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The Price of Linguistic ProductivityHow Children Learn to Break the Rules of Language$
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Charles. Yang

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035323

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035323.001.0001

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The Logic of Evidence

The Logic of Evidence

(p.171) 6 The Logic of Evidence
The Price of Linguistic Productivity

Charles Yang

The MIT Press

A completely new conceptualization of the indirect negative evidence business in language acquisition, especially in syntax. Instead of thinking about retreating from over-generalization, a derivative application of the Tolerance Principle ensures that the child is much more careful before generalizing. Shows how the learner may acquire that adjectives such as “asleep” do not allow attributive in NPs (“*the asleep cat”), and how to resolve Baker’s classic problem of dative construction acquisition (“*I donated the museum a painting”). A critique of previous proposals, including Bayesian models of inference, is also included.

Keywords:   Indirect negative evidence, Formal learnability, Argument structure and alternations, Distributional learning

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