Monday, January 17, 2011

Talk on the Making of the Dictionary of NFLD English

This talk is sponsored by the English Department. Dr. Jeff Webb (Department of History) will speak on the writing of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

A Distinguishing Feature of the English Department:
The Writing of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Time: 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
Location: A-1049

All are welcome to attend.

Congratulations to Phil Branigan!

Dr. Branigan's new book, "Provocative Syntax" has been published as Linguistics Inquiry Monograph 61, by the MIT Press.

More information about Dr. Branigan's book can be found here.

What people are saying about Phil (and his book) (from the MIT Press page):

"Provocative Syntax is a desperately needed breath of fresh air for Minimalist syntax's model of movement. ‘Provocation’ is an exciting alternative to the EPP that is still well grounded in Chomskyan tradition. This book is a must-read for anyone dissatisfied with motivating movement via uninterpretable features."
Daniel Siddiqi, School of Linguistics

"Provocative Syntax sparkles with originality and erudition. Branigan brilliantly connects seemingly unrelated theoretical strands to weave a tight and elegant model of syntactic movement and provides theoretically unified solutions to many outstanding problems in the syntax of Germanic and Romance. Among the numerous books and papers spawned by Chomsky’s Minimalist program, this book is one of the most profound I’ve read.”
Ur Shlonsky, Professor of Linguistics, University of Geneva

Seminar Series starts up again

Yvan Rose (Department of Linguistics) and Todd Wareham (Department of Computer Science) will be speaking on the topic of phonological acquisition. Please see the abstract below. All are welcome to attend!

February 11, 2011
Location: TBA

Pushing the Envelope:
Are Analogy-Based Approaches to Phonological Acquisition Viable?

When learning a language, children must first learn the phonological categories (e.g. sound and syllable types) particular to that language. Even though such learning appears to exploit statistical regularities in language input (e.g. Kuhl 2004), this seems at odds with a growing body of evidence that the later stages of phonological acquisition are performed at a more symbolic level (e.g. Thiessen & Saffran 2003). One way of dealing with this problem is to assume that acquisition occurs by progressive and incremental generalizations over linguistic inputs. Such a model phrased within Dedre Gentner's structure-mapping theory of analogy-based generalization has been shown to be consistent with the later acquisition of individual words, syntax, and relational categories.

This suggests two important questions:

1) Can such a (possibly modified) model work for phonological acquisition?

2) How might such a model be tested?

In this talk, we will give some preliminary answers and further thoughts on these questions.