Exploiting Syllable Structure in a Connectionist Phonology Model

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 3 (NIPS 1990)

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David Touretzky, Deirdre Wheeler


In a previous paper (Touretzky & Wheeler, 1990a) we showed how adding a clustering operation to a connectionist phonology model produced a parallel pro(cid:173) cessing account of certain "iterative" phenomena. In this paper we show how the addition of a second structuring primitive, syllabification, greatly increases the power of the model. We present examples from a non-Indo-European language that appear to require rule ordering to at least a depth of four. By adding syllab(cid:173) ification circuitry to structure the model's perception of the input string, we are able to handle these examples with only two derivational steps. We conclude that in phonology, derivation can be largely replaced by structuring.