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Something old and something new

Word learning as the interaction of statistical association and dynamic competition

McMurray, B., Apfelbaum, K. S., Toscano, J. C., & Samuelson, L. K. (2010, March). Paper presented at the 2010 International Conference on Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD.


Research on word learning is riddled with meta-theoretical claims about the difficulty of the problem–the amount of ambiguity; the rate of acquisition; non-obvious or conceptual information sources—that point toward specialized mechanisms attuned for lexical development... Read more →

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Statistical learning, cross-linguistic constraints, and the acquisition of speech categories

A computational approach

Toscano, J. C. and McMurray, B. (2005, November). Paper presented at the 11th Midcontinental Workshop on Phonology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.


Infants learning the phonetic categories of their native language must recognize which distinctions are relevant to their language and which are not. While they initially discriminate both native and non-native phoneme contrasts, infants quickly learn to discriminate only those contrasts that are present in their language (Werker & Tees, 1984), and eventually form language-appropriate phonetic categories... Read more →

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