Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Child language researchers have often taken gender and case paradigms to be interesting test cases for theories of language learning. In this paper we develop a computational model of the acquisition of the gender, number, and case paradigm for the German definite article. The computational formalism used is a connectionist algorithm developed by Rumelhart, Hinton, and Williams (1986). Three models are developed. In the first two, various cues to gender studied by Köpcke and Zubin (1983, 1984) are entered by hand. In the third, the simulation is given only the raw phonological features of the stem. Despite the elimination of the hand-crafting of the units, the third model outperformed the first two in both training and generalization. All three models showed a good match to the developmental data of Mills (1986) and MacWhinney (1978). Advantages of a connectionist approach over older theories are discussed.




Journal of Memory and Language Volume 28, Issue 3, June 1989, Pages 255-277