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Kwon, Soohyun. 2019. Testing the productivity of the short-a tensing rule of Philadelphia English: The computational framework. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 25.3. 369-385


In this article, I address the learnability problem of linguistic rules with a large number of exceptions, using a computational framework. I investigate how children in Philadelphia learn short-a tensing, a rule subject to complex conditioning and many exceptions. Based on corpus statistics from the CHILDES database, I show that the tensing rule can be productively applied by children, confirming the Tolerance Principle (Yang 2005, Yang 2016), a computational model that makes quantitative predictions about the productivity of rules based on the distribution of input data. Also, I simulate a child’s acquisition of the short-a tensing rule with heterogeneous inputs and demonstrate that the Tolerance Principle correctly predicts that children receiving limited input may fail to master the rule. (Seoul National University, Lecturer) 


Keywords: Learnability, Productivity, Tolerance principle, Computational framework, CHILDES database

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