Paper: A Noisy-Channel Model of Human Sentence Comprehension under Uncertain Input

ACL ID D08-1025
Title A Noisy-Channel Model of Human Sentence Comprehension under Uncertain Input
Venue Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Session Main Conference
Year 2008
Authors
  • Roger Levy (University of California, San Diego CA)

Language comprehension, as with all other cases of the extraction of meaningful struc- ture from perceptual input, takes places un- der noisy conditions. If human language comprehension is a rational process in the sense of making use of all available infor- mation sources, then we might expect uncer- tainty at the level of word-level input to af- fect sentence-level comprehension. However, nearly all contemporary models of sentence comprehension assume clean input—that is, that the input to the sentence-level com- prehension mechanism is a perfectly-formed, completely certain sequence of input tokens (words). This article presents a simple model of rational human sentence comprehension under noisy input, and uses the model to in- vestigate some outstanding problems in the psycholinguist...