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Computational Approaches to Sound Change


Computational Approaches to Sound Change

Decades of empirical research have led to an increasingly nuanced picture of the nature of phonetic and phonological change, incorporating insights from speech production and perception, cognitive biases, and social factors. However, there remains a significant gap between observed patterns and proposed mechanisms, in part due to the difficulty of conducting the type of controlled studies necessary to test hypotheses about historical change. Computational and mathematical models provide an alternative means by which such hypotheses can be fruitfully explored. In this course, students will study the significant literature on computational and mathematical modeling of sound change that has emerged over the past 20 years, including models of phonetic change in individuals over the lifespan, phonological change in speech communities in historical time, and lexical diffusion. In addition to seminars and discussion, the course will provide extensive hands-on experience with computational models through several case studies.

Course Status: Closed

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Second two-week Session


Monday: 1:10 pm-3:00 pm
Thursday: 1:10 pm-3:00 pm


 Previous programming experience (especially in R and/or Python) will be helpful but is not required.