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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2004, Vol. 35, No. 2, Pages 219-253
(doi: 10.1162/002438904323019057)
© 2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Using Inconsistency Detection to Overcome Structural Ambiguity
Article PDF (172.18 KB)

The Inconsistency Detection Learner (IDL) is an algorithm for language learning that addresses the problem of structural ambiguity.If an overt form is structurally ambiguous, the learner must be capable of inferring which interpretation of the overt form is correct by reference to other overt data of the language.The IDL does this by attempting to construct grammars for combinations of interpretations of the overt forms, and discarding those combinations that are inconsistent. The potential of this algorithm for overcoming the combinatorial growth in combinations of interpretations is supported by computational results from an implementation of the IDL using an optimality-theoretic system of metrical stress grammars.