CRL Talks

Talks are every Tuesday at 4:00pm in CSB 280.

Join us in the CRL lab for happy half-hour at 3:30pm in CSB 215.

February 19

Memory, Locality, and Word Order Universals

Richard Futrell

UC Irvine

I explore the hypothesis that word order universals of human languages can be explained in terms of efficient communication that minimizes language processing costs. First, I show corpus evidence from 54 languages that word order in grammar and usage is shaped by working memory constraints in the form of dependency locality: a pressure for syntactically linked words to be close to one another in linear order, which can explain Greenberg’s harmonic word order universals and also certain exceptions to them. Second, I present a general information-theoretic model of working memory cost in language processing, in which comprehenders can strategically invest working memory resources for the benefit of being able to predict upcoming words more accurately. The resulting model favors languages that exhibit information locality, meaning that predictive information about a word is concentrated in the recent past before the word. I show corpus evidence that word order grammars have this property, and show that dependency locality can be derived as a special case of the more general information locality.

Winter Quarter 2019

January 8

The Effect of Representational Richness on Memory Retrieval during Referential Processing

Hossein Karimi

Penn State

January 15

Unifying parsing and generation in filler-gap dependency formation

Shota Momma


January 22

Construction in General, and Music and Language in Particular

Michael Arbib

University Professor Emeritus, USC

January 29

The pragmatics of depiction

Kathryn Davidson

Harvard University

February 5

Responsivity in Early Parent-Child Conversations

Silvia Nieva

February 12

No CRL Talk

February 19

Memory, Locality, and Word Order Universals

Richard Futtrell

UC Irvine

February 26

Thomas Urbach

March 5

Helen Aparicio

March 12

Okan Kubus


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