Twomey, Chang, and Ambridge
Do as I say, not as I do: A lexical distributional account of English locative verb class acquisition
Children overgeneralise verbs to ungrammatical structures early in acquisition, but retreat from these overgeneralisations as they learn semantic verb classes. In a large corpus of English locative utterances (e.g., the woman sprayed water onto the wall/wall with water), we found structural biases which changed over development and which could explain overgeneralisation behaviour. Children and adults had similar verb classes and a correspondence analysis suggested that lexical distributional regularities in the adult input could help to explain the acquisition of these classes. A connectionist model provided an explicit account of how structural biases could be learned over development and how these biases could be reduced by learning verb classes from distributional regularities.