A MDL-based Model of Gender Knowledge Acquisition

Marchal, Harmony and Lemaire, Benoit and Bianco, Maryse and Dessus, Philippe (2008) A MDL-based Model of Gender Knowledge Acquisition. [Conference Paper]

Full text available as:

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



This paper presents an iterative model of knowledge acquisition of gender information associated with word endings in French. Gender knowledge is represented as a set of rules containing exceptions. Our model takes noun-gender pairs as input and constantly maintains a list of rules and exceptions which is both coherent with the input data and minimal with respect to a minimum description length criterion. This model was compared to human data at various ages and showed a good fit. We also compared the kind of rules discovered by the model with rules usually extracted by linguists and found interesting discrepancies.

Item Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:gender assignment,computational model,minimum description length
Subjects:Psychology > Applied Cognitive Psychology
Linguistics > Computational Linguistics
ID Code:6177
Deposited By: Lemaire, Benoit
Deposited On:30 Aug 2008 23:21
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Casalis, S., Louis-Alexandre, M.-F. (2000). Morphological

analysis, phonological analysis and learning to read French. Reading and Writing, 12, 303-335.

Chater, N. (1999). The search for simplicity: A fundamental

cognitive principle? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52A, 273-302.

Chater, N., & Vitányi, P. (2003). Simplicity: a unifying

principle in cognitive science? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(1), 19-22.

Chater, N., & Vitanyi, P. (2007) ‘Ideal learning’ of natural language: Positive results about learning from positive evidence. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 51(3), 35-163.

Feldman, J. (2003). Perceptual Grouping by Selection of a Logically Minimal Model. International Journal of Computer Vision, 55(1), 5-25.

Grünwald, P. (2005). Minimum description length tutorial. In P. D. Grünwald, I. J. Myung & M. Pitt (Eds.), Advances in MDL: Theory and Applications (pp. 23-80). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Holmes, V.M., & Segui, J. (2004). Sublexical and lexical influences on gender assignment in French. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 33(6), 425-457.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1979). A functional approach to child language. Cambridge University Press.

Lété, B., Sprenger-Charolles, L., & Colé, P. (2004). MANULEX: A grade-level lexical database from French elementary-school readers. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 156-166.

Marchal, H., Bianco, M., Dessus, P. & Lemaire, B. (2007). The Development of Lexical Knowledge: Toward a Model of the Acquisition of Lexical Gender in French. Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Cognitive Science, 268-273.

Matthews, C. A. (2005). French gender attribution on the basis of similarity: A comparison between AM and connectionist models. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, 12(2-3), 262-296.

Meunier, F., Seigneuric, A., Spinelli, E. (2008). The morpheme gender effect. Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 88-99.

Pfahringer, B. (1997). Compression-Based Pruning of Decision Lists, in Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Machine Learning, 199-212.

Riegel, M., Pellat, J.C., & Rioul, R. (2005). Grammaire méthodique du français. Paris: PUF. Rissanen, J. (1978). Modeling by shortest data description. Automatica, 14, 465-471.

Rivest, R.L. (1987). Learning Decision Lists. Machine Learning 2,3 (1987), 229-246.

Skousen, R. (2003). Analogical Modeling: Exemplars, Rules, and Quantum Computing. Berkeley Linguistics Society


Repository Staff Only: item control page