LINGUIST List 15.1839

Fri Jun 18 2004

Confs: General Ling/Pescara, Italy

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  1. di_sciullo.anne-marie, Interfaces Conference

Message 1: Interfaces Conference

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 14:31:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: di_sciullo.anne-marie <>
Subject: Interfaces Conference

Interfaces Conference 
Short Title: Interfaces 

Date: 30-Jul-2004 - 01-Aug-2004
Location: Pescara, Italy
Contact: Anna Maria Di Sciullo
Contact Email: 

Linguistic Sub-field: General Linguistics 

Meeting Description:

The properties of the interfaces between the grammar and the external
systems (conceptual and sensorimotor) are of central
importance. Current researches point to the crucial role of the
relations underlying interface representations for interpretation. The
study of these relations has been a research topic in a number of
disciplines including theoretical and computational linguistics, as
well as bio, psycho and neurolinguistics. Strong hypotheses on the
symmetric (reversible) and asymmetric (irreversible) properties of
interface relations are at the core of the recent scientific debate
(Chomsky 2000, 2001, Kayne 2003, Moro 2000, 2003). Does grammar treat
symmetric and asymmetric relations equally? What type of empirical
evidence can be regarded as valid in order to define the nature of the
relations in question? What kind of link exists between symmetric and
asymmetric relations and what factors determine their interpretation
by the external systems? Is there a determining property of the
relations that ensures optimal interpretation? The recognition of the
decisive role of asymmetric relations (precedence, dominance,
c-command) in grammar has led to the elaboration of a model in which
grammatical operations are defined in terms of symmetry and asymmetry
(Chomsky 1993, 1995, 2001). The importance of these relations in the
derivation of different types of grammatical objects resulted in the
formulation of a theory where the primes are minimal asymmetric
relations (Di Sciullo 2000, 2003).

Computational implementations of asymmetric relations are already
available (Marcus 1980, Berwick and Weinberg 1984, Berwick 1985, 1991,
Di Sciullo and Fong 2002, Fong 1991, to appear). The questions that
these research raise are: the nature of the connection between the
grammar and the parser, the reduction of computational complexity and
processing time. A relational Interface model facilitates the
development of a new paradigm in natural language processing and leads
to a new generation of related technological applications. Indeed,
the actual paradigm is based on the processing of units such as
characters, chains of characters, keywords, etc. without taking into
account the basic relational properties of natural language, thus
leading to non optimal results. This goes through the whole range of
applications in information technology from language processing
systems (recognition and generation) to information content processing
systems (research and information retrieval, question-answering
automatic systems, summaries production, etc.). The current challenge
in the area of information retrieval and extraction is
optimisation. The development of a new generation of search engines
which process information based on relations instead of singular
elements is a step forward. The work on automatic question-answering
systems that cover a set of asymmetric relations specific to natural
languages is also important (Katz 1997, Di Sciullo and Aguero
2003). The orientation of rhetoric processing towards the recovery of
asymmetric textual and syntactic relations, instead of text
typography, contributes to the change of the paradigm (Marcu 2000,
Espanol-Echevarria 2003). If it is true that conceptual processing of
linguistic expressions is based on irreversible relations of Universal
Grammar, incorporation of these relations in information processing
systems can only improve their performance and bring them closer to
human performance.

This conference on Interfaces presents an opportunity for researchers
to meet and discuss current issues on the properties of the Interfaces
in theoretical linguistics and computational linguistics.

Conference Program:

July 30, 2004 

Invited speaker 
Juan Uriagereka, University of Maryland and University of the Basque
Symmetry Breaking and Entropy in Grammar

Anna Maria Di Sciullo, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, and Dana Isac,
Concordia University
Possible Extraction Domains and Move/Re-Merge as an Asymmetric


Mark de Vries, University of Groningen
Parataxis as a Different Type of Asymmetric Merge

Elena Herburger, Georgetown University
The Asymmetry of Only and Nur, Conservativity, and the
Syntax/Semantics Interface

Sandiway Fong, University of Arizona 
Minimalist Parsing and Mutiplanar Syntax

July 31, 2004

Invited Speaker
Mark Steedman, University of Edinburg
On the Interfaces and the Computational System

Calixto Aguero-Bautista, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Isolability at the Interfaces and the Notion of Binding Domain


R�jean Canac-Marquis, Simon Fraser University
Bound Anaphora, Binding, Incremental Interpretation and the Role of
the I/C Interface

Stanca Somesfalean, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Why Interpreting Weak Pronouns in Natural Language is not Ambiguous

Olga Zavitnovich-Beaulac, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Asymmetry of Feature Assignment and its Consequences

August 1, 2004

Invited Speaker
Robert C. Berwick, MIT
Nothing Left but Merge: Interface Constraints and Minimal Minimalist

Rodolfo Delmonte, University of Venice
Parsing Arguments and Adjuncts


Philippe Gabrini, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Compilers and Parsers in the Processing of Natural Language

Annual Meeting of the Federation on Natural Language Processing
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