Connectionist sentence processing in perspective

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The emphasis in the connectionist sentence-processing literature on distributed representation and emergence of grammar from such systems can easily obscure the often close relations between connectionist and symbolist systems. This paper argues that the Simple Recurrent Network (SRN) models proposed by Jordan (1989) and Elman (1990) are more directly related to stochastic Part-of-Speech (POS) Taggers than to parsers or grammars as such, while auto-associative memory models of the kind pioneered by Longuet–Higgins, Willshaw, Pollack and others may be useful for grammar induction from a network-based conceptual structure as well as for structure-building. These observations suggest some interesting new directions for specifically connectionist sentence processing research, including more efficient representations for finite state machines, and acquisition devices based on a distinctively connectionist basis for grounded symbolist conceptual structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-634
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


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