28 September 2014

Call for papers: Computational Phonology Workshop

The implications of computation and learnability for phonological theory

Crystallizing a feeling widespread in the field, Mark van Oostendorp (2013) writes: ''It is fair to say that we know much more about sound patterns in human language than people did at the beginning of the 20th Century. At the same time, many phonologists seem to feel that we have not yet reached the standards of some of the ‘hard’ sciences.'' An obstacle to progress seems to be the fact that competing phonological theories are underdetermined by sheer typological and linguistic data. Moving beyond descriptive adequacy, Alan Prince thus proposes that ''rational arguments about two theories’ comparative success […] depend on a broad assessment of their properties.'' Among the formal properties of a phonological theory which are crucial for its comparative assessment are its computability and learnability properties. 

This workshop thus aims at investigating the implications of computation and learnability for phonological theory. The issues addressed include (but are not limited to): the computability/intractability of phonological grammars and the debate among derivational, representational, and constraint-based frameworks; learnability guarantees and the debate between competing modes of constraint interaction; the characterization of phonological patterns within the sub-regular hierarchy and the expressive power of phonological formalisms; the learnability filter and its implications for the evaluation of the typologies predicted by competing phonological theories; methods for constraint induction and the phonetic grounding of the phonological constraints; statistical methods, probabilistic grammars and the divide between categorical and gradient models of phonological competence; the learnability of phonological processes conditioned by prosodic domains and its implications for the syntax/phonology interface. The workshop adopts an inclusive perspective, open to any computational approach and any phonological framework. 

Invited speakers:

Paul Boersma (University of Amsterdam)

Bruce Tesar (Rutgers University)

Important dates:

abstract submission deadline: December 1st, 2014

notification of acceptance: February 15th, 2015

workshop date: April 18th, 2015


We invite abstracts for a 20 minute oral presentation followed by a 10 minute discussion. Abstracts should be anonymous and should not exceed 2 pages in length (A4 or letter-size, in 12 pt. font, with 1-inch/2.5-cm margins), including examples and references. The language of the workshop is English. Abstracts should be submitted through the GLOW 38 Easychair page (https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=glow38), specifying that the submission should be considered for the workshop.

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/2015glow/home


Joaquim Brandao de Carvalho,

Mohamed Lahrouchi,

Giorgio Magri,

Michela Russo