Author Archives: Kevin

LEC talk 3rd February: Jasmeen Kanwal

By Kevin | January 26, 2015

Tuesday 3rd Feb, 11am-12:30, G32, 7 George Square Jasmeen Kanwal (UCSD) Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort from a diachronic perspective “The magnitude of words tends, on the whole, to stand in an inverse (not necessarily proportionate) relationship to the number of occurrences.” This is the Principle of Least Effort (PLE) as stated by George Kingsley [...]

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LEC talk 27th January: Mark Atkinson

By Kevin | January 26, 2015

Tuesday 27th Jan, 11am-12:30, G32, 7 George Square Mark Atkinson Adult language learning and sociocultural determination of linguistic complexity Languages spoken by larger groups have less complex morphology than those of smaller communities, although it is not immediately clear why this would be the case. One explanation considers the proportion of non-native speakers, which is [...]

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LEC talk 16th December: Simon Kirby

By Kevin | December 15, 2014

Tuesday 16th December 11.00am, DSB 1.17 From Item to System in Cultural Evolution Experiments Simon Kirby (with Andrea Ravignani & Tania Delgado) A wide range of iterated learning experiments show a strikingly similar pattern of results: over multiple transmission episodes systematicity increases cumulatively. What begin as independently learned behaviours start to form systems of interdependencies. [...]

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LEC talk 12th December: Damian Blasi

By Kevin | December 7, 2014

*** note unusual day, time and venue *** Friday 12th December 11am, DSB 3.10 Damian Blasi (MPI Leipzig) Linguistics meets data science My work stems from classic questions in typological-functional linguistics: what aspects of languages are similar or different across lineages and regions? Do similar patterns of use, social composition and/or ecology shape similar grammars? [...]

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LEC talk 9th December: Ashley Micklos

By Kevin | December 4, 2014

Tuesday 9th December 11.30am, DSB 1.17 Ashley Micklos (UCLA) Interaction’s role in emerging communication systems and their conventionalization: Eye gaze, turn-taking, and repair When considering the emergence and evolution of language, it is important not to disregard how we use language: in a dynamic interaction in which resources work in concert with one another to [...]

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LEC talk 5th December: Rick Janssen

By Kevin | December 2, 2014

*** note unusual day, time and venue *** Friday 5th December 4pm, DSB 3.10 Rick Janssen (MPI Nijmegen) Anatomical biasing of speech sounds: an empirically grounded agent model The Darwinian principles of variation, selection and reproduction have had widespread success in explaining the emergence of biological complexity. Similar principles might be at work in other [...]

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LEC talk 28th November: Thom Scott-Phillips

By Kevin | November 22, 2014

*** note unusual day, time and venue *** Friday 28th November 4pm, DSB 3.10 Thom Scott-Phillips (Durham University) Non-human primate communication, pragmatics, and the origins of language Comparisons with the cognition and communication of other species have long informed discussion of the origins of human communication and language. This research has often focused on similarities [...]

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LEC talk 25th November: Alan Nielsen

By Kevin | November 22, 2014

Tuesday 25th November 11am, DSB 1.17 Alan Nielsen Motivated vs conventional systematicity: Implications for language learning. Two complementary streams of research in the past decade have suggested that systematic associations between words and meanings are beneficial for language learners. On the one hand, work into sound symbolism has suggested that the motivated connections between certain [...]

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LEC talk 11th November: Yasamin Motamedi

By Kevin | November 8, 2014

Tues 11th November, 11am-12:30, DSB 1.17 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 of transmission [...]

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LEC talk 14th October: Joe Fruehwald

By Kevin | October 7, 2014

Tuesday 14th October, 11am-12:30, DSB 1.17 Joe Fruehwald How Phonetic Changes Happen In this talk, I’ll walk through a careful case study of a change in pronunciation that took place in Philadelphia across the 20th century which is based on acoustic analysis of archival recordings. The goal is to revisit some first principles about how [...]

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