GLOW 2015‎ > ‎

Workshop: The implications of Computation and Learnability for Phonological Theory

Crystallizing a feeling widespread in the field, Marc van Oostendorp (2013) writes: ''It is fair to say that we know much more about sound patterns in human language than people did at the beginning of the 20th Century. At the same time, many phonologists seem to feel that we have not yet reached the standards of some of the ‘hard’ sciences.'' An obstacle to progress seems to be the fact that competing phonological theories are underdetermined by sheer typological and linguistic data. Moving beyond descriptive adequacy, Alan Prince thus proposes that ''rational arguments about two theories’ comparative success […] depend on a broad assessment of their properties.'' Among the formal properties of a phonological theory which are crucial for its comparative assessment are its computability and learnability properties. 

This workshop thus aims at investigating the implications of computation and learnability for phonological theory. The issues addressed include (but are not limited to): 
  • the computability/intractability of phonological grammars and the debate among derivational, representational, and constraint-based frameworks; 
  • learnability guarantees and the debate between competing modes of constraint interaction; 
  • the characterization of phonological patterns within the sub-regular hierarchy and the expressive power of phonological formalisms; 
  • the learnability filter and its implications for the evaluation of the typologies predicted by competing phonological theories; 
  • methods for constraint induction and the phonetic grounding of the phonological constraints; 
  • statistical methods, probabilistic grammars and the divide between categorical and gradient models of phonological competence; 
  • the learnability of phonological processes conditioned by prosodic domains and its implications for the syntax/phonology interface. 
The workshop adopts an inclusive perspective, open to any computational approach and any phonological framework. 

Workshop program: Saturday April 18th, 2015 
(info concerning the workshop location available here)

9:45—10:15 Welcome

Chair: Joe Pater
Robert Daland

Thomas Graf and Jeffrey Heinz

Coffee break

Chair: Michela Russo
Juliet Stanton

Stephanie Shih

12:45—13:15 Jane Chandlee, Jeffrey Heinz, and Adam Jardine

13:15—14:45 Lunch break

Chair: Jeffry Heinz
Coral Hughto, Joe Pater, and Robert Staubs 

Gaja Jarosz
Phonotactic probability and sonority sequencing in Polish initial clusters 

15:45—16:15  Ewan Dunbar, Gabriel Synnaeve, and Emmanuel Dupoux

16:15—16:45 Coffee break

Chair: Giorgio Magri
Afton Coombs

17:15—17:45 Klaas Seinhorst

17:45—18:30  Invited speaker: Bruce Tesar

 20:00—     Workshop party

Workshop organizers:
Joaquim Brandao de Carvalho, Mohamed Lahrouchi, Giorgio Magri, Michela Russo

Financial support from the following institutions is gratefully acknowledged: