New Thoughts On Language Acquisition: Toddlers As Data Miners

Indiana University researchers are studying a ground-breaking theory that young children are able to learn large groups of words rapidly by data-mining.

Their theory, which they have explored with 12- and 14-month-olds, takes a radically different approach to the accepted view that young children learn words one at a time — something they do remarkably well by the age of 2 but not so well before that.

Data mining, usually computer-assisted, involves analyzing and sorting through massive amounts of raw data to find relationships, correlations and ultimately useful information.
[…]
“This new discovery changes completely how we understand children’s word learning,” Smith said. “It’s very exciting.”




  1. Calin says:

    Wow, that’s fascinating. I coded a variation of Han’s FP-tree about a year ago. It’s odd to think of it working like that in the human mind.

  2. BubbaRay says:

    “The learning mechanisms used by the children to learn words also could be used to further machine learning.”

    Simply amazing. Maybe we can actually get a machine to learn a few words and get that ‘voice to text’ feature Heinlein et al. promised us in the 1950s.

    In best Jimmy Doohan (Scotty) voice:
    “Hello, computer … How quaint, a keyboard.”

  3. edwinrogers says:

    Isaac Newton couldn’t speak until he was four.

  4. JimR says:

    A developed nation’s human rights violation….
    children working in data mines.


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