Paper: Learning Auxiliary Fronting With Grammatical Inference

ACL ID W06-2917
Title Learning Auxiliary Fronting With Grammatical Inference
Venue International Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning
Session Main Conference
Year 2006

We present a simple context-free gram- matical inference algorithm, and prove that it is capable of learning an inter- esting subclass of context-free languages. We also demonstrate that an implementa- tion of this algorithm is capable of learn- ing auxiliary fronting in polar interroga- tives (AFIPI) in English. This has been one of the most important test cases in language acquisition over the last few decades. We demonstrate that learning can proceed even in the complete absence of examples of particular constructions, and thus that debates about the frequency of occurrence of such constructions are ir- relevant. We discuss the implications of this on the type of innate learning biases that must be hypothesized to explain first language acquisition.