Meaghan Fowlie at CLIN 23

Meaghan Fowlie was recently in the Netherlands where she presented a poster entitled “Minimalist Grammars with Adjunction” at the 23rd meeting of Computational Linguistics In the Netherlands (CLIN 23) at the University of Twente.

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Colloquium 01/18 – Jeffrey Lidz (Maryland)

Jeffrey Lidz (Maryland) will give a colloquium talk this Friday in Public Affairs 2270, at 11 a.m. As always, a social hour will follow at 1 pm in Campbell 2122. The title of the talk is:
Children’s Attitude Problems

Location: Public Affairs 2270 (Please note the change in location from last quarter)
Time: Friday, January 18, 11-1pm
Contact: Victoria Mateu

Please see her abstract below:

This talk will investigate the connection between children’s linguistic acquisition of mental state (‘attitude’) verbs and their mind-reading development. Children’s acquisition of attitude verbs like ‘think’ or ‘want’ has been used as a window into their understanding of other people’s minds. An extensive number of acquisition studies show that young children display difficulty with verbs like ‘think’ but not ‘want’. This result is often interpreted as reflecting an asymmetry in conceptual development: while the desire concept is acquired early, children fail to grasp the concept of belief until their fourth birthday. This talk presents a linguistic explanation for these acquisition facts, which derives the asymmetry and children’s mistakes from pragmatic factors, rather than a deficiency in semantic or conceptual knowledge. Our experimental results suggest that children’s conceptual and semantic knowledge for attitudes is in place early on, and can be unmasked in the right pragmatic conditions.

Psychobabble 01/15 – Bozena Pajak (UCSD/Rochester)

Bozena Pajak (UCSD/Rochester) will be presenting in Psychobabble this week.

Speaker: Bozena Pajak
Date/Time: Tuesday, January 15, 4-6pm
Location: Campbell 2122
Title: Modeling generalization in distributional learning of phonetic categories
Contact: Carson Schutze

Abstract:

Distributional learning guides the acquisition of phonetic categories, both native and non-native, but its underlying mechanisms are still relatively poorly understood. In this talk I will present results showing how adults make use of distributional cues in a novel language to make inferences about other properties of that language. Specifically, after learning a novel distinction between short and long consonants for one segmental class (e.g., sonorants), participants were also inclined to think that length distinguishes between consonants in another class (e.g., fricatives). I will present a non-parametric Bayesian model that accounts for this generalization pattern by assuming a hierarchy of abstract phonological representations, where evidence from one part of the system informs inferences about the rest of the system.