Exploring the utility of joint morphological and syntactic learning from child-directed speech

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Children learn various levels of linguistic structure concurrently, yet most existing models of language acquisition deal with only a single level of structure, implicitly assuming a sequential learning process. Developing models that learn multiple levels simultaneously can provide important insights into how these levels might interact synergistically during learning. Here, we present a model that jointly induces syntactic categories and morphological segmentations by combining two well-known models for the individual tasks. We test on child-directed utterances in English and Spanish and compare to single-task baselines. In the morphologically poorer language (English), the model improves morphological segmentation, while in the morphologically richer language (Spanish), it leads to better syntactic categorization. These results provide further evidence that joint learning is useful, but also suggest that the benefits may be different for typologically different languages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-937284-97-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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