(Please note that the time differs from the regular meeting time)
Interpreting pronouns in context is a complex linguistic task, especially when cues to a pronoun’s intended interpretation conflict. Children have to learn to interpret pronouns like adults do, and developmental modeling can help identify what needs to change for them to do so. Here, I present a case study of pronoun interpretation in Mexican Spanish, using computational cognitive modeling to capture observed differences between children and adults interpreting pronouns in context. We find that both adults and children are likely to represent relevant information inaccurately, but children are inaccurate in different ways than adults. In addition, we find that only adults selectively ignore information from their representations. So, from a developmental perspective, these modeling results suggest that children must learn the right, adult-like ways to be inaccurate when it comes to representing and deploying information for interpreting pronouns in context.
Lisa Pearl is a Professor of Language Science at the University of California, Irvine. One core area of research for her is language development, using computational and mathematical tools to understand how children learn many different aspects of their native language system in a mostly unsupervised way. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from UMaryland in 2007, where she was advised by Amy Weinberg and Jeff Lidz.