Cue strength

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In order to define cue strength, one first has to define the concept of a cue. This has to be done separately in each content domain. A linguistic cue involves a marking of a linguistic function by a linguistic form. In comprehension, the cue is the form and cues compete for assignment to functions. Markings can be of three types: morphological (affixes and intonations), lexical semantics (animacy, classifiers), and syntactic (word order). Cues are used to mark lingusitic functions, such as case role, attachment, or coreference. For each cue, we can assess its strength by placing it in competition with other cues in experiments designed specifically to measure relative cue strength. Assuming a standard within-subjects ANOVA design, strength is then measured by fitting a maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) model to the data. The notion of cue strength can also be applied to other cognitive domains in a parallel fashion. (Brian MacWhinney)

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