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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Bayesian models of language acquisition are powerful tools for exploring how linguistic generalizations can be made. Notably, Bayesian models assume children leverage statistical information in sophisticated ways, and so it is important to demonstrate that children’s behavior is consistent with both the assumptions of the Bayesian framework and the predictions of specific models. We first provide a historical overview of behavioral evidence suggesting children utilize available statistical information to make useful generalizations in a variety of tasks. We then discuss the Bayesian modeling framework, including benefits of particular interest to both developmental and theoretical linguists. We conclude with a review of several case studies that demonstrate how Bayesian models can be applied to problems of interest in language acquisition.

Keywords: Bayesian inference, bootstrapping, computational modeling, indirect negative evidence, inductive bias, overhypothesis, rational learners, statistical learning

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