Issue 2013/02/01

Roelofsen Colloquium Postponed

Due to causes, Floris Roelofsen‘s colloquium has been postponed from today until Wednesday, Feb 13 at 4pm.

In other news and for various other causes, the Phonetics and Phonology Workshop originally not scheduled for today has remained not scheduled. The next one will be Alex Djalali on February 15th.

Grano Colloquium Tuesday

Come to the Greenberg Room at noon on Tuesday 2/5 to hear Thomas Grano (Maryland) give a colloquium entitled “Motivating a functional restructuring approach to exhaustive control”. See you there!

Landau (2000; 2004) draws a distinction between P(artial) C(ontrol) and E(xhaustive) C(ontrol): whereas PC predicates like “hope” admit a subset relation between the controller and controllee, EC predicates like “try” do not. (e.g., Kim hoped to gather at noon. [controllee = Kim and contextually salient others] vs. *Kim tried to gather at noon.) This talk explores the consequences of Cinque’s (2006) suggestion that whereas PC instantiates ‘true’ biclausal control, EC predicates realize functional heads that instantiate monoclausal raising structures. Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers in Consciousness Talk on Tuesday

The Center for the Exploration of Consciousness (CEC) will be hosting a talk by David Chalmers (Australian National University, NYU) on Tuesday. Come to CSLI, Cordura 100 at 5pm to participate in the workshop! His talk is entitled “Panpsychism and Protopanpsychism”.

Mooney in CogLang Workshop Thursday

The Cognition and Langauge Workshop is hosting Raymond Mooney (UT Austin) on Thursday 2/7. Come to Cordura 100 at 3pm to hear his talk on “Pragmatics of Spatial Reference”.

Machine learning has become the best approach to building computational systems that comprehend human language. However, current systems require a great deal of laboriously constructed human-annotated training data. Ideally, a computer would be able to acquire language like a child by being exposed to linguistic input in the context of a relevant but ambiguous environment, and thereby “ground” its semantics in perception and action. As a step in this direction, we have developed systems that learn to sportscast simulated robot soccer games and to follow navigation instructions in virtual environments by simply observing sample human linguistic behavior. This work builds on our earlier work on supervised learning of semantic parsers that map natural language into a formal meaning representation. In order to apply such methods to learning from observation, we have developed methods that estimate the meaning of sentences from just their ambiguous perceptual context.

Leben on Metaphor

In response to a New Yorker article, Will Leben wrote this piece on the importance of metaphor and ambiguity. Way to not beat around the bush, Will!


To former MA candidate Kathryn Hymes, who got a mention for her work on Facebook’s new search technologies in this NY Times article.

New Department collaborations pages

The Department collaborations pages have been updated! Check out our graphs of collaborations (published, presented, or submitted papers/posters) among:

  • faculty:

    Collaborations among current faculty
  • faculty and students:

    Collaborations between current faculty and current PhD students
  • students:

    Collaborations among current PhD students
  • everybody:

    Collaborations among all current faculty and PhD students

Linguistic Levity

Perhaps against the spirit of Will’s post, semantic ambiguity can get you in trouble. Be careful.