21 October 2012

John Hale gives department colloq on Friday

John Hale, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Cornell, will present the department colloquium on Friday, October 26, at 3:30PM in Machmer E-37. The title and abstract of his talk follow.

Experience as a Control Strategy for Incremental Parsing

This talk presents a family of computer models that are intended to capture syntactic aspects of incremental human sentence comprehension. These algorithmic models build on the Garden Path Theory of Frazier, Clifton & colleagues as well as the seminal work of Rick Lewis. However, they go beyond these classic approaches by introducing experience as a key element of the control strategy. The talk assesses the implications of this move by looking at attachment ambiguities and garden path sentences. Along the way, we re-encounter some classic questions about the inter-relationships between learning, grammar and cognitive architecture that can be answered, at least provisionally, by expressing the model within Soar 9, where reinforcement learning is applicable at all levels of abstraction. This demonstration illustrates one way that grammar might fit into the rest of cognition.