LINGUIST List 13.2855

Tue Nov 5 2002

Calls: Error Handling/Comparative Diachronic Syntax

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>

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


  1. Swerts, M.G.J., ISCA Workshop on Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems
  2. Jeroen van de Weijer, Comparative Diachronic Syntax

Message 1: ISCA Workshop on Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems

Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 12:11:18 +0100
From: Swerts, M.G.J. <>
Subject: ISCA Workshop on Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems

		ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop 
		International Speech Communication

		Error Handling in Spoken Dialogue Systems

		Preliminary Call for Participation

		Location: Hotel Roc et Neige 
		Chateau-d'Oex-Vaud, Switzerland

		August 28-31, 2003

		Workshop website:
		Webmaster: Gabriel Skantze
		Email contact:

Supported by:

	CLIF (Computational Linguistics in Flanders)


Spoken dialogue systems in real applications as well as research have
attracted increased attention in recent years. With the limitations
of current speech technologies, both for recognition and understanding
and for speech generation, this interest in `real' systems has led to
an increased awareness in the problems raised by system errors,
especially in recognizing user input, and the consequent confusion
they may lead to for both users and the system itself over the
dialogue. The need to devise better strategies for detecting problems
in human-machine dialogues and then dealing with them gracefully has
become paramount for spoken dialogue systems.

This workshop will consider all aspects of how systems can detect and
recover from problems in spoken dialogue systems. We will address
questions such as:

What can we learn from errors in human-human and wizard-of-Oz systems
that will help us to handle error in human-machine dialogue systems?

How do systems detect when a dialogue is 'going wrong'? How do they
define such conditions? What factors are the key contributors to and
indicators of 'bad' dialogues?

How do systems identify their own errors? What are the most important
causes of such errors, from the user side (e.g. non-native accent,
hyperarticulated speaking style, gender, age) and from the system side
(e.g. inappropriate prompts)? How difficult is it to determine the
causes of particular error?

How can we predict which dialogues will be successful? How should we
define 'success'? What features can best predict it?

What mechanisms can be devised to allow systems to recover from error
gracefully? Can we devise adaptive strategies to identify patterns of
error and respond accordingly?

What sorts of behavior do users exhibit when faced with system errors?
Can these be taken into account in error handling?

What measures (better prompts, anticipation of likely error, better
help information) can be taken to minimize possible errors?

Papers are invited on innovations in ways that systems can detect
their own errors (e.g. through features such as ASR confidence
scores); on methods for evaluating spoken dialogue systems that
include system errors and error recovery as a major component; on
strategies for determining on-line when dialogues are 'going wrong';
on mechanisms for recovering once errors are detected; on laboratory
and corpus-based studies of human behavior relevant to human-machine
problem detection/recovery; on methods for minimizing dialogue
problems (e.g. by varying dialogue strategy, system prompts).
Position papers are also invited for a special session on aspects of
error handling are most in need of additional attention and to propose
research approaches in such areas.

Invited Speakers:

Herb Clark, Stanford University
Emiel Krahmer, Tillburg University
Mike Phillips, Speechworks
Atsushi Shimojima, JAIST

Important Dates:

Submissions due: March 1, 2003.
Notification of Acceptance: April 15, 2003.
Deadline for Early Registration: May 1, 2003
Deadline for Regular Registration: June 1, 2003
Deadline for Final Papers: June 1, 2003
Workshop: August 28-31, 2003.

Submission requirements:

Abstracts of no more than 800 words in length (please state whether
this is a submission to a regular session or to the special session on
future research) should be submitted electronically by March 1.
Details for submssion will be available at

Workshop Location:

Hotel Roc et Neige
( in the town of
Chateau-d'Oex-Vaud (
in the 'alpes vaudoises' in the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland.

Accommodation and Registration Fees: TBA


Workshop proceedings will be available upon registration at the
conference center and subsequently on the workshop web site.


The official language of the workshop will be English.


The International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) is a
non-profit organization for promoting Speech Communication Science and
Technology internationally. For membership and other information,
please contact the ISCA secretariat at: 

c/o Institut fuer Communikationsforschung und Phonetik
Universitaet Bonn
Poppelsdorfer Allee 47
D-53115 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49) 228-735638 
Fax: (+49) 228-735639 

This workshop is endorsed by SIGdial ( and CLIF

Organizing Committee:

	Rolf Carlson, KTH	
	Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University and
		AT&T Labs -- Research
	Marc Swerts, University of Antwerp and 
		Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

International Scientific Committee:

Linda Bell, Telia Research
Lou Boves, Nijmegen University
Susan Brennan, SUNY Stony Brook
Jim Glass, MIT
Yasuhiro Katagiri, ATR
Emiel Krahmer, Tillburg University 
Diane Litman, University of Pittsburgh
Elmar Noeth, Erlangen University
Norbert Reithinger, DFKI
Sophie Rosset, LIMSI
Alex Rudnicky, CMU
Elizabeth Shriberg, SRI
Marilyn Walker, AT&T Labs--Research

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Message 2: Comparative Diachronic Syntax

Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 14:33:30 +0000
From: Jeroen van de Weijer <>
Subject: Comparative Diachronic Syntax



Conference on Comparative Diachronic Syntax 

University of Leiden Centre for Linguistics (ULCL), 
29-30 August 2003 

Description of Conference Topic 

In the synchronic study of syntax, the comparative approach has been
highly successful in uncovering insights into the nature of syntactic
principles and the variation that they allow. In fact, it may not be
an overstatement to say that modern syntax is to a large extent based
on comparative work. It is certainly true that any analysis of
language-specific data will not be considered successful if it cannot
be made responsive to data from other languages.

In the diachronic study of syntax, the role of cross-linguistic
comparative concerns is somewhat less clear. While diachronic
investigation focusing on typology and grammaticalisation has produced
an important body of comparative work, it is sometimes rough-grained
and often neglects issues of syntactic structure. Diachronic study
from other perspectives, while it may be more fine-grained and
structure-conscious, tends to ignore questions of cross-linguistic

It therefore appears that there is still a need to explore the
implications of a principled comparative stance to historical
syntactic change. This conference hopes to stimulate discussion of the
possibilities and problems that such a stance would create, with
reference to specific case histories or more general issues in the
study of syntactic change. Among the questions that could be addressed
are the following:

-what can a comparative perspective contribute to our understanding of
some specific syntactic change or set of changes in a language?

-what is the exact contribution that models of comparative synchronic
syntax can make to the study of diachrony?

-are there types of diachronic syntactic phenomena that may be
particularly well or ill suited to comparative analysis?

-does comparative diachronic analyis place special demands on the
kinds of data that are required?

Call for papers 

Key-note speaker at the conference will be Professor Ian Roberts
(University of Cambridge; confirmed). There are ten to twelve slots
for further papers on the conference topic.

Abstracts are invited for 40-minute papers (followed by 15 minutes
discussion). The abstract should have a maximum length of two pages,
including any references, and should reach the address below before 1
January 2003, preferably in the form of an e-mail message or
attachment. Notification of acceptance will be sent by e-mail by 1
February 2003.

Contact address 

Conference on Comparative Diachronic Syntax 
Dr. Wim van der Wurff 
Department of English 
P.O. Box 9515 
NL-2300 RA Leiden 
The Netherlands 


For all further information, see the ULCL website at

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