The Statistical Mechanics of Word Learning
I will give a brief overview of theories for the processes by which children learn the meanings of words and some of the empirical evidence to support them. I will then show how, by throwing some statistical mechanics at the problem, we can discern whether processes inferred from psycholinguistic experiments admit a human-sized language to be learnt in a human-length amount of time. And what, if anything, does this have to say about the question of whether the cognitive abilities underpinning language are specialised to that task or not?
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..