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Stratification effects without morphological strata, syllable counting effects without counts – modelling English stress assignment with Naive Discriminative Learning

  • Stress position in English words is well-known to correlate with both their morphological properties and their phonological organisation in terms of non-segmental, prosodic categories like syllable structure. While two generalisations capturing this correlation, directionality and stratification, are well established, the exact nature of the interaction of phonological and morphological factors in English stress assignment is a much debated issue in the literature. The present study investigates if and how directionality and stratification effects in English can be learned by means of Naive Discriminative Learning, a computational model that is trained using error-driven learning and that does not make any a-priori assumptions about the higher-level phonological organisation and morphological structure of words. Based on a series of simulation studies we show that neither directionality nor stratification need to be stipulated as a-priori properties of words or constraints in the lexicon. Stress can be learned solely on the basis of very flat word representations. Morphological stratification emerges as an effect of the model learning that informativity with regard to stress position is unevenly distributed across all trigrams constituting a word. Morphological affix classes like stress-preserving and stress-shifting affixes are, hence, not predefined classes but sets of trigrams that have similar informativity values with regard to stress position. Directionality, by contrast, emerges as spurious in our simulations; no syllable counting or recourse to abstract prosodic representations seems to be necessary to learn stress position in English.
Author:Sabine Arndt-Lappe, Robin Schrecklinger, Fabian Tomaschek
Parent Title (English):Morphology
Series (Volume no.):Trier Center for Language and Communication (32)
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2022/10/18
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Release Date:2023/02/13
GND Keyword:Akzent; Englisch; Maschinelles Lernen; Morphologie 〈Linguistik〉; Phonologie
Institutes:Fachbereich 2
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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