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LINGUIST List 24.713

Thu Feb 07 2013

Calls: Sociolinguistics, Phonetics, Cognitive Sci, Psycholing, Neuroling/USA

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

Date: 07-Feb-2013
From: T. Florian Jaeger <fjaegerbcs.rochester.edu>
Subject: Linguistic Variability and How the Mind/Brain Accommodates It
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Full Title: Linguistic Variability and How the Mind/Brain Accommodates It

Date: 14-Jul-2013 - 14-Jul-2013
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Contact Person: T. Florian Jaeger
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.hlp.rochester.edu/variability/

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Neurolinguistics; Phonetics; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 01-Apr-2013

Meeting Description:

Linguistic communication requires that interlocutors understand each other’s utterances. A fundamental challenge to this process arises because of variability: No two tokens of a given linguistic expression are ever the same. Speakers from different demographic categories or linguistic backgrounds will produce a given expression differently. Even within a speaker, variability arises when speakers use different registers, or simply because formulation and articulation are not rigid deterministic processes. This variability raises questions for linguistic and psycholinguistic theory, and poses a formidable challenge to work in natural automatic speech recognition as well as language processing.

For example, what are the mechanisms that enable comprehenders to overcome variability (e.g., implicit learning, expectation adaptation, generalization across linguistic environments)? Do these mechanisms differ between different levels of linguistic processing? For example, to what extent is there evidence that the problem of variability is dealt with only at the interface between auditory processing and the earliest stages of linguistic processing?

An interesting related question is whether variability is exclusively a problem for language understanding, or is better described as a feature. For example, variability is often systematic. Thus, it is possible that comprehenders exploit variability to infer additional information about speakers for both communicative and extra-communicative reasons.

What are the consequences of variability and the mechanisms that allow us to deal with variability for linguistic theory? In particular, what follows for the nature of linguistic representations? For example, does linguistic knowledge include knowledge about the grammar of different speakers? What causes variability in production? And, what is the relation between variability in production - for example, variability conditioned on social structure - and the processes that allow comprehenders to overcome variability?

This workshop will be held jointly with the 2013 LSA Summer Institute at the University of Michigan on July 14. The workshop is organized by Florian Jaeger (University of Rochester) and Victor Ferreira (University of California, San Diego).

Invited speakers include Molly Babel (University of British Columbia), Sheila Blumstein (Brown University), Ann Bradlow (Northwestern University), Joan Bresnan (Stanford University), and Gary Dell (University of Illinois).

Call for Papers:

Abstract submission should be sent to variabilitybcs.rochester.edu by April 1 (up to 1 page, .5 inch margin, 11pt font, plus 1 page for data summaries and references). Decisions will be sent out mid- to late-April. For further information, please visit the workshop website at http://www.hlp.rochester.edu/variability/.

The best student presentation will be awarded a $250 prize and a one-year complimentary membership in the Cognitive Science Society (sponsored by the Cognitive Science Society).

NSF Funding is pending. If awarded, funds will be available to subsidize student travel.

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