2014 Mar 07

Universals: Gaja Jarosz

Registration Closed 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Boylston 103
Modeling the Acquisition of Phonological Structure
Gaja Jarosz, Yale University
A rapidly growing research area in phonology investigates the grammatical underpinnings of gradient acceptability and the kinds of computational models that can explain human learning of such knowledge from language input.  An important and consistent finding of this work is that knowledge of gradient and statistical patterns references the same phonological representations and principles that are relevant in the...
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2013 Nov 07

Universals: Paul de Lacy

5:00pm to 6:30pm


Boylston 303

What counts as evidence for universals?

Abstract: My talk is about Generative theories of the phonological module (PhM). I will identify some core requirements that such theories impose on evidence for the PhM, then discuss several cases where these evidential requirements are not met. I will then argue that these cases are fairly representative of work in phonological theory, with the consequence that an unknown (but presumably large) number of claims about PhM universals have an uncertain status.

Some optional background reading:

de Lacy, Paul (...

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2014 Apr 18

Circles: Alec Marantz (NYU)

4:30pm to 6:00pm


Boylston 103

Competition and Prediction in Word Processing: MEG Studies of Visual and Auditory Word Recognition

Abstract: Recent experimental evidence supports the view that entropy (uncertainty) over the representations consistent with the linguistic input and surprisal of processed input relative to this entropy drives brain responses in language processing – not the competition between representations consistent with the input. Thus, for example, high cohort entropy (and thus high competition among members of a cohort, i.e., the words consistent with auditory input up to...

Read more about Circles: Alec Marantz (NYU)
2014 Mar 28

Circles: Sharon Inkelas (UC Berkeley)

4:30pm to 6:00pm


Boylston 103

ABC+Q: segmental subdivisions in correspondence

Abstract: Phonological theory has long been challenged by the behavior of contour segments and contour tones in harmony patterns. Sometimes these entities participate in phonology as whole units; at other times, their subsegmental parts act independently. This talk, based on joint work with Stephanie Shih (Stanford/Berkeley), builds on insights from Aperture Theory (Steriade 1993), Articulatory Phonology (Browman and Goldstein 1989; Gafos 2002) and Autosegmental Theory (Goldsmith 1976) to propose a novel...

Read more about Circles: Sharon Inkelas (UC Berkeley)
2013 Oct 11

Circles: Philippe Schlenker (NYU/Institut Jean-Nicod)

4:00pm to 5:30pm


Boylston 103

Reference: Insights from Sign Language (ASL and LSF)

Abstract: We argue that sign language data (here: ASL and LSF) can bring crucial insights into mechanisms of reference in language.

  1. First, non-indexical pronouns are traditionally taken to come with unpronounced indices that provide them with a referential value. Sign languages have the advantage that these indices are arguably overt (Lillo-Martin and Klima 1990): coreference is typically established by assigning a position (or 'locus') to the antecedent, and by pointing back towards that...
Read more about Circles: Philippe Schlenker (NYU/Institut Jean-Nicod)