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LINGUIST List 22.3373

Thu Aug 25 2011

Confs: Genetic Classification, Comp Ling, Historical Ling/Sweden

Editor for this issue: Amy Brunett <brunettlinguistlist.org>

New! Multi-tree Visit LL's Multitree project for over 1000 trees dynamically generated from scholarly hypotheses about language relationships:

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        1.     Lars Borin , Workshop: Comparing Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences

Message 1: Workshop: Comparing Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences
Date: 24-Aug-2011
From: Lars Borin <lars.borinsvenska.gu.se>
Subject: Workshop: Comparing Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences
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Workshop: Comparing Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences

Date: 24-Oct-2011 - 25-Oct-2011
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Contact: Anju Saxena
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://spraakbanken.gu.se/eng/workshop2011

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Genetic Classification; Historical Linguistics

Meeting Description:

Since the introduction of lexicostatistics in the 1950s, researchers have been investigating methods for the grouping of languages and dialects. The input for these methods are relevant abstractions of linguistic data (most often based on fixed lists of senses, e.g., the Swadesh lists).

The abstractions are traditionally character-based (as in work by Swadesh, Dyen, Ringe, Warnow, Gray and many others), which can be said to define distances on the level of languages. In these approaches, a particular item either is or is not present in a language.

More recently, drawing on advances in computer software and hardware, methods aiming at measuring and aggregating distances among individual linguistic items have been explored (as in work by Kessler, Wichmann, Nerbonne, Kondrak, McMahon and others). In these approaches, individual items are (dis)similar to some quantifiable degree between two languages.

A number of such methods for measuring linguistic differences have been proposed in the literature, but so far, researchers have mostly explored individual methods. Some authors have made explicit comparisons among some of the methods (e.g., Kessler, Kondrak, Nerbonne), but this aspect is still largely unexplored.

There is also a need to contrast the more recent automatic methods with a more traditional historical- comparative methodology (e.g. as recently surveyed and critiqued by Campbell and Poser), which generally draws on a broader range of linguistic phenomena than have so far been used with the automatic approaches, including semantic and grammatical characteristics.

This two-day workshop is intended as a forum to discuss these issues in more depth.

Invited Speakers:

Michael Cysouw (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Greg Kondrak (University of Alberta)
William McGregor (University of Aarhus)
John Nerbonne (University of Groningen)
Søren Wichmann (MPI Leipzig)
Roman Yangarber (University of Helsinki)


The workshop will take place in Gothenburg, in the Faculty of Arts building at the University of Gothenburg.


While there is no registration fee for the workshop, for planning purposes registration is obligatory. This can be done by sending an email to workshop2011svenska.gu.se

The registration deadline is 30th September, 2011.

Workshop Organization:

Organizing Committee:

Lars Borin (University of Gothenburg)
Anju Saxena (Uppsala University)
K. Taraka Rama (University of Gothenburg)

Program Committee:

Lars Borin (University of Gothenburg)
Bernard Comrie (MPI Leipzig/UC Santa Barbara)
Östen Dahl (Stockholm University)
Anju Saxena (Uppsala University)

The workshop is a joint arrangement by University of Gothenburg, Uppsala University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.

The conference program can be found at:


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