"I'm always amazed by those people who get up at 5 and write till 8 and then eat a peach and walk their canary and write two hours more and then are free to collect firewood for the rest of the afternoon."
[Richard Greenberg, New York Times 03/26/06]
Anne-Michelle Tessier
amtessier at ualberta dot ca


(Main Page)

Linguistic
links and stuffs


Downloadable Papers and Handouts

Starting in 2016, all of my published work can be found at my U Michigan personal website.
For work from 2015 and earlier, see below.

Listed in roughly reverse chronological order
Links labeled '[abstract]' jump to lower on the page
Papers, posters and handouts are in PDF.

If something you want/need is missing, also feel free to email.


Phonological Acquisition: Child Language and Constraint-Based Grammar 2015.
Advanced undergraduate/graduate textbook, published by Palgrave Macmillan

With Saliu Shittu, UofA Ph.D student.
Perceptual Attrition of Lexical Tone among L1 Yoruba-speaking Children in Canada. 2015.
Presented as a poster at BUCLD39 :: available in the online proceedings supplement

With Karen Jesney.
Learning in Harmonic Serialism and the necessity of a richer base. 2014. Phonology 31(1): 155-178.
[abstract] :: [paper]

The nature of regressions in the acquisition of phonological grammars. 2013. In Kingston, Moore-Cantwell, Pater and Staubs (eds.) Proceedings of the Annual Meetings of Phonology 2013 published on the LSA website.
[intro] :: [paper]

With Tamara Sorenson Duncan and Johanne Paradis.
Developmental trends and L1 effects in early L2 learners’ onset cluster production. 2012. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition published online October 9, 2012, pp. 1-19.
[abstract] :: [paper]

Testing for OO-faithfulness in the acquisition of consonant clusters. 2012. Language Acquisition 19: 144-173.
This work is old the way glaciers are old; earlier descriptions of the experimental data appear in the 2006 BUCLD paper below.
[abstract] :: [paper]

Error-driven learning in Harmonic Serialism. 2012.
To appear in the Proceedings of NELS42 at the University of Toronto, November 2011.
[summary] :: [paper]
Related work was later published in Tessier and Jesney 2014; see above.

Modeling gradual learning in serial and parallel phonological grammars. 2011.
Poster presented at Child Phonology Conference, York University, June 2011, and at MidPhon17 at UIUC.
[summary] :: [poster]

English Onset Cluster Repairs across Learners: Typologies with OT-Help
Poster presented at ICESL Launch, UMass Amherst, April 2011.
[summary]

With Michael Becker.
Trajectories of faithfulness in child-specific phonology. 2011. Phonology 28(2): 163-196.
Previously this work was presented at the 3rd North East Computational Phonology meeting at MIT, October 2009 and the 84th LSA Meeting in Baltimore, January 2010.
[abstract] :: [paper] :: [ materials and scripts]

With Tamara Sorenson Duncan and Johanne Paradis.
Onset Cluster Repair in Early L2 Learners' Phonologies. 2009.
An older version of Tessier, Sorenson Duncan and Paradis (2012) above. Presented at the Child Phonology Conference in Austin, May 2009.
[abstract] :: [poster].

Peer Pressure, Phonological Constraints and Contextual Slips of the Tongue. 2011.
Talk presented at UMichigan January 2011, and as a poster at MOT 2011 (in honour of Glyne Piggott). Previously presented at the UNC Spring Colloquium in 2009.
[abstract] :: [UMichigan handout]

Short but not sweet: Markedness preferences and reversals in English hypocoristics 2010.
Presented at the Canadian Linguistic Association Meeting in Ottawa, May 2010 and the 85th Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Pittsburgh, Jan 2011.
[abstract] :: [ CLA poster]

Review of Smith, Neilson V. 2010. Acquiring Phonology: a cross-generational study 2010.
Lingua 121 (2): 328-331.

[preprinted version]

Morphophonological Acquisition. 2010.
Chapter to appear in Handbook of Developmental Linguistics, edited by Joe Pater, Jeffrey Lidz and William Snyder.
[introduction] :: [to see a copy of the chapter, email me]

Review of Daniel A. Dinnsen and Judith A. Gierut (eds) 2008. Optimality Theory, Phonological Acquisition and Disorders. London, UK: Equinox. 2010.
Language 86(3): 716-720.

[submitted version]

UseListedError: a grammatical account of lexical exceptions in phonological acquisition. 2009/2012.
NOW: In S. Lima, K. Mullins and B. Smith (eds). Proceedings of NELS39 vol. 2 pp. 813-827.
[abstract] :: [ NELS39 proceedings paper ]

With Karen Jesney.
Biases in Harmonic Grammar: the road to restrictive learning. 2011. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 29(1): 251-290.
[abstract] :: [paper]
A rather earlier, somewhat sub-optimal version appeared in University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers volume 36.

Frequency of Violation and Constraint-based Phonological Learning. 2009. Lingua 119 (1): 6-38.
[abstract] :: [preprint paper]

With Karen Jesney.
Gradual learning and faithfulness: consequences of ranked vs. weighted constraints. 2008.
In M. Abdurrahman, A. Schardl and M. Walkow (eds.) Proceedings of NELS38.
[abstract] :: [ NELS38 proceedings paper ]

With Marnie Krauss. Learning phonological regularities across modalities. 2008.
Presented at LSA2008 in Chicago, IL.
[abstract] :: [LSA handout ]


Biases and Stages in Phonological Acquisition. 2007. Ph.D. dissertation, Umass Amherst.
[abstract] :: [filed version] :: [2008 book, published by VDM: generally improved, but minus the last chapter.]
Note: much of my dissertation is distilled in the Lingua 2009 paper above, and most of it is in the sum of the next four works below.

Positional Faith and the theory of intermediate stages in phonological development. 2006.
Poster presented at BUCLD31.
[abstract] :: [BUCLD31 poster]

Stages of phonological acquisition and Error-Selective Learning. 2006.
In XX the proceedings of WCCFL25.
[abstract] :: [WCCFL handout] :: [WCCFL25 proceedings paper]
This work was also presented at the 2006 MOT workshop at U of Toronto, and at the Brown/Umass workshop, April 2006.

Learning Stringency Relations and the Contexts of Faithfulness. 2006.
Presented at LSA2006 in Albuquerque, NM.
[abstract] :: [ LSA2006 handout ]

Testing for OO-Faithfulness in Artificial Phonological Acquisition. 2006.
In XX the proceedings of BUCLD30. Somerville MA: Cascadilla Press.
[abstract] :: [BUCLD30 proceedings paper] :: [ a much improved version of this experiment to appear in Language Acquisition Spring 2012.]


With Joe Pater and Karen Jesney
Phonological Acquistion as Weighted Constraint Interaction. 2006.
Presented at GALANA 2, Montreal.
[ GALANA2 proceedings paper] :: [Erratum]

With Joe Pater.
"L1 Phonotactic Knowledge and the L2 Acquisition of Alternations". 2005.
In two somewhat different versions: UMass Occasional Papers 31 (longer) and a (shorter) book chapter in a festshrift for Lydia White.
[abstract] :: [UMOP31 paper] :: [book chapter]

Input "Clusters" and Contrast Preservation in OT. 2004.
In the proceedings of WCCFL23.
[abstract] :: [ WCCFL23 proceedings paper]


Older Work that realistically I will never post and probably wouldn't show you unless you gave me a really good reason to...

Root-restricted Markedness and Morpho-Phonological Domains. 2004. Presented at the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology Workshop, University of Ottawa
How many whos did you show a picture of to? Processing and interpreting multiple-wh gaps. 2003. In UMass Occasional Papers 27: On Semantic Processing
How and When to Project your Voice: Long-Distance Co-Occurence Restrictions, Featural Projections and Morphological Domains. 2003.


Other people's work
If looking at my work has reminded you of some other linguistics you've been meaning to read, here are some links to try:

Rutgers Optimality Archive
Linguistic Semantics Preprint Archive
GLSA Publications


Abstracts and Summaries

Motor influences on grammar in an emergentist model of phonology.
Any account aiming to provide a comprehensive picture of children’s acquisition of speech must consider both the development of the phonological grammar and the maturation of the structures and motor skills used to implement the sounds of a language. Much previous literature has been marked by a tendency to draw sharp demarcations between these two influences, or to assert that all of child speech can be reduced to one or the other. This paper argues that it is neither necessary nor desirable to segregate speech-motor development from grammatical development when modeling speech acquisition, because they are fundamentally intertwined. The paper focuses on bringing together two literatures that have evolved largely independently. The first explores how speech-motor patterns practiced during babbling come to be disproportionately represented in the lexicon in children’s earliest stages of meaningful speech. The second posits that abstract elements of phonology—segments, features, and constraints—can be understood to emerge from generalizations over stored memory traces at a more holistic level. We argue that an emergentist model of phonological learning can be enhanced by incorporating the insight that memory traces of strings that have been heard and produced are encoded more robustly than strings that have only been heard.

Learning in Harmonic serialism and the necessity of a richer base
This paper reassesses the hypothesis that early phonotactic learning of constraint-based grammars relies on the Identity Map – i.e. it uses observed surface forms as the inputs which cause errors and drive learning via constraint reranking. We argue that this approach’s success is closely tied to Optimality Theory’s fully parallel grammatical evaluation. In the constraint-based derivational framework of Harmonic Serialism (HS; McCarthy 2000, 2007b), reliance on observed surface forms as inputs can block the discovery of ‘hidden rankings’ between markedness constraints, preventing the learner from discovering a restrictive grammar. This paper illustrates the problem, using a pattern of positional vowel restrictions in Punu (Kwenzi Mikala 1980), and considers the role of various learning assumptions. We conclude that hidden rankings are a fundamental obstacle to restrictive error-driven learning in any HS-like framework, and that learning in such frameworks inevitably requires consideration of some unattested surface forms as inputs, even at the earliest learning stages.

The nature of regressions in the acquisition of phonological grammars
Under one typical view, children’s acquisition of their L1 phonological grammar is understood as a gradual progression from an initial universal state towards a language-specific one, in which learners respond to mismatches between their outputs and the ambient language (i.e. their ‘errors’) by changing their grammars incrementally to better approximate the target (i.e. ‘resolving’ their errors). One challenging problem for this view are the many reports of ‘U-shaped development’ in which production temporarily regresses, diverging further from the target rather than drawing closer: see e.g. Menn (1971) et seq; Macken (1980); Vihman and Velleman (1989), (2002); Bleile and Tomblin (1991); Bernhardt and Stemberger (1998); Stemberger, Bernhardt and Johnson (1999); Becker and Tessier (2011). To what extent do such regressions cast doubt on the view of phonological acquisition as a gradual process of grammatical error resolution?
Based on existing and novel analyses of longitudinal data, this paper argues that phonological regressions should not be captured directly within the normal workings of children’s error-driven mechanisms for grammar learning. Section 2 defines the crucial, problematic type of U-shaped development – grammatical backtracking – and claims that grammatical backtracking is restricted to childspecific processes, suggesting an exceptional treatment of these regressions via child-specific constraints that are induced over the course of learning (in the spirit of Becker and Tessier, 2011; see also Inkelas and Rose, 2008). Beyond this limited grammatical backtracking (and other types of regressions which are argued not to be grammatical in nature, see 2.4) section 3 identifies the kind of regression that seems plausible but is nonetheless apparently unattested: one in which markedness constraints flip-flop over time, so that improvement on one marked structure entails regression on another. With this initial empirical base, section 4 demonstrates that an error-driven OT-like learner which stores its errors and imposes certain persistent biases can in fact easily regress in the unattested way. Section 5 discusses how OT’s grammatical parallelism is in part responsible for creating the unattested regression pattern, and how a serial constraintbased grammar like Harmonic Serialism (McCarthy 2007 et seq) avoids this regression.

Developmental trends and L1 effects in early L2 learners’ onset cluster production
This study focuses on English onset cluster production in spontaneous speech samples of 10 children aged 5;04–6;09 from Chinese and Hindi/Punjabi first language (L1) backgrounds, each with less than a year of exposure to English. The results suggest commonalities between early second language (L2) learners and both monolingual and adult L2 learners in the location of cluster repair and the sometimes-exceptional treatment of s+stop clusters. We also provide evidence that accuracy rates and repairs used in early L2 cluster production show L1 influences. We conclude that early L2 learners represent a unique learner group, whose study is crucial to the understanding of phonological development.

Testing for OO-faithfulness in the acquisition of consonant clusters
This paper provides experimental evidence for the claim in Hayes (2004) and McCarthy (1998) that language learners are biased to assume that morphological paradigms should be phonologically-uniform ? that is, that derived words should retain all the phonological properties of their bases. The evidence comes from an artificial language word-learning paradigm, in which children learned novel objects names such as wutch and a plural suffix ?del in an alien language, and then were asked to produce alien words with difficult coda-onset clusters, some of which straddled the singular + del suffix boundary. The results suggest that 4-year-olds who are acquiring novel consonant clusters are preferentially faithful to the base segments in a derived word, e.g. wutch in plural wutchdel. The paper interprets these results from the perspective of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993/2004; Tesar & Smolensky 2000), using Output- Output Faithfulness constraints (Benua 2000) to understand the asymmetries in the observed phonologies of derived and underived test items. :: [paper]
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Error-Driven Learning in Harmonic Serialism
This talk investigates the learnability of Harmonic Serialism (HS: Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004: 79; McCarthy 2000 et seq.). Harmonic Serialism has achieved considerable success in capturing typological generalizations with surprisingly limited pathologies (e.g. McCarthy 2008ab, Pruitt 2010), but the acquisition of HS grammars is just beginning to receive formal attention. This work demonstrates that a restrictive error-driven algorithm for learning OT grammars (as in Prince and Tesar 2004 or Hayes 2004) can in principle be modified to acquire HS grammars -- but with complications, of the form of ?hidden? rankings among markedness constraints. The talk illustrates hidden rankings and their learning challenges, and offers an initial attempt to modify error-driven learning methods to discover hidden rankings. In part, the approach is to capitalize on HS's quite finite candidate set, looking for inputs that are similar to observed forms and which might therefore shed light on unattested mappings. [paper]
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Modeling gradual learning in serial and parallel phonological grammars
What kinds of variation occur during children's gradual mastery of a sound pattern? Some current phonotactic learning theories make different predictions about longitudinal variation, based in part on how 'global' or 'local' the data is in each error. Using a newly-published corpus (Smith, 2010) this poster argues that children's productions support the local learning approach and interprets this result as evidence for a serial phonological grammar. :: [poster]
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English Onset Cluster Repairs across Learners: Typologies with OT-Help
This project-in-progress is studying the single and multiple ways that learners repair consonant clusters, including recent data from young L2 English learners, and using OT Help to first derive the repair typology and then consider how to capture multiple repairs.
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Peer Pressure, Phonological Constraints and Contextual Slips of the Tongue
This talk is about the connections between two sound-pattern phenomena: (1) long-distance consonant harmonies, now known to have a fairly wide typology (Hansson 2001, Rose and Walker 2004) and (2) speech errors in which consonants swap or overwrite at a distance (such as mispronouncing 'session' as 'shession'). These two phenomena have a lot (but not everything) in common, and they may help us shed light on issues such as the competence/performance distinction(s) in phonology. The first half of my talk proposes that the grammatical mechanisms that drive consonant harmonies could also be used to cause errors, and sketches how existing constraints and learning assumptions could make this work. This approach is in some sense directly opposed to a different hypothesis -- that in fact speech errors cause consonant harmonies, via phonologization (see esp. Hansson 2001b.) Thus, the second half of my talk begins to tease apart these two causal accounts on some empirical grounds. I find some initial support for the proposal made here, but more importantly I argue that one missing piece of evidence in such a debate will come from more systematic study of children's phonological speech errors. :: [UNC handout]
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Short but not sweet: Markedness preferences and reversals in English hypocoristics
This paper reports two asymmetries in the attested and preferred forms of English first-name truncations, e.g. Peter ? Pete, in data gathered via dictionary searches and a questionnaire ratings study. First, monosyllabic truncations were preferred overall, overwhelmingly due to men?s monosyllables being preferred over bisyllables, and this men?s preference held across pair-wise item comparisons. Second, men?s monosyllabic truncations decreased in acceptability as coda sonority rose, reversing the cross-linguistic preference for sonorous codas, while women?s nicknames showed no such sonority pressure. The analysis provided uses two input truncation morphemes and grammatical OT competition between nickname candidates and the null parse. :: [ CLA poster]
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Morphophonological Acquisition (Book Chapter)
Morphophonology describes the sound patterns of a language that interact with its lexicon of morphemes: how its roots, stems, affixes, compounds etc. are affected phonologically when combined to create words, and also how morphological processes and generalizations rely on phonology in their application. The basic facts of morphophonology come from alternations: multiple surface forms that share semantic content yet differ in their phonological realizations. The extent to which alternations can simply be read off a language?s phonology varies widely: some morphemes interact with phonology very transparently, so that when combined they alternate so as to obey exactly the same phonological regularities as monomorphemic words, while other morphological patterns are exceptions to various aspects of ?simplex? word phonology. In the latter case, the role of phonology in characterizing a morphological alternation can be complete, negligible or somewhere inbetween ? this chapter will be concerned only with those morphological alternations that make at least some crucial reference to sound patterns. The chapter begins by introducing a small but representative range of morphophonological data, with an eye to rule-base and constraint-based accounts of phonology and their interactions with morphology. Second it exemplifies some empirical observations about the nature and stages of morphophonological acquisition, tying them to related proposals about how morphophonology is acquired. Finally it discusses the methodologies and results of experimental studies of morphophonological acquisition. :: [to see a copy of the chapter, please email me.]
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Trajectories of faithfulness in child-specific phonology
This paper analyzes two non-target processes in child phonology: the steady development of faithfulness to complex onsets, contrasted with the U-shaped progress of consonant harmony. We connect this difference to the typology of attested natural languages, and we offer a computational model that generates these patterns by relying on both stored errors and the availability of constraint induction. This learner has two competing sources for productions: previous forms, stored as slowly-decaying errors, and the current grammar?s outputs. Competition causes a gradual increase in faithfulness unless a newly-added markedness constraint, e.g. Agree(MajorPlace), creates a U-shaped trajectory. :: [paper] :: [ materials and scripts]
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Onset Cluster Repair in Early L2 Learners' Phonologies
This study examines the phonological development of children who are learning English as a second language (ESL). We focus on spontaneous speech samples from four children aged 5;04-5;11, from Chinese and South Asian language backgrounds, each with less than a year of exposure to English. Both South Asian-speaking children?s preferred repair for English word-initial consonant clusters is vowel epenthesis: e.g. [p?le?] for ?play?. This result is notable because epenthesis is less common as a cluster reduction strategy in children?s L1 grammars (which typically prefer deletion), yet is very common in adult L2 English and loanword phonologies. The two Chinese-speaking children, on the other hand, produce most clusters faithfully, and deletion represents their most common repair. We demonstrate that these early L2 learners? productions can be understood via the interaction of ranked constraints which have already been motivated in the literature, and that L1 transfer plays a crucial but not exclusive role in determining the nature of early L2 learner phonologies. We conclude that early L2 learners represent an intermediate population between monolingual and adult L2 learners and are thus a unique learner group, whose study is crucial to the understanding of phonological development. :: [abstract] :: [ to see a copy of the paper, please email me.]
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UseListedError: a grammatical account of lexical exceptions in phonological acquisition
This paper attempts to provide an account for exceptionally-pronounced words in children?s developing phonologies, situated within an Optimality-Theoretic, error-driven view of phonological learning. Two kinds of exceptions are discussed here, 'fossilized' and 'precocious' forms, both of which involve a set of words that are in some way out of synch with the learner?s current stage of development (see e.g. Menn 1976, Macken and Ferguson 1983, Bleile and Tomblin 1991.) The present proposal provides a way to keep exceptional forms beyond the reach of the ?core? grammar, while still using an independently-proposed approach to gradual OT learning to progress through and beyond exceptional stages. The core of the idea is to adopt a learner that selective stores and learns from its errors (as in Tessier 2007, 2009), and to add a new kind of constraint -- 'UseListedError' -- which prefers that the learner recycle older pronunciations for stored errors rather than using the current grammar to produce them. :: [NELS 39 proceedings paper]
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Biases in Harmonic Grammar: the road to restrictive learning
In the Optimality-Theoretic learnability and acquisition literature it has been proposed that certain classes of constraints must be biased toward particular rankings (e.g., Markedness >> IO-Faithfulness; Specific IO-Faithfulness >> General IO-Faithfulness). While sometimes difficult to implement efficiently or comprehensively, these biases are necessary to explain how learners acquire the most restrictive grammar consistent with positive evidence from the target language, and how innovative patterns emerge during the course of child phonological development. This paper demonstrates that altering the mode of constraint interaction from strict ranking as in Optimality Theory to additive weighting as in Harmonic Grammar (HG) reduces the number of classes of constraints that must be distinguished by such biases. Using weighted constraints and a version of the Gradual Learning Algorithm (GLA), the only distinction needed is between Output-based constraints, which must be biased toward high weights, and Input- Output-based constraints, which must be biased toward the lowest weights possible. We implement this distinction within the HG-GLA model by assigning different initial weights and plasticity values to the two classes of constraints. This implementation suffices to ensure that restrictive grammars are learned, and also predicts the emergence of a variety of attested intermediate stages during the course of acquisition. :: [paper]
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Frequency of Violation and Constraint-based Phonological Learning
This paper provides two arguments that error-driven learners of constraint-based grammars should not aim to directly mirror the frequency of constraint violation and satisfaction in the target words of a language. The first argument comes from a class of stages attested in phonological development, called Intermediate Faith (IF) stages, in which children produce marked structures only in privileged positions. Two such stages are presented and analyzed, from the literature on English and French L1 acquisition, and their learning consequences are examined. The second argument concerns the degree of restrictiveness that a learner?s end-state grammar encodes, using two hypothetical interactions between learner?s assumptions about hidden structure and developing constraint rankings that can trick a learner into adopting a superset grammar. These two arguments are used to support an approach called Error-Selective Learning (ESL), in which errors are learned and stored gradually, in a way that relies on violation frequency, but rankings themselves are learned in a non-gradual way (relying on the algorithms of Prince and Tesar 2004; Hayes 2004). It is also shown that violation frequencies can still cause problems regardless of a learner?s method of grammatical evaluation ? either ranked constraints as in Optimality Theory, or weighted constraints as in Harmonic Grammar. :: [preprint paper]
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Gradual learning and faithfulness: consequences of ranked vs. weighted constraints.
This paper investigates a class of stages in L1 phonological acquisition where children faithfully produce marked structures only in privileged positions. We present one such stage, referred here to here as an Intermediate Faith (IF) stage, using data from the acquisition of Hebrew reported by Bat-El (2007). The privileged domain in this case is defined morphologically (noun vs. non-noun). We then show how a gradual, on-line learner using weighted constraints as in Harmonic Grammar naturally passes through IF stages, which we model as gang effects between general and specific Faithfulness constraints. Finally, we compare the performance of a ranked constraint learner to that of the HG system developed here. :: [ NELS38 proceedings paper ]
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Learning phonological regularities across modalities
This paper reports two studies aimed at determining how well adults learn novel phonotacics from brief perceptual (auditory) exposure, and how this exposure affects their latter production in a speeded repetition task (following Onishi et al 2002.) The results at this point are used to suggest that, for adults, generalizing novel phonotactic experience across modalities (i.e. from perception to production) is rather hard. Current studies are attempting to clarify this result, using different experimental tasks. :: [LSA2008 handout]
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Biases and Stages in Phonotactic Learning (dissertation)
This dissertation presents Error-Selective Learning, an error-driven model of phonological acquisition in Optimality Theory which is both restrictive and gradual. Together these two properties provide a model that can derive many attested intermediate stages in phonological development, and yet also explains how learners eventually converge on the target grammar.

Error-Selective Learning is restrictive because its ranking algorithm is a version of Biased Constraint Demotion (BCD: Prince and Tesar, 2004). BCD learners store their errors in a table called the Support, and use ranking biases to build the most restrictive ranking compatible with their Support. The version of BCD adopted here has three such biases: (i) one for high-ranking Markedness (Smolensky 1996) (ii) on for high-ranking OO-Faith constraints (McCarthy 1998); Hayes 2004); and (iii) one for ranking specific IO-Faith constraints above general ones (Smith 2000; Hayes 2004).

Error-Selective Learning is gradual because it uses a novel mechanism for introducing errors into the Support. As errors are made they are not immediately used to learn new rankings, but rather stored temporarily in an Error Cache. Learning via BCD is only triggered once some constraint has caused too many errors to be ignored. Once learning is triggered, the learner chooses one best error in the Cache to add to the Support -- an error that will cause minimal changes to the current grammar.

The first main chapter synthesizes the existing arguments for this BCD algorithm, and emphasizes the necessity of the Support's stored errors. The subsequent chapter presents Error-Selective Learning, using cross-linguistic examples of attested intermediate stages that can be accounted for in this approach. The next chapter compares ESL to a well-known alternative, the Gradual Learning Algorithm (GLA: Boersma, 1997, 1998; Boersma and Hayes, 2001), and argues that the GLA is overall not well-suited to learning restrictively because it does not store its errors, and because it cannot reason from errors to rankings in the way that BCD does. The final chapter presents an artificial language learning experiment, designed to test for high-ranking OO-faith in children's grammar, whose results are consistent with the biases and stages of Error-Selective Learning.

[filed version - on ROA, so if it's still not working when you click this link, email me for a copy] :: [2008 book, published by VDM: generally improved, but minus the last chapter.]
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Positional Faith and the theory of intermediate stages in phonological development
This poster discusses the effect of Positional Faith constraints on predicted intermediate stages of learning. It shows how a simple version of Gradual Learning Algorithm (Boesrma 1997, Boersma and Hayes 2001) will not produce one attested stage relying on Positional Faith, and then shows how the Error-Selective Learning approach (presented in my dissertation) can. :: [
BUCLD31 poster]
(It is indeed true that a version of the GLA with a clever enough set of ranking biases can indeed produce the desired intermediate stage; see Tessier 2009 (above) for arguments that these more clever biases will ultimately not provide a sufficient solution to the problem; cf. Jesney and Tessier 2007, 2008 above.)
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Stages of phonological acquisition and Error-Selective Learning
This work makes a proposal of how an error-driven learner, equipped with an OT learning algorithm like the ones proposed by Prince, Tesar, Smolensky, and Hayes (see Tesar and Smolensky 2000; Prince and Tesar 2004; Hayes 2004), could be used to model one part of realistic human learning. The aspect of realism that I am concerned with are the intermediate stages of learning, between initial and final state grammars, that natural L1 learning clearly includes. My approach, called Error-Selective Learning, retains a biased constraint-demotion algorithm for re-ranking (combining much of Prince and Tesar, 2004 and Hayes, 2004), but uses a pickier method of choosing errors to learn from. :: [WCCFL25 proceedings paper]
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Learning Stringency Relations and the Contexts of Faithfulness
Some work in progress about the problems for error-driven constraint demotion, when trying to learn a grammar whose faithfulness constraints are in stringency relations (see esp. Prince and Tesar (2004)). My starting point is the suggestion in Hayes (2004) for keeping track of the relations between structural contexts in the lexicon the learner is building. Here, I begin to investigate how this approach might be implemented, and especially how it might be kept flexible enough to overcome the errors in analyzing structural contexts that learners will inevitably make along the way. :: [ LSA2006 handout]
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Testing for OO-Faithfulness in Artificial Phonological Acquisition
This paper reports the results of a phonological acquisition experiment with English-speaking 4-year olds, designed to test the hypothesis in Hayes (2004) and McCarthy (1998) that children intially assume that morphological paradigms are uniform -- e.g., that they obey high-ranking Output-Output faithfulness constraints. :: [BUCLD30 proceedings paper] [:: a much revised version is now to appear, accepted with revisions in Language Acquisition]
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L1 Phonotactic Knowledge and the L2 Acquisition of Alternations
This paper investigates the central OT claim that the static phonotactic generalizations of a language and its observed phonological alternations are derived from a single grammatical system. We present the results of an experiment which found that native English-speaking adults were better at learning a new phonological alternation that met an English phonotactic target (epenthesis to avoid sub-minimal words) than an alternation that did not meet any such target. :: [UMOP31 paper] :: [book chapter]
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Input "Clusters" and Contrast Preservation in OT
This paper deals with the formalization of contrast preservation in OT, trying to spell out one view of what 'classic' OT properties must be re-assessed to capture contrast across multiple input-output mappings. The base for this work is the proposal in Ania Lubowicz's 2002 UMass dissertation that opaque phonological processes -- such as chain shifts and derived environment effects -- can be understood as explicitly preserving some underlying contrasts. Working from this model, I consider in particular how sets of inputs might be computed to feed into a contrast-preserving EVAL, and which contrast-preserving constraints could then militate against mergers. :: [ WCCFL23 proceedings paper]
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last updated May 26, 2016