EACL 2012 Workshop on Computational Models
of Language Acquisition and Loss 

Avignon, France

April 24, 2012

NEW: Workshop programme is available now

The past decades have seen a massive expansion in the application of statistical and machine learning methods to speech
and natural language processing. This work has yielded impressive results which have generally been viewed as
engineering achievements. Recently researchers have begun to investigate the relevance of computational learning
methods for research on human language acquisition and loss. The human ability to acquire and process language has long attracted interest and generated much debate due to the
apparent ease with which such a complex and dynamic system is learnt and used on the face of ambiguity, noise and
uncertainty. On the other hand, changes in language abilities during aging and eventual losses related to conditions
such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia have also attracted considerable investigative efforts. Parallels between the
acquisition and loss have been raised, and a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in both, and of how the
algorithms used to access concepts are affected in pathological cases can lead to earlier diagnosis and more targeted
treatments. The use of computational modeling is a relatively recent trend boosted by advances in machine learning techniques,
and the availability of resources like corpora of child and child-directed sentences, and data from psycholinguistic tasks by normal and pathological groups. Many of the existing computational models attempt to study language tasks
under cognitively plausible criteria (such as memory and processing limitations that humans face), and to explain the developmental stages observed in the acquisition and evolution of the language abilities.
This is the third edition of this workshop that was first held at ACL 2007 in Prague and then in EACL 2009 in Athens. The workshop is targeted at anyone interested in the relevance of computational techniques for understanding first,
second and bilingual language acquisition and change or loss in normal and pathological conditions. Long and short papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following topics: * Computational learning theory and analysis of language learning * Computational models of first, second and bilingual language acquisition * Computational models of language changes in e.g. dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease * Computational models and analysis of factors that influence language acquisition and loss in different age groups
and cultures * Computational models of various aspects of language and their interaction in acquisition and change * Computational models of the evolution of language * Data resources and tools for investigating computational models of human language processes * Empirical and theoretical comparisons of the environment and its impact on acquisition/loss * Cognitively oriented Bayesian models of language processes * Computational methods for acquiring various linguistic information (related to e.g. speech, lexicon, syntax, and
semantics) and their relevance to research on human language acquisition * Investigations and comparisons of supervised, unsupervised and weakly-supervised methods for learning (e.g.
machine learning, statistical, symbolic, biologically-inspired, active learning, various hybrid models)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

8:55 Opening Session

        (9:00) Session 1: Language Evolution and Learning

9:00     Distinguishing Contact-Induced Change from Language Drift in Genetically Related

 T. Mark Ellison and Luisa Miceli

9:30     Empiricist Solutions to Nativist Puzzles by means of Unsupervised TSG
Rens Bod and Margaux Smets

10:00 Coffee Break

        (10:30) Invited Talk I:
Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh, UK)

        (11:30) Session 2: Demonstration Session

A Morphologically Annotated Hebrew CHILDES Corpus
        Aviad Albert, Brian MacWhinney, Bracha Nir and Shuly Wintner
        An annotated English child language database
        Aline Villavicencio, Beracah Yankama, Rodrigo Wilkens, Marco Idiart
        and Robert

        Searching the Annotated Portuguese Childes Corpora
        Rodrigo Wilkens

        Webservices for Bayesian Learning
        Muntsa Padro and Nuria Bel

12:30 Lunch Break

        (14:00) Invited Talk II:
Alessandro Lenci (University of Pisa, Italy)

        (15:00) Session 3: Phonology and Syntax I

15:00     PHACTS about activation-based word similarity effects
              Basilio Calderone and Chiara Celata

15:15     I say have you say tem: profiling verbs in children data in English and Portuguese
              Rodrigo Wilkens and Aline Villavicencio

15:30 Coffee Break

        (16:00) Session 4: Phonology and Syntax II

16:00     Get out but don’t fall down: verb-particle constructions in child language
              Aline Villavicencio, Marco Idiart, Carlos Ramisch, Vıtor Araujo, Beracah Yankama
              and Robert Berwick

16:30      Phonologic Patterns of Brazilian Portuguese: a grapheme to phoneme converter
               based study
               Vera Vasilevski

17:00 Closing Remarks

The deadline for camera-ready papers is March 9th, 2012. This is a hard deadline. All papers must be in PDF
format and must follow the EACL 2012 formatting requirements, available at


We strongly advise the use of the provided Word or LaTeX template files.
Camera-ready papers must be uploaded
onto the START system by the submission deadline (March 9th, 2012, 11:59pm Samoa Time; UTC/GMT -11 hours)

https://www.softconf.com/eacl2012/Cognitive2012/ Long papers can be at most 9 pages of content and 2 additional pages containing references only. Please, try to
accommodate reviewers' suggestions as much as possible.

Here is a summarized list of instructions.
  • Paper format: PDF.
  • Non-English characters: embed all fonts when generating the PDF file.
  • Paper size: A4 (210 × 297 millimetres, 8.3 × 11.7 inches)
    • Names of Authors: Same as registered to the submission page; same spelling style in all accepted papers to avoid generating multiple author index entries for authors with more than one accepted paper
  • Page numbers and running headers: DO NOT supply.
  • Non-English terms: supply transliteration or translation or both as appropriate as possible.
  • References: sort in ascending order of family name of first authors and do not miss required information.
  • If the title or author information has changed then please edit those metadata fields when you upload the camera-ready version, 
    so that they will appear correctly in the table of contents, author index, conference schedule, etc.

Remember to sign the copyright transfer agreement electronically or physically as well. When you submit the paper, you will be asked
to electronically or physically sign ACL's Copyright Transfer Agreement on behalf of all authors. Authors retain many rights under this

At least one of the authors should be registered for the workshop by the camera-ready deadline. Please send a confirmation to the
workshop organizers.

IMPORTANT DATES Feb 5, 2012   Paper submission deadline (extended)
Feb 28, 2012    Notification of acceptance - Papers
Feb 29, 2012    System demonstrations submission deadline
Mar 04, 2012    Notification of acceptance - Demos

Mar 09, 2012 Camera-ready deadline - All Apr 24, 2012 Workshop


* Afra Alishahi, Tilburg University (Netherlands) * Colin J Bannard, University of Texas at Austin (USA) * Marco Baroni, University of Trento (Italy) * Jim Blevins, University of Cambridge (UK) * Rens Bod, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) * Antal van den Bosch, Tilburg University (Netherlands) * Alexander Clark, Royal Holloway, University of London (UK) * Robin Clark, University of Pennsylvania (USA) * Matthew W. Crocker, Saarland University (Germany) * James Cussens, University of York (UK) * Walter Daelemans, University of Antwerp (Belgium) and Tilburg University (Netherlands) * Barry Devereux, University of Cambridge (UK) * Sonja Eisenbeiss, University of Essex (UK) * Afsaneh Fazly, University of Toronto (Canada) * Cynthia Fisher, University of Illinois (USA) * Jeroen Geertzen, University of Cambridge (UK) * Henriette Hendriks, University of Cambridge (UK) * Marco Idiart, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) * Aravind Joshi, University of Pennsylvania (USA) * Shalom Lappin, King's College London (UK) * Alessandro Lenci, University of Pisa (Italy) * Igor Malioutov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) * Marie-Catherine de Marneffe, Stanford University (USA) * Fanny Meunier, Lumière Lyon 2 University (France) * Brian Murphy, Carnegie Mellon University (USA) * Maria Alice Parente, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) * Massimo Poesio, University of Essex (UK) * Brechtje Post, University of Cambridge (UK) * Ari Rappoport, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) * Dan Roth, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) * Kenji Sagae, University of Southern California (USA) * Sabine Schulte im Walde, University of Stuttgart (Germany) * Ekaterina Shutova, University of Cambridge (UK) * Maity Siqueira, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) * Mark Steedman, University of Edinburgh (UK) * Shuly Wintner, University of Haifa (Israel) * Charles Yang, University of Pennsylvania (USA) * Beracah Yankama, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) * Menno van Zaanen, Tilburg University (
Netherlands) * Michael Zock, LIF, CNRS, Marseille (France)
WORKSHOP ORGANIZERS AND CONTACT * Robert Berwick, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) * Anna Korhonen, University of Cambridge (UK) * Thierry Poibeau, LaTTiCe-CNRS (France) and University of Cambridge (UK) * Aline Villavicencio, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and Massachussets Institute of Technology (USA) For any inquiries regarding the workshop please send an email to cognitivemodels2012@gmail.com