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Publication Detail
Interaction of phonological biases and frequency in learning a probabilistic language pattern
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Song H, White J
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier BV
  • Publication date:
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  • Keywords:
    Phonology, Probability learning, Learning bias, Artificial language, Language acquisition, Homophony
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
We examine how learning a phonological rule in an artificial language interacts with morphological and lexical learning. We exposed adult participants to an artificial language in which noun plurals were marked by one of two prefix forms (ba- or ni-), one of which also triggered a velar palatalization rule (e.g., singular kimu, plural ni-chimu). In some conditions, the rule additionally created homophony. We also manipulated the relative frequency of the two prefix variants. The results showed that participants shifted away from using the rule-triggering prefix (ni-), but only when it was already the less frequent prefix. We attribute this effect to a paradigm uniformity bias leading participants to avoid phonological alternations (particularly in the stem). When the rule created homophony between lexical items, participants were less able to learn the rule, but it did not affect their choice of prefix. We attribute this effect to homophony avoidance interfering with participants' ability to extract the phonological generalization.
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