Abstract: The goal of this tutorial is to bring the fields of computational linguistics and computational cognitive science closer: we will introduce different stages of language acquisition and their parallel problems in NLP. As an example, one of the early challenges children face is mapping the meaning of word labels (such as “cat”) to their referents (the furry animal in the living room). Word learning is similar to the word alignment problem in machine translation. We explain the current computational models of language acquisition, their limitations, and how the insights from these models can be incorporated into NLP applications. Moreover, we discuss how we can take advantage of the cognitive science of language in computational linguistics: for example, by designing cognitively-motivated evaluations task or buildings language-learning inductive biases into our models.
Authors: Aida Nematzadeh, Richard Futrell, Roger Levy (DeepMind, UC Irvine, MIT)