Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Tipo di prodottoArticolo in rivista
TitoloA processing-oriented investigation of inflectional complexity
Anno di pubblicazione2019
Autore/iMarzi, Claudia; Ferro, Marcello; Pirrelli, Vito
Affiliazioni autoriILC-CNR
Autori CNR e affiliazioni
  • inglese
AbstractDue to the typological diversity of their inflectional processes, some languages are intuitively more difficult than other languages. Yet, finding a single measure to quantitatively assess the comparative complexity of an inflectional system proves an exceedingly difficult endeavor. In this paper we propose to investigate the issue from a processing-oriented standpoint, using data processed by a type of recurrent neural network to quantitatively model the dynamic of word processing and learning in different input conditions. We evaluate the relative complexity of a set of typologically different inflectional systems (Greek, Italian, Spanish, German, English and Standard Modern Arabic) by training a Temporal Self-Organizing Map (TSOM), a recurrent variant of Kohonen's Self-Organizing Maps, on a fixed set of verb forms from top-frequency verb paradigms, with no information about the morphosemantic and morphosyntactic content conveyed by the forms. After training, the behavior of each language-specific TSOM is assessed on different tasks, looking at self-organizing patterns of temporal connectivity and functional responses. Our simulations show that word processing is facilitated by maximally contrastive inflectional systems, where verb forms exhibit the earliest possible point of lexical discrimination. Conversely, word learning is favored by a maximally generalizable system, where forms are inferred from the smallest possible number of their paradigm companions. Based on evidence from the literature and our own data, we conjecture that the resulting balance is the outcome of the interaction between form frequency and morphological regularity. Big families of stem-sharing, regularly inflected forms are the productive core of an inflectional system. Such a core is easier to learn but slower to discriminate. In contrast, less predictable verb forms, based on alternating and possibly suppletive stems, are easier to process but are learned by rote. Inflection systems thus strike a balance between these conflicting processing and communicative requirements, while staying within tight learnability bounds, in line with Ackermann and Malouf's Low Conditional Entropy Conjecture. Our quantitative investigation supports a discriminative view of morphological inflection as a collective, emergent system, whose global self-organization rests on a surprisingly small handful of language-independent principles of word coactivation and competition.
Lingua abstractinglese
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Pagine da1
Pagine a23
Pagine totali23
RivistaFrontiers in communication
Attiva dal 2016
Editore: Frontiers Media - Lausanne
Paese di pubblicazione: Svizzera
Lingua: inglese
ISSN: 2297-900X
Titolo chiave: Frontiers in communication
Titolo abbreviato: Front. commun.
Numero volume della rivista4
Fascicolo della rivista48
Verificato da refereeSì: Internazionale
Stato della pubblicazionePublished version
Indicizzazione (in banche dati controllate)-
Parole chiaveMorphological complexity, Discriminative learning, Recurrent neural networks (RNNs), self-organization, emergence, processing uncertainty, stem-family size
Link (URL, URI)
Titolo parallelo-
Scadenza embargo-
Data di accettazione19/08/2019
Note/Altre informazioni-
Strutture CNR
  • ILC — Istituto di linguistica computazionale "Antonio Zampolli"
Moduli/Attività/Sottoprogetti CNR
  • DUS.AD016.006.001 : Sviluppo di una piattaforma neuro-computazionale per la simulazione di processi di elaborazione seriale
  • DUS.AD016.007.001 : Approcci interdisciplinari a modelli teorici e computazionali di acquisizione lessicale in contesti mono- e multi-lingui
  • DUS.AD016.075.004 : Modelli (bio-)computazionali dell'uso linguistico
Progetti Europei-
A processing-oriented investigation of inflectional complexity
Descrizione: A processing-oriented investigation of inflectional complexity
Tipo documento: application/pdf
A processing-oriented investigation of inflectional complexity (APPENDIX)
Descrizione: A processing-oriented investigation of inflectional complexity (APPENDIX)
Tipo documento: application/pdf