Learning Parametric Stress without Domain-Specific Mechanisms

Aleksei Nazarov, Gaja Jarosz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


State-of-the-art learning mechanisms for stress in Optimality Theory (see, e.g., Tesar and Smolensky 2000; Boersma and Pater 2016; Jarosz 2013) make use of probabilistic mechanisms that are domain-general in that they do not refer to the content of constraints and must not be in UG. By contrast, Pearl (2007, 2011) has argued that domain-general probabilistic learners of parametric grammars (Yang 2002) are insufficient for word stress, and, instead, domain-general learning mechanisms must be stipulated in UG alongside the parameters themselves. We propose a modification of Yang’s (2002) learner based on Jarosz’s (2015) learner for Optimality Theory: the Expectation Driven Parameter Learner, and show that this modification yields a dramatic improvement in accuracy (from 4.3% to 96%) on a representative typology generated by Dresher and Kaye’s (1990) parameter set. This suggests that domain-general learning mechanisms may be sufficient for learning stress after all, contra Pearl (2007, 2011), regardless of which grammatical representation (parameters or violable constraints) is a better reflection of the human language capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 Meeting on Phonology
EditorsKaren Jesney, Charlie O'Hara, Caitlin Smith, Rachel Walker
Place of PublicationWashington, DC
PublisherLinguistic Society of America
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 Annual Meeting on Phonology - University of Southern California, Los Angeles, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 201623 Oct 2016
https://amp2016usc.wordpress.com/ (Link to Conference Website)

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting on Phonology
PublisherLinguistic Society of America
ISSN (Print)2377-3324


Conference2016 Annual Meeting on Phonology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles
Internet address


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