Language Acquisition through Intention Reading and Pattern Finding

Jens Nevens, Jonas Doumen, Paul Van Eecke, Katrien Beuls

Onderzoeksoutput: Conference paperResearch


One of AI’s grand challenges consists in the development of autonomous agents with communication systems offering the robustness, flexibility and adaptivity found in human languages. While the processes through which children acquire language are by now relatively well understood, a faithful computational operationalisation of the underlying mechanisms is still lacking. Two main cognitive processes are involved in child language acquisition. First, children need to reconstruct the intended meaning of observed utterances, a process called intention reading. Then, they can gradually abstract away from concrete utterances in a process called pattern finding and acquire productive schemata that generalise over form and meaning. In this paper, we introduce a mechanistic model of the intention reading process and its integration with pattern finding capacities. Concretely, we present an agent-based simulation in which an agent learns a grammar that enables them to ask and answer questions about a scene. This involves the reconstruction of queries that correspond to observed questions based on the answer and scene alone, and the generalization of linguistic schemata based on these reconstructed question-query pairs. The result is a productive grammar which can be used to map between natural language questions and queries without ever having observed the queries.
Originele taal-2English
TitelProceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
UitgeverijInternational Committee on Computational Linguistics
Aantal pagina's11
StatusPublished - 17 okt 2022
Evenement29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics - Gyeongju, Korea, Republic of
Duur: 12 okt 202217 okt 2022
Congresnummer: 29

Publicatie series

NaamProceedings - International Conference on Computational Linguistics, COLING
ISSN van geprinte versie2951-2093


Conference29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Verkorte titelCOLING
Land/RegioKorea, Republic of
Internet adres

Bibliografische nota

Funding Information:
The research reported in this paper was funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) through grants 1SB6219N (JN) and 75929 (PVE), imec’s Smart Education research programme, with support from the Flemish government (JD), and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 951846 (KB).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Proceedings - International Conference on Computational Linguistics, COLING. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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