The development of nonadjacent dependency learning in natural and artificial languages

Michelle Sandoval, Rebecca L. Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Nonadjacent dependencies occur over one or more intervening units and require learners to track discontinuous sequential relationships. These discontinuous relationships are present at multiple levels in language (e.g., as seen in morphosyntactic dependencies and at the phonological level in vowel harmony). Experiments suggest that these dependencies are acquired using statistical learning mechanisms and that this learning is also affected by perceptual biases. Artificial and natural language studies have shown that infants are sensitive to these statistical regularities but there appear to be developmental constraints on learning. Developmental investigations have also examined how knowledge and processing of the intervening elements affect learning, and whether categories can be acquired using nonadjacent dependency information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Psychology


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