LINGUIST List 11.172

Thu Jan 27 2000

Confs: Statistical Physics & Lang Change/ Lisbon 2000

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  1. Sonia Frota, Statistical Physics & Language Change - Lisbon 2000

Message 1: Statistical Physics & Language Change - Lisbon 2000

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 19:44:27 -0000
From: Sonia Frota <>
Subject: Statistical Physics & Language Change - Lisbon 2000

Extended Workshop: "Lisbon 2000: Statistical Physics, Pattern Identification
and Language Change"
Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
1-25 February, 2000

Short Summary
The aim of this workshop is to investigate how Statistical Physics can help
elucidating two long-standing linguistic questions: how does language change
proceed in time, and what triggers syntactic change, in particular what is
the role of prosody in syntactic change. Empirical data will be provided by
the recent history of the pronominal clitic system of Portuguese. The Tycho
Brahe Parsed Corpus of Historical Portuguese will be intensively exploited
for this purpose.

The theoretical frameworks of the discussion are the Generative Grammar
approach to language and the Thermodynamical Formalism from Statistical
Physics. The former includes the Minimalist version of the Theory of
Principles and Parameters and Optimality Theory. The latter has been used in
recent years as a basis for models of pattern identification, and for
understanding critical phenomena in complex systems. In the present
discussion, the Thermodynamical Formalism provides a model for the
interaction between prosody and syntax in language acquisition.
The topics to be discussed during the workshop include: the interface
between prosody and syntax in the general architecture of grammar; the
implementation of a model for the interaction between syntax and prosody
through the Thermodynamical Formalism; the relationship between acoustic
data and phonological descriptions; the notions of Energy-Harmony in
Optimality Theory as a tool to define stress patterns; combinatorial
problems in the research of optimal rhythmic patterns, and the development
of the Sotaq processor; parameters involved in the change which took place
from Classical to Modern European Portuguese; language changes and generic
bifurcations of dynamical systems, relations with genetic evolution;
linguistic and computational issues related to the construction of
historical linguistic corpora, including the implementation of tagging
algorithms to morphologically rich languages; the design of syntactic
parsers for non-rigid word order languages; statistical issues in linguistic

Further information (full program and related links)

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