Interaction with Context During Recurrent Neural Network Sentence Processing

AbstractSyntactic ambiguities in isolated sentences can lead to increased difficulty in incremental sentence processing, a phenomenon known as a garden-path effect. This difficulty, however, can be alleviated for humans when they are presented with supporting discourse contexts. We tested whether recurrent neural network (RNN) language models (LMs) could learn linguistic representations that are similarly influenced by discourse context. RNN LMs have been claimed to learn a variety of syntactic constructions. However, recent work has suggested that pragmatically conditioned syntactic phenomena are not acquired by RNNs. In comparing model behavior to human behavior, we show that our models can, in fact, learn pragmatic constraints that alleviate garden-path effects given the correct training and testing conditions. This suggests that some aspects of linguistically relevant pragmatic knowledge can be learned from distributional information alone.

Return to previous page