Author Archives: Kevin

LEC talk 9th June: Jon W. Carr

By Kevin | June 5, 2015

Tuesday 9th June, Room 1.17, DSB, 11:05-12:30pm Jon W. Carr The emergence of categorical and compositional structure in an open-ended meaning space Language facilitates the division of the world into discrete, arbitrary categories. This categorical structure reduces an intractable, infinite space of meanings to a tractable, finite set of categories. By sufficiently aligning on a [...]

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LEC talk 26th May: Geoffrey K. Pullum

By Kevin | May 21, 2015

Tuesday 26th May, 11:05-12:30, DSB 1.17 Properties of Hierarchically Primitive Languages Geoffrey K. Pullum PPLS, University of Edinburgh There are families of formally definable `languages’ (sets of symbol strings) that have a descriptive and combinatorial complexity way down below the finite-state (FS) languages, which are commonly (but wrongly) taken to be the bottom of the [...]

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LEC talk 19th May: Carmen Saldana

By Kevin | May 15, 2015

Tuesday 19th May, 11:05-12:30, DSB 1.17 Carmen Saldana Categorisation: the backbone of language A cognitive function underlying language and its essential combinatorial power is a modified antecedent of a ubiquitous process of categorisation and extraction of similarities among vertebrates — a process that requires complex capacities such as induction, generalisation and abstraction. Far from being [...]

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LEC Talk 12th May: Nicolas Fay

By Kevin | May 6, 2015

Tuesday 12th May, 11:05-12:30, DSB 1.17 Nicolas Fay (The University of Western Australia) Cognitive Biases Plus Social Interaction Drives the Adaptive Evolution of Human Communication Systems. Researchers have tended to focus either on the cognitive biases or the social interactional processes that drive language evolution. Rarely have these top-down and bottom-up approaches been combined. In [...]

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LEC talk 28th April: Joe Fruehwald

By Kevin | April 24, 2015

Tues 28th April 11-12.30, Room 1.20, Dugald Stewart Building Joe Fruehwald Cohorts, Lifespans, and The Zeitgeist I’ll be discussing three different kinds of time dimensions and how they relate to language change. Generational Time – Time defined in terms of generations, or birth cohorts, of speakers. An important component of language change is the differences [...]

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LEC talk 21st April: Matt Spike

By Kevin | April 24, 2015

Tues 21st April 11-12.30, Room 1.17, Dugald Stewart Building Matt Spike Rules and randomness: recognising and measuring the emergence of structure Linguistic structure and possible explanations for its emergence are common themes in evolutionary approaches to language. However, probably because of the many different ways in which linguists employ the word ‘structure’ (e.g. combinatorial, compositional, [...]

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LEC talk 17th March: Hannah Little

By Kevin | March 5, 2015

Tues 17th March 11-12.30, Room G32, 7 George Square Hannah Little (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) An extheremental investigation into modality and the emergence of structure There is increasing evidence that physical aspects of a linguistic modality may affect the emergence of combinatorial structure. These effects may be because of the number of possible signal distinctions that [...]

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LEC talk 10th March: Richard Blythe

By Kevin | March 5, 2015

Tues 10th March 11-12.30, Room G32, 7 George Square Richard Blythe Emergence of Typological Universals Apparently equivalent variants of a linguistic variable (e.g. the different basic word orders) have a non-uniform distribution across the world’s languages, thereby suggestive of some non-equivalence among them. Various cognitive principles that apply during language acquisition or use are proposed [...]

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LEC talk 3rd March: Kenny Smith

By Kevin | February 25, 2015

Tues 3rd March 11-12.30, Room G32, 7 George Square Kenny Smith Dendrophilia versus simplicity in sequence learning Fitch (2014) presents the Dendrophilia Hypothesis, namely that “Humans have a multi-domain capacity and proclivity to infer tree structures from strings, to a degree that is difficult or impossible for most non-human animal species”. I think this is [...]

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LEC talk 10th February: Yasamin Motamedi

By Kevin | February 5, 2015

Tuesday 10th Feb, 11am-12:30, G32, 7 George Square Yasamin Motamedi The emergence of systematic structure in artificial gestural communication systems Languages exhibit systematic structure: signals are not independent of each other but form part of a system. Previous work has shown that the emergence of systematic structure increases learnability of a system, and the pressures [...]

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