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LINGUIST List 25.1383

Sat Mar 22 2014

Calls: Language Acquisition, Phonology, Psycholinguistics/UK

Editor for this issue: Anna White <awhitelinguistlist.org>

Date: 22-Mar-2014
From: Oliver Bond <o.bondsurrey.ac.uk>
Subject: Workshop on Learning Biases in Natural and Artificial Language Acquisition
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Full Title: Workshop on Learning Biases in Natural and Artificial Language Acquisition

Date: 05-Sep-2014 - 05-Sep-2014
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Oliver Bond
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.lagb.org.uk/lagb2014/biases

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition; Phonology; Psycholinguistics

Call Deadline: 05-Sep-2014

Meeting Description:

This workshop, organised by Adam Albright (MIT) and Andrew Nevins (UCL), will be held in conjunction with Adam Albright's
Linguistics Association Lecture on Friday 5th September at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain
in Oxford.

Plenary Speaker:

Adam Albright (MIT) - 'Generalizing phonological patterns with phonetic and featural biases'

Invited Speakers:

Alex Cristia (CNRS)
Sara Finley (Elmhurst College)
Elliott Moreton (University of North Carolina)
Ruben van de Vijver (Potsdam) & Dinah Baer-Henney (Potsdam)


What expectations or biases do learners bring to the task of learning phonological grammars? Work on language typology,
diachronic change, and evaluation metrics for learning algorithms has identified a number of factors that might encourage learners
to favor one hypothesis over another. These include preferences based on formal properties of the grammar, such as a bias for
featurally simpler or more general processes, or a bias towards certain type of interactions. They also include substantive biases
for certain types of processes, such as a preference for processes that target phonetically difficult structures, or a bias against
processes that lead to perceptually salient alternations, or even limitations that make some processes completely unlearnable.

Until recently, the argument that learners favor some patterns over others has largely been based on indirect evidence: learning
biases can provide an account of how grammatical preferences shape acquisition errors, language change, and typology. The past
decade has seen a rapid rise of interest in studying learning directly in the lab, both among infants and adults. This work has
studied the time course of acquisition of natural language (L1) patterns by children, as well as the rate or readiness with which
infants and adults learn artificial grammars.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers employing a variety of techniques to study this kind of phonological
learning 'in the lab'. The workshop aims to foster a dialogue on questions such as: how can we relate performance in an artificial
lab task to natural language acquisition? What kinds of biases have actually been supported by experimental results, to date?
What kinds of biases do these techniques allow us to test, and what kinds of biases can only be observed within the context of a
full-blown linguistic system with qualitatively and quantitatively more complex training, longer timescales of learning, and learning
within richer semantic contexts? What is the contribution, if any, of participants' L1 to the task of artificial grammar learning? We
hope that the invited talks and the posters, selected from an open call for papers, will shed light on these and other questions
through a range of theoretical and empirical contributions.

Call for Workshop Posters and Papers for the Main Session:

Abstracts are invited for posters to be presented as part of the workshop on Friday, 5 September 2014. Abstracts can also be submitted for
papers in the main parallel sessions of the LAGB 2014. These will be scheduled for Wednesday 3 or Thursday 4 September 2014.

The deadline for abstracts is Friday, 11 April 2014. Notification of acceptance will be made in May 2014. Details of how to submit an abstract
are available from the LAGB 2014 conference website:



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