Paper: Statistical Estimation of Word Acquisition with Application to Readability Prediction

ACL ID D09-1094
Title Statistical Estimation of Word Acquisition with Application to Readability Prediction
Venue Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Session Main Conference
Year 2009
Authors

Models of language learning play a cen- tral role in a wide range of applica- tions: from psycholinguistic theories of how people acquire new word knowledge, to information systems that can automati- cally match content to users’ reading abil- ity. We present a novel statistical ap- proach that can infer the distribution of a word’s likely acquisition age automati- cally from authentic texts collected from the Web. We then show that combining these acquisition age distributions for all words in a document provides an effective semantic component for predicting read- ing difficulty of new texts. We also com- pare our automatically inferred acquisition ages with norms from existing oral stud- ies, revealing interesting historical trends as well as differences between oral and written wor...