LINGUIST List 12.1200

Tue May 1 2001

Calls: Phonological Acquisition, NLE Analysis

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Sharon Peperkamp, Early Phonological Acquisition - Workshop, France
  2. Vincenzo Pallotta, NLE Journal: Robust Methods in Analysis of Natural Lang Data

Message 1: Early Phonological Acquisition - Workshop, France

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 16:12:59 +0200
From: Sharon Peperkamp <>
Subject: Early Phonological Acquisition - Workshop, France

Workshop on Early Phonological Acquisition

October 6-8, 2001

Carry-le-Rouet (Marseilles), France

Invited speakers:

Michael Brent, Washington University

Emmanuel Dupoux, Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et

Mark Hale, Concordia University

Bruce Hayes, UCLA

Peter Jusczyk, Johns Hopkins University

John Kingston, University of Massachusetts

Jim Morgan, Brown University

Marina Nespor, University of Ferrara

Joe Pater, University of Massachusetts

Janet Pierrehumbert, Northwestern University

Douglas Pulleyblank, University of British Columbia

Jim Scobbie, Queen Margaret University College

Dan Swingley, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Bruce Tesar, Rutgers University

Call for Posters

Phonological acquisition has been a research topic in both theoretical
linguistics and experimental psychology. Much progress has been made on
either side, and researchers from these disciplines can undoubtedly
benefit from each other's findings.

On the one hand, phonologists typically gather early production data to
describe the various stages in the acquisition process. They have
provided much evidence that children's productions evolve from
universally unmarked structures to the marked structures present in their
ambient language. However, experimental research with infants shows that
phonological acquisition begins right after birth and develops
considerably during the first year of life, i.e. before the first words
are uttered. Although the development in production resembles the one in
perception in certain respects, there are also many divergences. A valid
theory of phonological acquisition should contain a description of the
initial state and hence take into consideration the earliest perception

Phonologists have also proposed models of how phonological systems might
be acquired by young children. These models contain concrete algorithms
by which children could derive parts of the phonological grammar of their
language, but they are based upon the assumption that children have
access to individual word forms, often coupled with their meaning. This
latter assumption is highly unrealistic for the same reason that much of
the native phonology appears to be acquired before word segmentation is
in place and before lexical acquisition has started altogether.

Experimental psychologists, on the other hand, have gathered data
concerning the perceptual capacities of infants from birth to 18 months
of life. They have thus provided evidence that during this period,
infants build a phonological representation of their ambient language,
and, consequently, come to perceive speech sounds in a language-specific
fashion, much the same way as adults do. However, these data pertain to a
relatively small number of languages, and hence to only a small amount of
variation that is attested in the phonological systems of human language.
Moreover, although experimental psychologists have started to propose
models concerning the acquisition of basic phonological parameters such
as the segmental inventory and surface syllable structure, they typically
are not concerned with the acquisition of phonological rules.

Besides phonology and experimental psychology, phonetics and diachrony
are equally relevant to the study of early phonological acquisition. As
to phonetics, it is often assumed that infants build a phonological
representation of their native language by passing through a stage of a
universal phonetic representation. It is thus important to carry out
detailed phonetic analyses of the incoming speech signal. As to
diachrony, under the common assumption that language change is induced by
children acquiring their native language, diachronic data may provide
insight into the acquisition process.

Abstracts are being solicited for POSTER presentations.

Please send 2 copies of an anonymous 2-page abstract plus one copy with
your name, affiliation, and e-mail address to:

Sharon Peperkamp

Workshop on Early Phonological Acquisition

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique


54, Bd. Raspail

75270 Paris cedex 7


or to:

For electronic submissions, please attach the abstract in Rich Text
Format or as a PDF file to your e-mail.


Notification of acceptance: July 25

For questions concerning the workshop, please visit the web site:

or contact Sharon Peperkamp at
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Message 2: NLE Journal: Robust Methods in Analysis of Natural Lang Data

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 17:31:54 +0200
From: Vincenzo Pallotta <>
Subject: NLE Journal: Robust Methods in Analysis of Natural Lang Data

 Call for Papers

 for a Special Issue of the Journal

 Natural Language Engineering


 Robust Methods in Analysis of Natural Language Data

 Special Issue guest editors:

 Afzal Ballim
 Vincenzo Pallotta

 Department of Computer Science
 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology - Lausanne.

The automated analysis of natural language data has become a central
issue in the design of Intelligent Information Systems. The term
"natural language" is intended to cover all the possible modalities of
human communication and it is not restricted to written or spoken
language. Processing unrestricted natural language is still
considered as an AI-hard task. However various analysis techniques
have been proposed in order to address specific aspects of natural
language. In particular, recent interest has been on providing
approximate analysis techniques, assuming that perfect analysis is not
possible, but that partial results are still very useful.

There are many ways in which the topic of robustness may be tackled:
as a competency problem, as a problem of achieving interesting partial
results, as a shallow analysis method, etc. What they have in common
is that no simple combination of "complete" analysis modules for
different linguistic levels in a chain can give a robust system,
because they cannot adequately account for real-world data. Rather,
robustness must be considered as a system-wide concern. We consider of
central interest improving and integrating various processing methods
with respect to the following issues:

* Extending coverage

* Improving efficiency

* Disambiguation ability

* Approximate processing

* Enhancement of underlying theories

Robustness may be seen as an engineering "add-on" - something that we
add to a system to take account of the inability of our theories to
cope with real-world data - or as a basic element of our theories -
our theories are developed to admit that understanding of the domain
can be incomplete. Both approaches may be valid under certain

The main goal of this Special Issue of the Natural Language
Engineering journal is devoted to advances in fields like artificial
intelligence, computational linguistics, human-computer interaction,
cognitive sciences who are faced with the problem of feasible and
reliable NLP systems implementation. Theoretical aspects of robustness
in NLP are welcome as well as engineering and industrial experiences.

We invite papers on all topics related to Robustness in Natural
Language Processing and Understanding, including, but not limited to:

 Text Analysis
 Knowledge and Information Extraction
 Spoken Dialogue Systems
 Multimodal Human-Computer interfaces
 Natural Language Architectures
 Distributed NLP
 NLP and Soft Computing
 Multimedia Document Analysis
 Robust Parsing
 Incremental Parsing
 Discourse analysis
 Complexity of linguistic analysis
 Hybrid methods in computational linguistics
 Text Mining
 Corpus linguistics
 Indexing and Information Retrieval


We are expecting full papers to describe original, previously
unpublished research, be written in English, and not be simultaneously
submitted for publication elsewhere (previous publication of partial
results at workshops with informal proceedings is allowed).

Papers should be formatted according to the NLE journal instructions
and should be between 15 and 25 pages long. The preferred formatting
system is LaTex, which can be used for direct typesetting, and a style
file is available through anonymous ftp from the following address: In case of
difficulty there is a helpline available on e-mail: If LaTex is not available, the publisher may be
able to use alternative formatting systems (please specify which was
used (e.g. WordPerfect 5.0, MSWord2000,etc.)), but reserves the right
in all cases to typeset any paper by conventional means.


Papers due: 30 June 2001
Acceptance notice: 30 October 2001
Final version due: 31 January 2002
Journal publication: (after March 2002)


Jerry Hobs
Massimo Poesio
Karsten Worm
Fabio Ciravegna
John Carroll
Ted Briscoe
Michael Hess
Kay-Uwe Carstensen
Susan Armstrong
Yorik Wilks
Dan Cristea
Liviu Ciortuz
Eric Wherli
Fabio Rinaldi
Rodolfo Delmonte
Wolfgang Menzel
Salah Ait-Mokhtar
Alberto Lavelli
Rens Bod
Joachim Niehren
Roberto Basili
Maria Teresa Pazienza
Manuela Boros
Diego Moll�-Aliod
Herv� Bourlard
B. Srinivas
C.J. Rupp
Peter Asveld
Hatem Ghorbel
Giovanni Coray
Martin Rajman
Jean-C�dric Chappelier


Natural Language Engineering is an international journal designed to
meet the needs of professionals and researchers working in all areas
of computerised language processing, whether from the perspective of
theoretical or descriptive linguistics, lexicology, computer science
or engineering. Its principal aim is to bridge the gap between
traditional computational linguistics research and the implementation
of practical applications with potential real-world use. As well as
publishing research articles on a broad range of topicsfrom text
analysis, machine translation and speech generation and synthesis to
integrated systems and multi modal interfaces the journal also
publishes book reviews. Its aim is to provide the essential link
between industry and the academic community.

Natural Language Engineering encourages papers reporting research with
a clear potential for practical application. Theoretical papers that
consider techniques in sufficient detail to provide for practical
implementation are also welcomed, as are shorter reports of on-going
research, conference reports, comparative discussions of NLE products,
and policy-oriented papers examining e.g. funding programmes or market
opportunities. All contributions are peer reviewed and the review
process is specifically designed to be fast, contributing to the rapid
publication of accepted papers.


B. K. Boguraev
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, New York, USA

Christian Jaquemin
University of Paris (LIMSI), FR

John I. Tait
University of Sunderland, UK


For any information related to the organization, please contact:

Vincenzo Pallotta

IN F Ecublens
1015 Lausanne

tel. +41-21-693 52 97
fax. +41-21-693 52 78
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