Syntactic Bootstrapping

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  • Bootstrapping, in the context of language acquisition theory, refers to the use of one body or type of information to initialize or implement acquisition of a system of a different kind, for example to derive meaning from structure. Two major examples are semantic bootstrapping and syntactic bootstrapping, both designed as accounts of vocabulary acquisition and its link to syntactic structure. Semantic bootstrapping, introduced by Steven Pinker, posits that knowledge gained from observing a new word's situational context (e.g., seeing a dog) while hearing someone say dog is used as the first basis for constructing a meaning category (the concrete object term dog), which in turn, triggers a lexical-class assignment (noun) and, ultimately, a syntactic structure (noun phrase). In the theory of syntactic bootstrapping, introduced by ...

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