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Second two-week Session

Second two-week Session

  • A Program for Evolutionary Syntax: Syntactic Reconstruction and Syntactic Fossils

    Ljiljana Progovac

    This course follows a simple idea, that syntax evolved gradually/incrementally (through well-defined stages), and that these stages are not only still evident in various modern constructions (“fossils”), but that they also provide a scaffolding for building more complex structures.

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  • Advanced Probabilistic Modeling in R

    Roger Levy

    Probabilistic modeling is transforming the study of human language, ranging from novel theories of linguistic cognition to sophisticated techniques for statistical analysis of complex, structured linguistic data to practical methods for automated processing of language. Doing cutting-edge research in these areas requires skill with probability and statistics, familiarity with formalisms from computational linguistics, ability to use and develop new computational tools, and comfort with handling complex datasets. This course will cover both theory and application, covering conceptual fundame

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  • Computational Approaches to Sound Change

    James Kirby, Morgan Sonderegger

    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.

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  • Computational Learning of Syntax

    Alexander Clark

    This course will look at the computational and mathematical theory of how grammars can be learned from strings.  
    Any theory of language acquisition must at bottom rest on some solution to this problem.

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  • Computational Minimalism

    Greg Kobele

    A precise formal understanding of a linguistic theory is vital for distinguishing between contentful and notational aspects of a linguistic proposal, for pinpointing cross-framework agreements and disagreements, and for making principled connections to other empirical domains.

    This course will present recent transformational syntax (`minimalism') in terms Stabler's minimalist grammar (MG) formalism. To get a feel for the formalism, we will engage in a hands-on analysis of basic aspects of constructions like raising, auxiliaries, expletives, and passives.

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  • Corpus Phonology

    Kevin Ryan

    The computer-aided analysis of naturalistic or experimental speech data provides new insights into the nature of the language faculty and new means of testing linguistic theories. This course treats corpus methods for phonology, emphasizing connections between data mining, statistical testing, and phonological analysis (especially issues concerning productivity and potential discrepancies between different sources of linguistic data). The first week focuses on extracting distributions and predictors of variable phenomena (e.g.

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  • Empirical Applications of Type-Logical Categorial Grammar

    Yusuke Kubota, Robert Levine

    The goal of this course is to familiarize students with Type-Logical Categorial Grammar (TLCG) as a framework that provides a new perspective on the syntax/semantics interface of natural language. While TLCG has so far been mostly studied in its connection to mathematical logic, our course emphasizes its value to the working linguist as a framework for characterizing linguistic generalizations, especially in empirical domains that have been widely regarded as problematic or even intractable in the mainstream linguistic literature, including both transformational and nontransformational appr

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  • Event Encoding in a Crosslinguistic Perspective

    Beth Levin

    Talmy's work on the lexicalization of motion events draws attention to significant differences in the strategies languages use to describe such events.

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  • Influence of the Media on Speech

    Jane Stuart-Smith

    The extent to which the spoken media (e.g. films and television) might have an impact on language variation and change in the community has been considered for some time within different areas of sociolinguistics. In this course we will consider the following:
    - previous research on the influence of the media on spoken language
    - methods and models of media influence within mass communications research
    - the findings of a recent variationist study on the impact of engaging with TV soap dramas on phonological variation and change

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  • Language Conflict & Language Rights

    Stanley Dubinsky, William Davies

    Linguistic minorities can arise through conquest and colonization, immigration, enslavement, or the creation of political states that ignore locally valued ethnic distinctions. Where there  are linguistic minorities, there also exist language conflicts and issues related to the rights of those minorities to use their languages freely and without prejudice.

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  • Linguistic Applications of Mereology

    Lucas Champollion

    Expressions like 'John and Mary' or 'the water in my cup' intuitively involve reference to collections of individuals or substances. The parthood relation between these collections and their components is not modeled in standard formal semantics of natural language, but it takes central stage in what is known as algebraic or mereological semantics.

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  • Linguistics as a Forensic Science

    Carole Chaski

    In Linguistics as a Forensic Science, students will learn a paradigm for forensic linguistics which meets both legal and scientific standards. This paradigm enables linguists to produce the reliability testing and calculated error rates that are expected of fully-admissible scientific evidence. Examples of this paradigm at work are drawn from the four corners of forensic linguistics: identification, text-typing, intertextuality and linguistic profiling.

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  • Passives in Distributed Morphology

    Heidi Harley

    In a syntacticocentric morphology, morphological operations must obey what Koontz-Garboden (2010) called the Monotonicity Hypothesis: syntactic and semantic functors can be added, but not deleted, by morphological processes.

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  • Processing Discourse Coherence

    Hannah Rohde

    The nature of a coherent discourse is that the utterances within it do not appear together arbitrarily but, rather, relate to each other in meaningful ways.  The establishment of intersentential coherence relations is hence fundamental to language use and language understanding. This course will introduce students to ongoing research in experimental pragmatics that analyzes the reasoning and inferences that are brought to bear in the establishment of intersentential coherence relations.

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  • Semantic Fieldwork

    Judith Tonhauser

    This course introduces participants to the methodology of collecting semantic/pragmatic data in collaboration with theoretically untrained native speaker consultants.

    Data that may inform semantic/pragmatic theorizing are typically quite complex, consisting of one or more grammatical sentences that are uttered in an appropriately designed context, and a native speaker’s judgment about the acceptability or the truth of the sentence(s) uttered in that context.

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  • Silent syntax? Experimental investigations of ellipsis

    Ming Xiang

    The central question for ellipsis resolution is how the phonologically silent material at the ellipsis site is recovered from the antecedent. The answer to this question bears upon some fundamental issues of linguistic inquiry, including whether postulating “silent” syntactic representations is necessary, and what is the division of labor between syntactic and discourse constraints. Against the background of an extensive theoretical discussion on ellipsis, this course examines the existing experimental findings on ellipsis processing. We will primarily focus on three questions.

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  • Speakers and Listeners in Sound Change

    Andries Coetzee

    Existing theories about sound change focus either on the role of speakers or the role of listeners. However, members of a speech community are of course both speakers and listeners of their language. This course will investigate the relationship between the production and perception patterns of individual language users in ongoing sound changes. Questions such as the following will be considered: Do the production and perception patterns of an individual speaker change together, or does change in one modality precede that in the other modality?

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  • Speech Technologies

    Karen Livescu

    This course will introduce techniques used in speech technologies, mainly focusing on automatic speech recognition (ASR). Speech recognition is one of the oldest and most complex sequence prediction tasks receiving significant research and commercial attention, and also a good example of the effectiveness of combining linguistic knowledge and speech science with statistics and machine learning. Course topics will include historical and phonetic background, acoustic features, dynamic time warping, hidden Markov models, statistical language models, and current research in ASR.

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  • The Psycholinguistics of Grammar

    Colin Phillips

    This advanced course will focus on how speakers encode and navigate linguistic representations in memory. Linguists are impressed by the rich grammatical details that natural languages follow. There is now abundant evidence that speakers and comprehenders show fine-grained control over these details during moment-by-moment speaking and understanding, but how do they do this?

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  • The Relationship between Social Meaning and Formal Semantics/Pragmatics

    E. Allyn Smith

    This course takes a holistic perspective on what constitutes meaning in natural language, looking at semantic, pragmatic and social factors. We examine various empirical phenomena that have been studied through different lenses across subfields, such as honorifics, deictics, and sentence-final rising intonation in an attempt to see whether existing research from one perspective may advance theories in another.

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