Language acquisition with communication between learners Journal Article


Author(s): Ibsen-Jensen, Rasmus; Tkadlec, Josef; Chatterjee, Krishnendu; Nowak, Martin A
Article Title: Language acquisition with communication between learners
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: We consider a class of students learning a language from a teacher. The situation can be interpreted as a group of child learners receiving input from the linguistic environment. The teacher provides sample sentences. The students try to learn the grammar from the teacher. In addition to just listening to the teacher, the students can also communicate with each other. The students hold hypotheses about the grammar and change them if they receive counter evidence. The process stops when all students have converged to the correct grammar. We study how the time to convergence depends on the structure of the classroom by introducing and evaluating various complexity measures. We find that structured communication between students, although potentially introducing confusion, can greatly reduce some of the complexity measures. Our theory can also be interpreted as applying to the scientific process, where nature is the teacher and the scientists are the students.
Keywords: Human; Complexity measures; article; Population structure; Inductive inference; Language learning; Population structures in learning; Students; Language acquisition; Linguistic environment; Population structures; Structured communication; Students learning; Teaching; grammar; human experiment; language development; scientist; student; teacher
Journal Title: Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Volume: 15
Issue 140
ISSN: 17425689
Publisher: Royal Society, The  
Date Published: 2018-03-02
Start Page: Article number 20180073
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0073
Open access: yes (OA journal)
IST Austria Authors
Related IST Austria Work