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LINGUIST List 21.2365

Thu May 27 2010

Calls: Comp Ling, Psycholing/USA

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Neal Snider, Empirical Evaluation of Usage-Based Constructionist Models

Message 1: Empirical Evaluation of Usage-Based Constructionist Models
Date: 26-May-2010
From: Neal Snider <nsniderbcs.rochester.edu>
Subject: Empirical Evaluation of Usage-Based Constructionist Models
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Full Title: Empirical Evaluation of Usage-Based Constructionist Models

Date: 06-Jan-2011 - 09-Jan-2011
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Contact Person: Neal Snider
Meeting Email: nsniderbcs.rochester.edu
Web Site: http://www.hlp.rochester.edu/lsa2011

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Psycholinguistics

Call Deadline: 16-Jul-2010

Meeting Description:

2011 LSA Annual Meeting Organized Session: Empirical evaluations of
usage-based constructionist models of language representation and
processing.

Call for Papers

Organizers:
Neal Snider, University of Rochester
Daniel Wiechmann, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena
Elma Kerz, RWTH-Universitat Aachen
T. Florian Jaeger, University of Rochester

Contact: nsniderbcs.rochester.edu
URL: http://www.hlp.rochester.edu/lsa2011
The website will be updated as deadlines approach.

Deadlines:
Intention to submit: June 11
250-word abstracts: July 16
Extended abstracts for the workshop website: Dec 17
Send all abtracts and correspondence to the email above.

We are eliciting submissions for 10-minute talks that present novel empirical
results and/or talks that propose methodological pathways that could be
explored to amass empirical evidence on the matter. In addition, there will
also be two longer 20-min slots that summarize existing data and argue for
a specific theoretical interpretation (as opposed to others), so we also invite
submissions for this format.

Final acceptance of the workshop proposal is pending.

Abstract:
Recent years have seen a growing interest in usage-based (UB) theories of
language, which assume that language use plays a causal role in the
development of linguistic systems over historical time. A central assumption
of the UB-framework is the idea that shapes of grammars are closely
connected to principles of human cognitive processing (Bybee 2006,
Hawkins 2004). UB-accounts strongly gravitate towards sign- or
construction-based theories of language, viz. theories that are committed to
the belief that linguistic knowledge is best conceived of as an assembly of
symbolic structures (e.g. Goldberg 2006, Langacker 2008, Sag et al. 2003).
These constructionist accounts share (1) the postulation of a single
representational format of all linguistic knowledge and (2) a strong
commitment to psychological plausibility of mechanisms for the the learning,
storage, and retrieval of linguistic units. They do, however, exhibit a
considerable degree of variation with respect to their architectural and
mechanistic details (cf. Croft & Cruse 2004).

This workshop will bring together linguists, psycholinguists, and
computational linguists that commit to a constructionist UB framework to
discuss which methodologies can best shed light on questions pertaining to
the representational nature of constructions and the mechanisms involved
in their on-line processing.

A key issue in this regard is the balancing of storage parsimony and
processing parsimony: Maximizing storage parsimony implies greater
computational demand and vice versa. The space of logical possibilities
ranges from a complete inheritance model (minimal storage redundancy) to
a full-entry model (maximal storage redundancy). Currently, the empirical
validation of the theoretical situation is not yet conclusive: the
representations involved in language processing involve extremely fine-
grained lexical-structural co-occurrences, for example frequent four-word
phrases are processed faster than infrequent ones by both children
(Bannard and Matthews 2008) and adults (Arnon and Snider 2010). On the
other hand, syntactic exemplar models (Bod 2006) overfit and
undergeneralize compared to models that do not store all structures in the
training data (cf. Post and Gildea 2009, although they found that Tree
Substitution Grammar representations induced in a Bayesian framework still
split the parsimony continuum towards greater redundancy). Also,
experimental work has argued that models of categorization that directly
map phonetic dimensions to phonological categories (and therefore more
directly reflect the statistics of the training data) do not predict human
behavior as well as models that assume independent, intermediate
representations (Toscano and McMurray 2010).

The workshop seeks to address these and related issues and asks which
empirical methodologies could guide the further theoretical development,
and intends to provide a forum for discussion for empirical and theoretical
linguists embracing a usage-based constructionist approach to the study of
language.
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