Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Learning with hidden structure in Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar: beyond Robust Interpretive Parsing
Author: Gaja Jarosz
Institution: Yale University
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: This paper explores the relative merits of constraint ranking vs. weighting in the context of a major outstanding learnability problem in phonology: learning in the face of hidden structure. Specifically, the paper examines a well-known approach to the structural ambiguity problem, Robust Interpretive Parsing (RIP; Tesar & Smolensky ), focusing on its stochastic extension first described by Boersma (). Two related problems with the stochastic formulation of RIP are revealed, rooted in a failure to take full advantage of probabilistic information available in the learner's grammar. To address these problems, two novel parsing strategies are introduced and applied to learning algorithms for both probabilistic ranking and weighting. The novel parsing strategies yield significant improvements in performance, asymmetrically improving performance of OT learners. Once RIP is replaced with the proposed modifications, the apparent advantage of HG over OT learners reported in previous work disappears (Boersma & Pater ).

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Phonology Vol. 30, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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