Empiricism and language learnability

book cover


This book explores one of the central problems in theoretical linguistics: learnability. The chapters, written from different perspectives—linguistics, philosophy, computer science, psychology, and cognitive science—explore the idea that language acquisition proceeds through general purpose learning mechanisms, an approach that is broadly empiricist both methodologically and psychologically. For many years, the empiricist approach has been taken to be infeasible on practical and theoretical grounds. This book presents a variety of precisely specified mathematical and computational models that show that empiricist approaches can form a viable solution to the problem of language acquisition.

Oxford University Press