Modeling the Interaction Between Perception-Based and Production-Based Learning in Children’s Early Acquisition of Semantic Knowledge

Mitja Nikolaus, Abdellah Fourtassi


Abstract
Children learn the meaning of words and sentences in their native language at an impressive speed and from highly ambiguous input. To account for this learning, previous computational modeling has focused mainly on the study of perception-based mechanisms like cross-situational learning. However, children do not learn only by exposure to the input. As soon as they start to talk, they practice their knowledge in social interactions and they receive feedback from their caregivers. In this work, we propose a model integrating both perception- and production-based learning using artificial neural networks which we train on a large corpus of crowd-sourced images with corresponding descriptions. We found that production-based learning improves performance above and beyond perception-based learning across a wide range of semantic tasks including both word- and sentence-level semantics. In addition, we documented a synergy between these two mechanisms, where their alternation allows the model to converge on more balanced semantic knowledge. The broader impact of this work is to highlight the importance of modeling language learning in the context of social interactions where children are not only understood as passively absorbing the input, but also as actively participating in the construction of their linguistic knowledge.
Anthology ID:
2021.conll-1.31
Volume:
Proceedings of the 25th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning
Month:
November
Year:
2021
Address:
Online
Venues:
CoNLL | EMNLP
SIG:
SIGNLL
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
391–407
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.conll-1.31
DOI:
Bibkey:
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.conll-1.31.pdf
Software:
 2021.conll-1.31.Software.zip
Code
 mitjanikolaus/perception-and-production-based-learning