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LINGUIST List 19.2775

Thu Sep 11 2008

FYI: CUNY Linguistics Colloquium

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <mattlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Nazik Dinctopal, CUNY Linguistics Colloquium


Message 1: CUNY Linguistics Colloquium
Date: 11-Sep-2008
From: Nazik Dinctopal <nazik.dinctopalgmail.com>
Subject: CUNY Linguistics Colloquium
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The first City University of New York (CUNY) Linguistics Colloquium of the
fall semester will be held

on: Thursday, September 18, 2008
at: 4:15 p.m.
at: The CUNY Graduate Center – 365 Fifth Avenue – New York (room 6417)
by: Bert Vaux (University of Cambridge)
on: The Subset Principle vs. Power Maximisation in Phonological Acquisition

ABSTRACT:

Are the phonological generalisations formed by language learners upon
exposure to underdetermined data sets (i) maximally broad (dictated by
maximal representational efficiency, as in rule-based phonology of the SPE
tradition), (ii) maximally specific (dictated by the Subset Principle, as
in Hale and Reiss's 2008 ''The Phonological Enterprise'' and perhaps Tesar
and Smolensky's 2000 ''Learnability in Optimality Theory''), or (iii)
variable in scope, depending on (a) minimisation of uncertainty about
future events (Gallistel) or (b) Bayesian comparison of competing
hypotheses (Tenenbaum)? In this talk I present evidence that a hybrid of
(iiia-b) best accounts for what we know about phonological acquisition (and
in fact animal learning as a whole), and circumvents problems encountered
by theory (i) with scope variation and theory (ii) with trajectories of
diachronic change and flaws in applying Gold's subset reasoning to phonology.

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

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