Our Special Issue is coming out: Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language

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It’s almost done! After about two years of work, our Special Issue on Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language (Wiechmann, Kerz, Snider & Jaeger 2013)  is about to come out in Language and Speech, Vol 56(3). The brunt of the editorial work in putting this together was mastered by Daniel Wiechman, who just started his new position at the University of Amsterdam, and Elma Kerz, in the Department of Anglistik at the University of Aachen.

Cover of Special Issue on Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language (in Language and Speech)
Cover of Special Issue on Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language (in Language and Speech)

I am excited about this Special Issue, which –I think– brings together a variety of positions on representational redundancy and parsimony in linguistic theory building as well as the role of redundancy in the development of language over time. Some contributions discuss different computational and representational architectures, other contributions test these theories or investigate specific assumptions about the nature of linguistic representations.

An overview of these papers is given in our Introduction to the Special Issue: Parsimony and Redundancy in Models of Language (Daniel Wiechmann, Elma Kerz, Neal Snider and T. Florian Jaeger), soon to be linked here. As shown in the table of contents, the Special Issue contains an exciting collection of contributions from researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, computational linguistics, and the (wonderfully ;))  gray areas between these disciplines:

Three Design Principles of Language: The Search for Parsimony in Redundancy
Barend Beekhuizen, Rens Bod and Willem Zuidema

Bayesian Tree Substitution Grammars as a Usage-based Approach
Matt Post and Daniel Gildea

Implicit Schemata and Categories in Memory-based Language Processing
Antal van den Bosch and Walter Daelemans

Sidestepping the Combinatorial Explosion: An Explanation of n-gram Frequency Effects Based on Naive Discriminative Learning
R Harald Baayen, Peter Hendrix and Michael Ramscar

More than Words: The Effect of Multi-word Frequency and Constituency on Phonetic Duration
Inbal Arnon and Uriel Cohen Priva

Representing Idioms: Syntactic and Contextual Effects on Idiom Processing
Edward Holsinger

Functional Load and the Lexicon: Evidence that Syntactic Category and Frequency Relationships in Minimal Lemma Pairs Predict the Loss of Phoneme Contrasts in Language Change
Andrew Wedel, Scott Jackson and Abby Kaplan

We owe thanks to many who have helped with this Special Issue. Above all, of course, we would like to thank the contributors to this volume. This special issue has evolved from a workshop of the same name at the 85th meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in 2011. We thank all contributors and the audience of that workshop for sharing their ideas (including, in particular, Matt Goldrick and Tim O’Donnell, in addition to the contributors listed above). We thank the many expert reviewers of the proposed manuscripts for their highly informed and constructive criticism. We thank HLP Lab manager Andrew Watts for help with the organization of the workshop, Tim Bunnell and Irene Vogel for their interest in this work and, last but not least, James (Jim) Polikoff for his outstanding editorial management and overall great support.

Partial funding for this project came from NSF IIS-1150028 CAREER and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship to T. Florian Jaeger. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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