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LINGUIST List 24.4227

Fri Oct 25 2013

Confs: General Linguistics, Linguistic Theories, Psycholinguistics, Typology/New Zealand

Editor for this issue: Caylen Cole-Hazel <caylenlinguistlist.org>

Date: 20-Oct-2013
From: Darcy Rose <darcy.rosepg.canterbury.ac.nz>
Subject: The redundancy-reduction link (Dr T. Florian Jaeger, University of Rochester)
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The redundancy-reduction link (Dr T. Florian Jaeger, University of Rochester)

Date: 22-Nov-2013 - 22-Nov-2013
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Contact: Kevin Watson
Contact Email: lingsoccanterbury.ac.nz

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Psycholinguistics; Typology

Meeting Description:

Testing theories of cross-linguistic generalizations behaviorally: The redundancy-reduction link

This workshop (2:30-5:00pm) with Dr T. Florian Jaeger will take place as part of the bi-annual conference of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand at the University of Canterbury in November 2013. Although it is part of the conference, the workshop is open to anyone free of charge. Anybody with a keen interest in Linguistics is welcome to join us; nevertheless we do ask you to let us know by November 1 if you are planning to attend.

The identification of cross-linguistic generalizations, sometimes dubbed linguistic universals, is part of the bread and butter of linguistics. The explanation of linguistic universals is also one of the motivations for modern theories of linguistic competence (in the broadest sense). In this workshop, Dr Jaeger will focus on the link between redundancy and the lenition or fortition of linguistic form.

In order for any bias (be it functional or not) to change language over time, it must have an effect on the observable input to language learners of later generations. For that the bias must directly or indirectly affect language production (thereby changing the body of utterances a language learner would observe) or language acquisition (thereby changing what a learner makes out of the input). Dr Jaeger will give examples of selected paradigms that allow the study of biases during language acquisition and language production.
Specifically, the workshop aims to:

1. Introduce some of the necessary background from information theory to appreciate the concept of redundancy and why it makes sense to expect languages to exhibit a correlation between redundancy and reduction.
a) What is information? What is redundancy (information theory) and how does this relate to notions, such as frequency, repetition, and frequency of co-occurrence, which are commonly referred to in the literature?
b) Inference over noisy input
c) The trade-off between robust information transfer and ease or speed of information transfer: More distinguishable linguistic signal for what is a priori less expected (efficient information transfer)

2. Provide and discuss examples of statistical approaches to the study of linguistic typology:
a) Computational cross-linguistic studies of the mental lexicon (Graff and Jaeger, 2009; Piantadosi et al., 2011, 2012; Manin, 2006; Moscoso del Prado Martin, 2013)
b) The problem of lack of independent samples in the study of typological generalization (Croft et al., 2011; Cysouw, 2010; Dunn et al., 2011; Jaeger et al., 2011)

3. Provide an introduction to novel behavioral paradigms for the study of the redundancy-reduction link during language learning:
a) Artificial (miniature) language learning (ALL, Culbertson et al., 2011; Fedzechkina et al., 2012, 2013)
b) Iterated artificial language learning (IALL, Kirby et al., 2008)
c) Cutting cost and time: Web-based ALL and IALL

4. Provide an introduction to behavioral paradigms for the study of the redundancy-reduction link during language production:
a) Sentence recall or corpus experiments on alternations (Frank and Jaeger, 2008; Jaeger, 2010; Jaeger and Grimshaw, 2013; Kurumada and Jaeger, 2013)
b) Lab and web-based fake communication experiments for the study of learning in production
(Buz and Jaeger, 2014; Roche, Dale, Jaeger, & Kreuz, 2014)
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