Paper: Modeling Word Learning As Communicative Inference

ACL ID W09-1102
Title Modeling Word Learning As Communicative Inference
Venue International Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning
Session Main Conference
Year 2009
Authors

How do children learn their first words? I describe a model that makes joint inferences about what speakers are trying to talk about and the meanings of the words they use. This model provides a principled framework for in- tegrating a wide variety of non-linguistic in- formation sources into the process of word learning. Talk Pr´ecis How do children learn their first words? Much work in this field has focused on the social as- pects of word learning: that children make use of speakers’ intentions—as signaled by a wide range of non-linguistic cues such as their eye-gaze, what they are pointing at, or even what referents are new to them—to infer the meanings of words (Bloom, 2002). However, recent evidence has suggested that adults and children are able to learn words simply from the...