Analogical Modeling of Language

Analogical Modeling of Language

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1. Structuralist Versus Analogical Descriptions ONE important purpose of this book is to compare two completely dif- ferent approaches to describing language. The first of these approaches, commonly called stnlctllralist, is the traditional method for describing behavior. Its methods are found in many diverse fields - from biological taxonomy to literary criticism. A structuralist description can be broadly characterized as a system of classification. The fundamental question that a structuralist description attempts to answer is how a general contextual space should be partitioned. For each context in the partition, a rule is defined. The rule either specifies the behavior of that context or (as in a taxonomy) assigns a name to that context. Structuralists have implicitly assumed that descriptions of behavior should not only be correct, but should also minimize the number of rules and permit only the simplest possible contextual specifications. It turns out that these intuitive notions can actually be derived from more fundamental statements about the uncertainty of rule systems. Traditionally, linguistic analyses have been based on the idea that a language is a system of rules. Saussure, of course, is well known as an early proponent of linguistic structuralism, as exemplified by his characterization of language as "a self-contained whole and principle of classification" (Saussure 1966:9). Yet linguistic structuralism did not originate with Saussure - nor did it end with "American structuralism".
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Product details

  • Hardback | 212 pages
  • 156 x 233.9 x 15.7mm | 498.96g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1989 ed.
  • XII, 212 p.
  • 0792305175
  • 9780792305170

Table of contents

1. Structuralist Versus Analogical Descriptions.- 2. An Overview of the Book.- 1: Problems with Rule Descriptions of Language.- 1. Three Basic Types of Language Behavior.- 2. Empirical Problems.- 3. Conceptual Problems.- 2: An Analogical Approach.- 1. An Overview of the Analogical Model.- 2. Constructing the Analogical Set for a Given Context.- 3. The Exponential Effect in a Saturated Deterministic Field.- 4. Predicting the Three Basic Behaviors Analogically.- 3: Three Examples from English.- 1. Specifying the Data Set.- 2. Categorical Behavior: The Indefinite Article.- 3. Exceptional/Regular Behavior: Spelling Initial /h/.- 4. Idiosyncratic Behavior: Voicing Onset Time.- 4: Predicting Non-Deterministic Language Variation.- 1. Learning Probabilities.- 2. McClelland and Rumelhart's Connectionist Approach.- 3. Imperfect Memory and Multivariate Predictions.- 4. Rule Approaches to Language Variation.- 5. Sociolinguistic Variation in Arabic.- 5: Analogical Predictions of the Past Tense in Finnish.- 1. An Overview of the Verb Types.- 2. The Past Tense in Standard Finnish.- 3. Variation in the Past Tense.- 4. Properties of an Analogically Predicted Past Tense Form.- 5. Predicting the Past Tense for Infrequent Verbs.- 6. Predicting the Past Tense for Verbs in the Data Set.- 7. Historical Drift of the Past Tense.- 8. A Note on the Historical Development.- 6: Conclusion.- 1. Massively Parallel Processing of Analogical Sets.- 2. A Final Analogy.- References.- Appendix 1: Symbols for the Phonemes of English.- Appendix 2: Data Sets.- 1. The Indefinite Article in English.- 2. Spelling of Initial /h/ in English.- 3. Categorical Determination of /b,p/ in English.- 4. Terms of Address in Colloquial Egyptian Arabic.- 5. Past Tense in Finnish.- Appendix 3: Pascal Program.
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Review quote

`Skousen develops an analogical approach, which is claimed to handle not merely cases which are problematic for tructuralist approaches, but to be applicable equally to the cases with which structuralism is at its best - in short, to be an Einstein to the common Newton.
This is altogether a stimulating and richly suggestive book whose fundamental notions are presented with formal rigour. Other, more psychologically adequate, formal analogical theories may be devised, but Skousen has shown the way forward.'
Artificial Intelligence and Stimulation of Behaviour Quarterly, 1990, No. 72
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