Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Competing Factors in Phonological Learning Models: The Acquisition of English Consonant Clusters
by Reynolds, Amy R., M.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011, 98; 1500741
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis tests the relative influence of a number of factors within phonological learning models that have been proposed to affect patterns of child language acquisition. In the Gradual Learning Algorithm literature, social factors such as variation in the adult grammar and frequencies of forms in child-directed speech, and mental grammar factors such as constraints and decision strategies make various predictions about the learning paths followed by children. English-speaking childrenā€˜s acquisition of consonant clusters is modeled to test the relative influence of learning model factors, since each social factor in the English adult language makes opposite predictions about what learning paths children should follow. Adult grammar variation is shown to be the more influential social factor, and a comparison between the constraint sets and decision strategies used in Boersma and Levelt (2000) and Jesney and Tessier (2011) provides support for using Specific Faithfulness constraints to adequately model child language acquisition.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Jennifer L.
Commitee: Becker, Misha, Moreton, Elliott
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 50/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Consonant clusters, Gradual learning algorithm, Harmonic grammar, Learning model, Optimality theory, Phonology
Publication Number: 1500741
ISBN: 9781124943015
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