How Many Mechanisms Are Needed to Analyze Speech? A Connectionist Simulation of Structural Rule Learning in Artificial Language Acquisition


should be send to Aarre Laakso, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4020 CASL Building, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128. E-mail:


Some empirical evidence in the artificial language acquisition literature has been taken to suggest that statistical learning mechanisms are insufficient for extracting structural information from an artificial language. According to the more than one mechanism (MOM) hypothesis, at least two mechanisms are required in order to acquire language from speech: (a) a statistical mechanism for speech segmentation; and (b) an additional rule-following mechanism in order to induce grammatical regularities. In this article, we present a set of neural network studies demonstrating that a single statistical mechanism can mimic the apparent discovery of structural regularities, beyond the segmentation of speech. We argue that our results undermine one argument for the MOM hypothesis.