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A key goal of linguistic theory is to account for the logical problem of language acquisition. In particular, linguistic constraints can be taken as constraining the learner’s hypothesis space and, so, reducing its computational burden. In this paper, I will motivate an information theoretic approach to explaining some linguistic constraints. In particular, the theory attempts to relate ease of acquisition with the simplicity of linguistic representations and their frequency in the learner’s input text. To this end, the paper reviews some results in information theory and Kolmogorov complexity and relates them to a theory of parameters.
Date Posted: 18 September 2006