Learning Phonological Mappings by Learning Strictly Local Functions


  • Jane Chandlee University of Delaware
  • Adam Jardine University of Delaware




Phonological Processes, Learning Algorithm, Computational Property, Strict Locality


In this paper we identify strict locality as a defining computational property of the input-output mapping that underlies local phonological processes. We provide an automata-theoretic characterization for the class of Strictly Local functions, which are based on the well-studied Strictly Local formal languages (McNaughton & Papert 1971; Rogers & Pullum 2011; Rogers et al. 2013), and show how they can model a range of phonological processes. We then present a learning algorithm, the SLFLA, which uses the defining property of strict locality as an inductive principle to learn these mappings from finite data. The algorithm is a modification of an algorithm developed by Oncina et al. (1993) (called OSTIA) for learning the class of subsequential functions, of which the SL functions are a proper subset. We provide a proof that the SLFLA learns the class of SL functions and discuss these results alongside previous studies on using OSTIA to learn phonological mappings (Gildea and Jurafsky 1996).