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LINGUIST List 18.212

Sun Jan 21 2007

Calls: Semantics/Estonia; Syntax/UK

Editor for this issue: Dan Parker <danlinguistlist.org>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Magnus Sahlgren, Semantic Content Acquisition and Representation
        2.    William Haddican, Formal Approaches to Variation in Syntax

Message 1: Semantic Content Acquisition and Representation
Date: 19-Jan-2007
From: Magnus Sahlgren <mangesics.se>
Subject: Semantic Content Acquisition and Representation

Full Title: Semantic Content Acquisition and Representation
Short Title: SCAR

Date: 24-May-2007 - 24-May-2007
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Contact Person: Magnus Sahlgren
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.sics.se/~mange/scar2007

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Semantics

Call Deadline: 26-Mar-2007

Meeting Description:

This workshop provides a forum for researchers to present and discuss
theories and methods for semantic content acquisition and representation.
Participants will also be encouraged to apply their methods, or relate
their theories, to a specific test corpus. In this workshop, the relevance
of an approach to meaning is judged only by what it can tell us about real
language data.

First call for papers
Workshop on Semantic Content Acquisition and Representation
(SCAR 2007)
Pre-conference workshop NODALIDA
Thursday, May 24, Tartu, Estonia

Goal and purpose:

Text (and language in general) has aboutness; it has meaning, or semantic
content. We as (computational) linguists are highly adept at dissecting
text on a number of different levels: we can perform grammatical analysis
of the words in the text, we can detect animacy and salience, we can do
syntactic analysis and build parse trees of partial and whole sentences,
and we can even identify and track topics throughout the text. However, we
are comparatively inept when it comes to identifying the semantic content,
or meaning, of the text. Or, to put matters in more concise terms, even
though there are theories and methods that claim to accomplish this, there
is a striking lack of consensus regarding acquisition, representation, and
practical utility of semantic content.

The aim of this workshop is not only to provide a forum for researchers to
present and discuss theories and methods for semantic content acquisition
and representation. The aim is also to discuss a common evaluation
methodology whereby different approaches can be adequately compared. As a
first step in this direction, participants will be encouraged to apply
their methods, or relate their theories, to a specific test corpus that
will be available in several of the Nordic languages and English.
Participants will be expected to demonstrate what kind of results their
methods can yield. In this workshop, the relevance of an approach to
meaning is judged only by what it can tell us about real language data. The
overall purpose of this workshop is thus to put theories and models into

Questions of interest:

- Is there a place in linguistic theory for a situation- and
speaker-independent semantic model beyond syntactic models?
- What are the borders, if any, between morphosyntax, lexicon and
pragmatics on the one hand and semantic models on the other?
- Are explicit semantic models necessary, useful or desirable? (Or should
they be incidental to morphosyntactic and lexical analysis on the one hand
and pragmatic discourse analysis on the other?)

We encourage submissions in the following areas:

- Discussions of foundational theoretical issues concerning meaning and
representation in general.
- Methods for supervised, unsupervised and weakly supervised acquisition
(machine learning, statistical, example- or rule-based, hybrid etc.) of
semantic content.
- Representational schemes for semantic content (wordnets, vectorial, logic
- Evaluation of semantic content acquisition methods, and semantic content
representations (test collections, evaluation metrics etc.).
- Applications of semantic content representations (information retrieval,
dialogue systems, tools for language learning etc.).

Submission procedure:

Online submission is now open at http://www.easychair.org/SCAR2007/.
Submissions should not exceed 8 pages, and should use the ACL style files
available at http://ufal.mff.cuni.cz/acl2007/styles/. Reviewing will be
blind, so papers should not include the authors' names and affiliations,
and self-references should be avoided. Proceedings will be published

Important dates:

Submission deadline: March 26
Notification of acceptance: April 26
Final papers due: May 7
Workshop: May 24


NoDaLiDa 2007, Tartu, Estonia.


Magnus Sahlgren, SICS (mangesics.se)
Ola Knutsson, KTH (knutssoncsc.kth.se)

Program comittee:

Peter Bruza, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Gregory Grefenstette, CEA LIST, France
Jussi Karlgren, SICS, Sweden
Alessandro Lenci, University of Pisa, Italy
Hinrich Sch├╝tze, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Dominic Widdows, MAYA Design, USA
Fabrizio Sebastiani, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy

Message 2: Formal Approaches to Variation in Syntax
Date: 19-Jan-2007
From: William Haddican <lang6york.ac.uk>
Subject: Formal Approaches to Variation in Syntax

Full Title: Formal Approaches to Variation in Syntax

Date: 10-May-2007 - 13-May-2007
Location: England, United Kingdom
Contact Person: William Haddican
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Call Deadline: 01-May-2007

Meeting Description:

The goal of this conference is to bring together scholars focusing on intra-speaker variation in syntax in an effort to stimulate theoretical debate in this area.

Formal Approaches to Variation in Syntax

Call for papers

The Kings Manor, York, England, May 10-13, 2007

Within the last few years, syntacticians have begun to take an interest in intra-speaker variation to a degree that was hitherto unknown. Previously, only those syntacticians interested in diachronic variation--led by Kroch and colleagues--devoted much attention to the issue of how variation can be dealt with formally (Kroch 1989, 1994, 2001, Kroch and Taylor 1995, 2000, Pintzuk 1991). Formal syntax has otherwise largely ignored the type of data that sociolinguistic variationists attach so much importance to quantifying, either because they had nothing to say about it or because they felt that in the grammar of the idealised speaker-hearer there would (or even could) be no variation. The advent of minimalism, which generally eschews the possibility of optionality in grammar, has prompted some syntacticians to take a greater interest in variability, in order to explain it without reference to ''free variation.'' Recent literature, then, has seen several promising new formal approaches to intra-speaker variation in syntax (Adger 2006, Yang 2000, Henry 1995, Clark 2004, Asudeh 2001).

The goal of this conference is to bring together current researchers in this area in an effort to stimulate debate on issues such as the following:

-Is variability in child language at the root of syntactic change or is variation in the adult grammar a necessary impetus?
-What is the relationship between intra-speaker and inter-speaker variation in syntax?
-What formal and syntactic mechanisms best explain the existence of intra-speaker variation?
-Are frequencies of variants (partially) predictable from the formal properties (e.g. features) involved?
-What if any is the role of parameters in intra-speaker variation?

Invited Speakers:
David Adger
Sjef Barbiers
Tony Kroch
Charles Yang

The conference will run from Thursday evening to Saturday evening. Researchers in this area are invited to submit abstracts for presentations of 35 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes allotted for questions. (Invited speaker presentations will be 45 minutes in length with an additional 15 minutes for questions.) We intend to approach publishers with a view to publishing an edited volume of selected papers following the conference. Preference will be given to papers which address the issues outlined above and related formal issues rather than merely providing detailed analysis of a piece of variation. We encourage syntacticians of all theoretical persuasions to apply.

Abstracts of no more than 2 pages (A4 or 8.5'' x 11'') should be sent to lang6york.ac.uk by March 1, 2007. Please send two copies of each abstract, one in camera ready form for inclusion in the abstract booklet with speakers' names, affiliation and email addresses, and another anonymised, both in pdf format. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by March 15th 2007.

Bernadette Plunkett and Bill Haddican (University of York Linguistics)

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