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Why are some word orders more common than others? A uniform information density account

Why are some word orders more common than others? A uniform information density account

This video was recorded at Video Journal of Machine Learning Abstracts - Volume 1. Languages vary widely in many ways, including their canonical word order. A basic aspect of the observed variation is the fact that some word orders are much more common than others. Although this regularity has been recognized for some time, it has not been well-explained. In this paper we offer an information-theoretic explanation for the observed word-order distribution across languages, based on the concept of Uniform Information Density (UID). We suggest that object-first languages are particularly disfavored because they are highly non-optimal if the goal is to distribute information content approximately evenly throughout a sentence, and that the rest of the observed word-order distribution is at least... Show More
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