Does Grammar Start Where Statistics Stop?

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Science  18 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5593, pp. 553-554
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078094

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How do we acquire language? Do we identify words in a stream of speech by identifying statistical regularities or by seeking grammatical structure? A new study of adults (Peña et al.) suggests that language acquisition involves a mixture of both types of learning. But, as Seidenberg and colleagues discuss in their Perspective, distinguishing between these two types of learning presents significant challenges.