UNC Linguistics Spring Colloquium 2022
Saturday, March 26th, 2022
Every spring, the Linguistics Graduate Student Association (LGSA) at UNC-Chapel Hill puts on its annual Spring Colloquium. We invite fellow linguists from all over to present and discuss current topics of interest in the field in an all-day conference. The Colloquium is free for all who present or attend; there is no registration fee. The conference will be held Saturday, March 26th, 2022 on Zoom with Dr. Steven Piantadosi from UC Berkeley and Dr. Jason Rothman from The Arctic University of Norway as keynote speakers.
Please use this link to join us: https://unc.zoom.us/j/97000996311
Steven Piantadosi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley
Title: One model for the learning of language
Abstract: A major target of linguistics and cognitive science is to understand what class of learning systems can acquire the key structures of natural language. Until recently, the computational requirements of language have been used to argue that learning is impossible without a highly constrained hypothesis space. Here, we describe a learning system that is maximally unconstrained, operating over the space of all computations, and is able to acquire several of the key structures present natural language from positive evidence alone. We demonstrate this by providing the same learning model with data from 70 distinct formal languages which have been argued to capture key features of language, have been studied in experimental work, or come from an interesting complexity class. The model is able to successfully induce the latent system generating the observed strings from positive evidence in all cases, including regular, context-free, and context-sensitive formal languages, as well as languages studied in artificial language learning experiments. These results show that relatively small amounts of positive evidence can support learning of rich classes of generative computations over structures.
Jason Rothman, Ph.D.
Professor at The Arctic University of Norway
Title: The Spectrum of “-lingualism”: Focusing on consequences and methodological insights when it includes more than one language
Abstract: In this talk, I will problematize the categorizations of mon-, bi- and multi-lingualism arguing that they are too overlapping, multifarious and dynamic to maintain strict divides. I will highlight how and why this has been especially problematic for various questions important to language acquisition, processing and related brain structure/function research, especially when -lingualism includes more than one language. I will review some recent studies from my lab—in language acquisition, processing and brain structure and function in bi/multilingualism—where treating “-lingualism” as a continuous variable of experience has been especially fruitful. Finally, I will discuss the larger implications of this looking towards the future.