21 October 2012

Preregister for BUCLD

The deadline to pre-register for BUCLD 37 is Tuesday, October 23, 2012. By pre-registering not only will you receive a reduced rate for the conference, but you will also be able to check-in at the registration desk quickly and proceed to the various exciting talks without waiting in line. Regular full-price registration will continue to be available online from Wednesday, October 24 through Tuesday, October 30. To register, please visit the following website: http://www.bu.edu/bucld/conference-info/registration/

 For general information on the conference including the full schedule, please visit: http://www.bu.edu/bucld

 You can also register for the Society for Language Development Symposium “Neuroplasticity and language” on Thursday November 1, 1-4pm through our website. The SLD would also like to announce a new student award. Please see their website for more information: http://www.bcs.rochester.edu/sld/symposium.html

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.

Pasquereau talks at Linguistics Club on Wednesday

Jeremy Cahill writes:

Next Wednesday, Jérémy Pasquereau, a UMass Amherst PhD student in  
linguistics, will speak at Linguistics Club.

Speaker: Jérémy Pasquereau
Title:   "Language description & endangered/understudied languages: an  
apprentice's view from the Caucasus."
Time:    Wednesday, October 24 at 5:30 PM
Place:   301 South College
RSVP:    jccahill@student.umass.edu

Jérémy writes: "My presentation will have two main parts: one about  
linguistic diversity and obsolescence and another one about 'my  
personal experience.'"

For more on Jérémy's work: http://blogs.umass.edu/jpasquer/

All are welcome. Antonio's pizza will be provided.

Barbara and Volodja at Rutgers

Barbara and Volodja will be at Rutgers from late Sunday October 21 to early Wednesday. They will meet with colleagues and students, Barbara will conduct a couple more interviews for her history project, and Barbara will give two talks.

October 22, 2012. An invited seminar talk in Gilbert Harman and Ernie Lepore's Philosophy of Language Seminar on Semantics and Pragmatics, http://www.princeton.edu/~harman/Courses/PHI534-2012-13/. Barbara's topic: Context dependence and implicit arguments.

October 23, 2012. Invited talk in the Rutgers Cognitive Science colloquium series http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/ruccs/index.php/talks/ruccs-colloquia “Psychologism and Anti-psychologism in the History of Semantics”.

Aleksei Nazarov sings on Saturday

Aleksei Nazarov writes:

You are all cordially invited to the Amherst College Choral Society
Family Weekend Concert, which will take place Saturday, October 27 at
12 PM, in Buckley Recital Hall (the modernist building closest to the
B43 bus stop) at Amherst College. The Amherst College Concert Choir,
of which I am a member, will sing, among others, a chorus from an opera recently composed by Cheryl Zoll's husband, Eric Sawyer. Other works to be performed include parts of Brahms' motet "Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen?", the gospel classic "Elijah Rock", the beautiful number "Gold" from the musical "Once", and good ol' traditional Amherst College songs ("The Amherst team is out to win today"). The concert is FREE for Five College students with ID, $5 for children and senior citizens, $10 for general admission. 

Tickets may be reserved by email to mchernin@amherst.edu or phone call to (413) 542-2484.

Dan Swingley visited UMass on Friday

Dan Swingley, University of Pennsylvania, gave the department colloquium last Friday, October 19. The title and abstract of his talk follows.

Phonetic learning and phonological interpretation

What do infants learn when they begin to discover their language? Cognitive psychologists considering phonological development generally favor perceptual-learning, "bottom up" accounts of phonetic category learning, and tend to identify such categories with phonological categories.  Clinicians generally view the lexicon as more important and hold that much of the developmental action takes place after the first year.  I will argue for a hybrid in which the lexicon is important, but right from the beginning.  Young infants learn words and sounds at the same time--but take a long time to figure out how phonological categories should be interpreted.  I will discuss possible solutions to the problem of phonetic category discovery, and experiments on phonetic interpretation in word learning and word recognition.