Giorgio Magri

Curriculum vitae

I have a degree in philosophy and one in mathematics, both from the University of Milano. I have a PhD in linguistics from MIT. I am a permanent researcher at the French CNRS. I co-organize the Paris seminar in computation and linguistic theory

Contact information

SFL UMR 7023, 
CNRS and University of Paris 8
61 rue Pouchet 
75017 Paris 
+33 1 40 25 10 25


Research interests

My area of research is computational linguistic theory, at the interface between machine learning and linguistics. It is informed by the core conjecture that natural language has a rich and specific structure which allows for provably exact and efficient algorithms for language production, perception/interpretation, and learning. My research explores this connection between computation and linguistics in both directions: on the one hand, it tries to distill the algorithmic implications of powerful typological linguistic generalizations; on the other hand, it uses computational limitations and algorithmic bottlenecks as heuristic principles to discover typological generalizations.

Here are some of the specific questions that I have focused on: what are the learnability implications of different modes of constraint interaction in constraint-based phonology? What are the learnability implications of various constraint theories (such as correspondence theory, phonetic grounding, or the structure of a network of feature co-occurrence constraints)? What are the modeling implications of different frameworks for gradience and variation? Do universal restrictions on determiners' denotations (such as conservativity or monotonicity) have implications for learnability?

Teaching and talks for the fall semester 2017:

Talk at the Annual Meeting on Phonology with Arto Anttila (abstract, slides)

 Course on learnability in constraint-based phonology (draft lecture notes available here)

 Reading group on the learnability of syntax with Carlo Cecchetto (syllabus, handouts, and readings available here)

 Stanford linguistics colloquium

Papers and manuscripts 

Abstracts, papers, chapters, and other documents are posted on this site as an efficient way to distribute reprints. The respective authors and publishers of these works retain all of the copyrights to this material. Anyone copying, downloading, bookmarking, or printing any of these materials agrees to comply with all of the copyright terms. Other than having an electronic or printed copy for fair personal use, none of these works may be reposted, reprinted, or redistributed without the explicit permission of the relevant copyright holders. 

—  Statistical learning theory explains linguistic typology: a learnability perspective on OT’s strict domination. Joint work with Emile Enguehard (first author) and Edward Flemming. In Proceedings of the first annual meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics

 —  Learnability to the rescue of the quest for phonological universals. Position statement for the Crecchio Workshop on Language Universals organized by Roberta d'Alessandro, June 8-11 2017.
 —  A note on phonological similarity in Tesar's (2013) theory of output-drivenness. To appear in the Journal of Logic and Computation.

 —  A closer look at Boersma and Hayes' (2001) simulation results. Joint work with Benjamin StormeSubmitted manuscript. 

—  Blindness, Short-sightedness, and Hirschberg's contextually ordered alternatives: a reply to Schlenker (2012). In Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions; Salvatore Pistoia-Reda and Filippo Domaneschi (eds.); Palgrave Macmillan; 2017.

—  Idempotency, output-drivenness and the triangle inequality: some consequences of McCarthy's (2003) categoricity generalization. To appear in the Journal of Logic, Language, and Information.

—  Idempotency in Optimality Theory. To appear in the Journal of Linguistics.

—  Restrictiveness through relaxation. In Short' schrift for Alan Prince; Eric Bakovic (ed.); 2015.

—  Output-drivenness and partial phonological features. To appear in Linguistic Inquiry. 

 —   A MaxSat formulation of the Subset problem in Optimality Theory. Manuscript. 

 —  When is it the case that one tableau suffices? A note on Prince (2015). Manuscript.

—  How to choose successful losers in error-driven phonotactic learningJoint work with René KagerIn MOL14: Proceedings of the 14th Meeting on Mathematics of Language; 2015.  

—  Idempotency and chain shifts. In WCCFL 33: Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics; Kyeong-min Kim et al. (ed.); Cascadilla Proceedings Project; 2016. 
—  Universal restrictions on Natural Language determiners from a PAC-learnability perspective. In CogSci 37: Proceedings of the 37th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society; 2015.

  Noise robustness and stochastic tolerance of OT error-driven ranking algorithms. In Journal of Logic and Computation, 26.3: 959-988; 2016.
—  How to account for phonetically counterintuitive segment inventories using only phonetically grounded markedness constraintsJoint work with René KagerIn NELS 45: Proceedings of the 45th annual meeting of the North East Linguistic Society; 2015.

—  How to keep the HG weights non-negative: the truncated Perceptron reweighing ruleIn Journal of Language Modeling, 3.2: 345–375; 2015.

—  Review of Tesar's (2013) Output-driven phonology: theory and learning. In Phonology 31: 525-556; 2015.

—  The error-driven ranking model of the acquisition of phonotactics: how to keep the faithfulness constraints at bay. In MORPHFSM 2014: Proceedings of the 2014 Joint Meeting of SIGMorPhon and SIGFSM; Ozlem Cetinoglu, Jeffrey Heinz, Andreas Maletti, and Jason Riggle (eds.); Association for Computational Linguistics.

—  Two puzzles raised by oddness in conjunction. In Journal of Semantics, 33.1: 1-17; 2016.

—  Error-driven learning in OT and HG: a comparison. In Phonology, 33.3: 493-532; 2016. 

—  Error-driven versus batch models of the acquisition of phonotactics: David defeats Goliath. In Supplemental Proceedings of Phonology 2013; John Kingston, Claire Moore-Cantwell, Joe Pater, and Robert Staubs (eds.); Linguistic Society of America, Washington DC. 

—  A closer look at Boersma and Hayes' (2001) Ilokano metathesis test caseJoint work with Benjamin Storme. In CLS 49: Proceedings of the 49th annual conference of the Chicago Linguistic Society; 2015.

—  An account for the homogeneity effects triggered by plural definites and conjunction based on double strengthening. In Pragmatics, Semantics and the Case of Scalar Implicatures; Salvatore Pistoia Reda (ed.); Palgrave Macmillan; pp. 99-145.

—  The error-driven ranking model of the early stage of the acquisition of phonotactics: an initial result on correctness. In NELS 43: Proceedings of the 43rd annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society.

—  An argument for nominal Lexical Cumulativity. In Snippets 27:10-11.

—   A note on the GLA's choice of the current loser from the perspective of factorizability. In Journal of Logic, Language and Information22.2: 213-247; 2013.

—   Tools for the robust analysis of OT error-driven ranking algorithms and their implications for modeling the child acquisition of phonotactics. In Journal of Logic and Computation, 24.1: 135-186. 

—   The complexity of Learning in Optimality Theory and its implications for modeling the child acquisition of phonotactics. In Linguistic Inquiry, 44.3: 433–468. 

—   HG has no computational advantages over OT: towards a new toolkit for computational OTIn Linguistic Inquiry, 44.4:569-609. 

—   Constraint promotion: not only convergent but also efficient. In CLS 48: Proceedings of the 48th annual conference of the Chicago Linguistic Society; Andrea Beltrama (ed.); pp. 471-485; 2014.

—   No need for a dedicated theory of the distribution of readings of English bare plurals. In SALT 22: Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 22; Anca Chereches (ed.); pp. 383-402.

—   An approximation approach to the problem of the acquisition of phonotactics in OT. In SIGMORPHON 12: Proceedings of the 12th meeting of the ACL Special Interest Group in Morphology and Phonology; L. Cahill and A. Albright (eds.); pp. 52-61. 

—   Convergence of error-driven ranking algorithms. In Phonology, 29.2: 213-269; 2012.

—   Collective nouns without groups. IIATL 27: Proceedings of the 27th annual meeting of the Israeli Association for Theoretical Linguistics; pp. 183-202; 2012. 

—   The plurality inference of object mass nouns. ISnippets, 24; pp. 9-10; 2011. 

—   Another argument for embedded scalar implicatures based on oddness in downward entailing environments. ISemantics & Pragmatics, 4.6; pp.1-51; 2011.  

—   On the performance of error-driven ranking algorithms on Prince & Tesar’s (2004) case studiesIn CLS 47: Proceedings of the 47th annual conference of the Chicago Linguistics Society; 2011. 

—   HG has no computational advantages over OT. IWCCFL 29: Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference in Formal Linguistics; J. Choi, E. A. Hogue, J. Punske, D. Tat, J. Schertz, and A. Trueman (eds.); pp. 380-388; Cascadilla Proceedings Project; Somerville, MA; 2012.  

—   An online model of the acquisition of phonotactics within OTIn CogSci 33: Expanding the space of cognitive science: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society; L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (eds.), pp. 2012-2017; Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society; 2011.  

—   Another argument for embedded scalar implicatures based on oddness in downward entailing contextsIn SALT 20: Proceedings of the 20th annual conference Semantics and Linguistics Theory; N. Li & D. Lutz (eds.); pp. 564–581; 2011.  

—   Complexity of the acquisition of Phonotactics in OTIn SIGMORPHON 11: Proceedings of the 11th meeting of the ACL Special Interest Group in Morphology and Phonology; J. Heinz, L. Cahill & R. Wicentowski; pp. 19–27; 2010.  

—   A theory of individual-level predicates based on blind mandatory scalar implicatures (extended version)Part I of my dissertation, filed in September 2009.  

—   A theory of individual-level predicates based on blind mandatory scalar implicaturesIn Natural Language Semantics, 17.3; pp. 245-297; 2009.  

—   Mismatching scalar implicaturesIn Proceedings of the MIT-Paris workshop on Implicatures and presuppositions; P. Egré and G. Magri (eds.); 2009; MITWPL 60, pp. 153-168; 2009.  

—   Modeling doubly marked lags with a Split Additive ModelIn BUCLD 32: Proceedings of the 32nd Boston University Conference on Child Language Development; H. Chan, H. Jacob and E. Kapla (eds.); vol. I, pp. 36-47; Cascadilla Press; 2007. Joint work with Adam Albright and Jennifer Michaels. 

—   The Sortal Theory of pluralsIn SuB 12: Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 12; A. Grönn, (ed.); pp. 399-413; 2007. 

  The Blindness Hypothesis and individual-level predicatesIn SALT 16: Proceedings of the 16th annual conference Semantics and Linguistics Theory; M. Gibson and J. Howell (eds.); pp. 102-119; CLC Publications; 2006.   

—   Constraints on the readings of bare plural subjects of individual-level predicates: syntax or semantics? In NELS 35: Proceedings of the 35th annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society; L. Bateman and C. Ussery (eds); vol. I, pp. 391-402; GLSA Publications; 2004.