Experiments on the Acquisition of Linguistic Competence for Communicating Propositional ...
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Monday, 20 April 2009
Next Monday, April 27th, prof. Josefina Sierra from UPC will give the seminar: "Experiments on the Acquisition of Linguistic Competence for Communicating Propositional Logic Sentences." The seminar will be held at the Aula Artigas at 11:00h.

Abstract: We describe some experiments which simulate a grounded approach to language acquisition in a population of autonomous agents without prior linguistic knowledge. The idea is to let the agents acquire at the same time a conceptualisation of their environment and a shared language (lexicon and grammar) which allows them to express facts about their environment in a way that could be understood by other agents in the population. The approach used to simulate the conceptualisation and the language acquisition processes in each individual agent is based on general purpose cognitive capacities, such as visual perception, categorisation, discrimination, evaluation, invention, adoption and induction. The emergence of a shared language in the population, and therefore the acquisition of a common set of linguistic conventions by the individual agents, results from a process of self-organisation of a particular type of linguistic interaction, known as a language game, which takes place among the agents in the population. The experiments show that at the end of a simulation run the agents build different conceptualisations and different grammars. However, these conceptualisations and grammars are compatible enough to guarantee the unambiguous communication of propositional logic formulas. We also show that the categorisers of the perceptual and logical categories built during the conceptualisation and language acquisition processes can be used for some forms of common sense reasoning, such as determining whether a sentence is a tautology, a contradiction, a common sense axiom or a merely satisfiable formula, in a very restricted domain. Although this form of intuitive reasoning requires the agents to be conscious of the fact that they use certain categorisers and of the behaviour of such categorisers.

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