LINGUIST List 29.686

Mon Feb 12 2018

Calls: Comp Ling, Gen Ling, Morphology, Text/Corpus Ling, Typology/Poland

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 07-Feb-2018
From: Aleksandrs Berdicevskis <>
Subject: Measuring Language Complexity
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Full Title: Measuring Language Complexity
Short Title: MLC

Date: 15-Apr-2018 - 15-Apr-2018
Location: Torun, Poland
Contact Person: Aleksandrs Berdicevskis
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; General Linguistics; Morphology; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Typology

Call Deadline: 28-Feb-2018

Meeting Description:

Measuring Language Complexity (MLC) is a workshop held at the Faculty of Languages NCU (Collegium Humanisticum, Bojarskiego 1, Torun) as a satellite event of EVOLANG XII in Torun, Poland.

It aims to bring together researchers from different fields who are interested in measures of language complexity. To ensure comparability and reproducibility, participants are required to measure - with their metric of choice - the linguistic complexity of a predefined set of 37 language varieties belonging to 7 families. The results, as well as their mutual agreement/disagreement will be discussed at the workshop.

Final Call for Papers:

An influential line of thinking within evolutionary linguistics is that languages change in response to socioecological pressures, i.e. adapt to their environmental niches. Language complexity is a common parameter to test for such adaptation. It is, however, notoriously difficult to define and measure. Virtually every study of complexity uses its own operationalization and measure. On one hand, this diversity is beneficial for the field, since an intricate phenomenon is being studied from different angles. On the other hand, the comparison of different studies is inhibited. This is particularly problematic if different measures yield different conclusions, since there currently is little consensus about how measures themselves can be evaluated and compared.

To overcome this, we organize a shared task (shared tasks are widely used in computational linguistics) on linguistic complexity, namely: Measure and compare the complexities of a set of 37 language varieties of 7 families (, submissions covering only a part of the sample may also be considered). The participants are free to choose whether they want to measure just one facet of complexity (e.g. phoneme/grapheme inventory, morphology, word order), or try to develop an overall complexity measure. The complexity measure can be based on any conceivable metric. The submissions, however, have to clearly state: 1) what exactly is being measured (e.g. overspecification, lexical diversity, irregularity, verbosity, opacity etc.); 2) how the measure is calculated, and the theoretical rationale behind the method; 3) the resulting value for each language.

See further details at the workshop website:

Page Updated: 12-Feb-2018