Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

Look Who’s Talking!

Lauri Karttunen gave a keynote talk at the CICLing-2015 conference in Cairo on Thursday, April 16 on “From Natural Logic to Natural Reasoning”.

Vera Gribanova gave a talk on April 10 at the UC Berkeley Syntax and Semantics Circle on “The Verbal Identity Condition in ellipsis: Consequences for head movement”.

Ignacio Cases will present “Learning Compositionality with Scala” at Text By The Bay 2015 on April 25.

Several Stanford linguists will be presenting at CLS 51 next weekend in Chicago:

  • Boris Harizanov will present a paper co-authored with Ryan Bennett & Robert Henderson on “Non-local prosodic subcategorization and its role in the syntax/prosody mapping”
  • Thomas Grano (B.A. 2006) will present “A coercion-free semantics for intention reports”
  • Alessandro Jaker (Ph.D. 2012) will present “The Consonant Hierarchy in Dëne Sųłıné”

2015 SemFest Schedule (Friday, 3/13)

SemFest is right around the corner! Next Friday (3/13) at 1PM in the Greenberg Room, we will gather to hear about exciting semantics work going on in the department! All are welcome!

SemFest 2015 – Schedule

1:00 – 1:30 Phil Crone and Michael C. Frank “Morphosyntactic and Referential Cues to the Identification of Generic Statements”

1:30 – 2:00 Michael Henry Tessler and Noah D. Goodman “A Computational Model of Generic Language”

2:00 – 2:30 Greg Scontras and Noah D. Goodman “The Role of Context in Plural Predication”

2:45 – 3:15 Ming Chew Teo “Contrastive lor in Singapore Colloquial English: Another discourse-semantic account”

3:15 – 3:45 Lelia Glass “An Analysis of the Negatively-Biased Mandarin Belief Verb yˇiwéi

4:00 – 4:30 Dasha Popova “Evidential Uses of Komi-Zyrian Past Tense Morphemes”

4:30 – 5:00 “James Collins The Scope of Futures”

5:00 Social in the Department Lounge

Look Who’s Talking!

Jeremy Calder gave a talk on his QP2 work at CSU Bakersfield on March 4.

Tania Rojas-Esponda spoke on “Discourse particles and focus effects in a question-under-discussion framework” in the LingLangLunch talk series at Brown University on March 4.

Sven Lauer and Cleo Condoravdi presented “Hypothetical facts and hypothetical ideals in the temporal dimension” at the 37. Jahrestagung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft.

Tom Wasow is giving a plenary talk today at the 37. Jahrestagung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft at the University of Leipzig: “The non-categorical character of most linguistic generalizations”.

Chris Potts gave several recent talks:

  • “Coordinating on context and construal”, Google, February 19.
  • “Embedded implicatures as pragmatic inferences under compositional lexical uncertainty”, Psychology Department, UC Santa Cruz, February 18.
  • “Embedded implicatures as pragmatic inferences under compositional lexical uncertainty”, Invited talk at the 41st Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, February 8.

Construction of Meaning Workshop Today (2/20) at 3:30PM: Roelofsen

Reminder: Floris Roelofsen (Universiteit van Amsterdam) will be giving a talk for the Construction of Meaning Workshop today in the Greenberg Room on work in Montague Grammar.

Alternatives in Montague grammar

The type theoretic framework for natural language semantics laid out by Montague (1973) forms the cornerstone of formal semantics. Hamblin (1973) proposed an extension of Montague’s basic framework, referred to as alternative semantics. In this framework, the meaning of a sentence is not taken to be a single proposition, but rather a set of propositions—a set of alternatives. While this more fine-grained view on meaning has led to improved analyses of a wide range of linguistic phenomena, it also faces a number of problems. We focus here on two of these, in our view the most fundamental ones.

The first has to do with how meanings are composed, i.e., with the type-theoretic operations of function application and abstrac- tion; the second has to do with how meanings are compared,i.e., the notion of entailment. Our aim is to reconcile what we take to be the essence of Hamblin’s proposal with the solid type-theoretic foundations of Montague grammar, in such a way that the observed problems evaporate. Our proposal partly builds on insights from recent work on inquisitive semantics (Ciardelli et al., 2013), and it also further advances this line of work, specifying how the inquisitive meaning of a sentence, as well as the set of alternatives that it introduces, may be built up compositionally.

This talk presents joint work with Ivano Ciardelli.

CogLanguage Workshop Meeting next Thursday (2/26) at 4PM: Lupyan

The CogLanguage Workshop would like to welcome you to a talk by Gary Lupyan (Wisconsin-Madison) on his work on the realization of language and thought in the mind. All are welcome to this exciting talk, which will take place at 4PM in the Greenberg Room!

How Language Programs the Mind
In contemporary psychology, it is common to view the mind as being split. On one side are processes such as perception, attention, and memory. On the other are linguistic processes such as word and sentence comprehension which translate nonverbal representations into verbal ones. I will argue that this split is untenable. Rather than being a medium into which “thoughts” are translated for communication, language acts as a high level control system for the mind, changing how perceptual and conceptual representations are activated. I will support this position by showing how even subtle linguistic manipulations affect behavior from low-level visual tasks to higher-level categorization and inference. I will then discuss several design features of language that make it an especially powerful tool for programming the mind.

SymSys Forum next Monday (2/23) at 12:15PM: Icard

Join the Symbolic Systems Forum next Monday 12:15 in the Greenberg Room, where Thomas Icard (Stanford Philosophy) will speak about his his interdisciplinary work in Philosophy and Cognitive Science.

Algorithmic Rationality

Familiar formal accounts of rational thought and action — from classical logic, probability, decision theory, etc. — do not take into account computational bounds, and in particular they leave out the costs an agent might incur in figuring out what to think or do. While this fact has long been recognized (famously by H. Simon, but also by the pioneers of these methods, such as L.J. Savage and I.J. Good, and many since), a substantive formal theory of what we might call “algorithmic rationality” has not been forthcoming. I will try to illustrate why such a theory is needed in philosophy and in cognitive science, and offer some speculative remarks about how it might look.

Special Talk Today (2/13) at Noon: Nerbonne

Please join us in the Greenberg Room as we hear from John Nerbonne (Groningen), who will give an interdisciplinary talk spanning phonetics, language acquisition and computational modeling! The title and abstract are given below; the talk represents joint work with Martin Wieling (Groningen) and Harald Baayen (Tuebingen/Alberta).

Accents: The big picture

We investigate determinants of the strength of foreign accents in English pronunciation using data from more than 800 speakers and analyzed with an eye to assessing the presence of a critical period in second language learning. Our approach is different as it not only considers a large set of speakers with a variety of language backgrounds, but also uses a validated, computational measure of how native-like the accent of a speaker is. Using piecewise regression, we observe a strong effect of the age of English onset until the age of 6, after which the effect is much smaller (but not absent). However, in a validation step, this effect appeared to be strongly dependent on the language background of the speaker. In our dataset, speakers with a non-Indo-European (non-IE) native language had a clear breakpoint at the age of 6, whereas speakers with an Indo-European (IE) background had only a minor breakpoint around the age of 16. Furthermore, resampling the data in an attempt to verify the results showed that both language groups showed a bimodal pattern, with mirrored locations for the primary modes (IE: majority around 16 and minority around 6; non-IE: majority around 6 and minority around 12). In sum, our study does not support the existence of a stable critical period within which a second language can be learned with a high degree of proficiency. Instead, our results indicate that proficiency is best understood as the outcome of a complex interaction between socio-economic status, educational practice, and the delayed onset and prolonged maturation of the prefrontal cortex.

Construction of Meaning Workshop Next Friday (2/20)…

… featuring a talk by Floris Roelofsen (University of Amsterdam), a CSLI visitor this month, to be given Friday, February 20 at 3:30pm in the Greenberg Room.

Alternatives in Montague grammar

The type theoretic framework for natural language semantics laid out by Montague (1973) forms the cornerstone of formal semantics. Hamblin (1973) proposed an extension of Montague’s basic framework, referred to as alternative semantics. In this framework, the meaning of a sentence is not taken to be a single proposition, but rather a set of propositions—a set of alternatives. While this more fine-grained view on meaning has led to improved analyses of a wide range of linguistic phenomena, it also faces a number of problems. We focus here on two of these, in our view the most fundamental ones.

The first has to do with how meanings are composed, i.e., with the type-theoretic operations of function application and abstraction; the second has to do with how meanings are compared, i.e., the notion of entailment. Our aim is to reconcile what we take to be the essence of Hamblin’s proposal with the solid type-theoretic foundations of Montague grammar, in such a way that the observed problems evaporate. Our proposal partly builds on insights from recent work on inquisitive semantics (Ciardelli et al., 2013), and it also further advances this line of work, specifying how the inquisitive meaning of a sentence, as well as the set of alternatives that it introduces, may be built up compositionally.