical and phonotactic information to achieve adult-like phone discrimination. These results also suggest differences in degree of perceptual availability between features, yielding testable predictions as to which features might depend more or less heavily on top-down cues during child language acquisition.

Clippers 02/19 Evan Jaffe on Coreference Resolution

Towards a Coreference-aware Measure of Surprisal

This talk will describe ongoing work to model coreference as an incremental process, discussing current results, model design, and current challenges. Coreference is the semantic identity relationship between entities. Humans are able to effortlessly produce and comprehend language that describes coreference relations. While much work has explored coreference from a psycholinguistic angle, extensive modeling efforts have come from a more task-oriented NLP domain that does not seek to model cognitively plausible mechanisms. The current work attempts to bridge the two approaches by modeling coreference as part of an incremental semantic parsing process. Ultimately the model will be evaluated on parsing performance, coreference performance, and how well its predictions correlate with human processing data.