Science Blog has posted a piece on a new algorithm for learning languages (via Mind Hacks):—
Cornell University and Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a method for enabling a computer program to scan text in any of a number of languages, including English and Chinese, and autonomously and without previous information infer the underlying rules of grammar. The rules can then be used to generate new and meaningful sentences. The method also works for such data as sheet music or protein sequences.
"This is the first time an unsupervised algorithm is shown capable of learning complex syntax, generating grammatical new sentences and proving useful in other fields that call for structure discovery from raw data, such as bioinformatics," [Shimon Edelman] said.