Project Goal

This project examines the nature of language acquisition in computers by implementing techniques similar to those used by children to acquire language. We have focused primarily on morphology and syntax, developing methods to allow a computer to gain knowledge of these aspects of language. We have developed programs in both C++ and Java.

Regarding morphology, the program is able to analyze the word structure of given languages and distinguish between languages in different samples of text using bigram frequencies, and we have examined the usefulness and limitations of this method in the context of existing methods. Using this technique we have developed computationally understandable definitions of English, French and Spanish morphologies. We have also described and partially implemented a technique for understanding the syntax of a language using a minimum of initial input and recursive methods. Finally, we provide suggestions for future work regarding the further development of our methods for understanding syntax as well as potential methods for gaining a rudimentary understanding of semantics.