Virginia Valian


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Learning Pronoun Case from Distributional Cues: Flexible Frames for Case Acquisition
Xiaomeng Ma | Martin Chodorow | Virginia Valian
Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics

Case is an abstract grammatical feature that indicates argument relationship in a sentence. In English, cases are expressed on pronouns, as nominative case (e.g. I, he), accusative case (e.g. me, him) and genitive case (e.g. my, his). Children correctly use cased pronouns at a very young age. How do they acquire abstract case in the first place, when different cases are not associated with different meanings? This paper proposes that the distributional patterns in parents’ input could be used to distinguish grammatical cases in English.