Usage-based learning of grammatical categories

Luc Steels, Paul Van Eecke, Katrien Beuls

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


Human languages use a wide range of grammatical categories
to constrain which words or phrases can fill certain slots in grammatical
patterns and to express additional meanings, such as tense or aspect,
through morpho-syntactic means. These grammatical categories, which
are most often language-specific and changing over time, are difficult to
define and learn. This paper raises the question how these categories can
be acquired and where they have come from. We explore a usage-based
approach. This means that categories and grammatical constructions are
selected and aligned by their success in language interactions. We report
on a multi-agent experiment in which agents are endowed with mechanisms for understanding and producing utterances as well as mechanisms
for expanding their inventories using a meta-level learning process based
on pro- and anti-unification. We show that a categorial type network
which has scores based on the success in a language interaction leads to
the spontaneous formation of grammatical categories in tandem with the
formation of grammatical patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBNAIC 2018 Preproceedings
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2018
Event30th Benelux Conference on Artificial Intelligence - BNAIC 2018 - Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Nov 20189 Nov 2018

Publication series

NameBelgian/Netherlands Artificial Intelligence Conference
ISSN (Print)1568-7805


Conference30th Benelux Conference on Artificial Intelligence - BNAIC 2018
Internet address


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