My name is Alexander Clark. I am interested in language from various philosophical, computational and mathematical perspectives, with a focus particularly on understanding how the acquisition of natural language syntax is possible.

Most of my recent work has centered around constructing learning algorithms for various types of grammars based on ideas of distributional learning, and proving there correctness under various learning paradigms.

My recent papers are available on this website, and occasionally I (plan to) blog about technical or methodological issues in the field.

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Upper and lower bounds

A small methodological issue. Suppose you are interested in identifying some single ingredient behind the faculty of language, some property that distinguishes humans from non-humans. This has to be some property that humans have that non-humans don’t have. So the argument needs to have two parts: a claim that humans have this property and a claim that non-humans don’t have this property. So this can’t be an upper bound on the human ability, but needs to be a lower bound. [Read More]