Workshop announcement (Tuebingen): Advances in Visual Methods for Linguistics

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This workshop on data visualization might be of interest to a lot of you. I wish I could just hop over the pond.

  • Date: 24-Sept-2014 – 26-Sept-2014
  • Location: Tuebingen, Germany
  • Contact Person: Fabian Tomaschek (
  • Web Site:
  • Call Deadlines: 21 March / 18 April

The AVML-meeting offers a meeting place for all linguists from all fields who are interested in elaborating and improving their data visualization skills and methods. The meeting consists of a one-day hands-on workshop Read the rest of this entry »

A few reflections on “Gradience in Grammar”

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In my earlier post I provided a summary of a workshop on Gradience in Grammar last week at Stanford. The workshop prompted many interesting discussion, but here I want to talk about an (admittedly long ongoing) discussion it didn’t prompt. Several of the presentations at the workshop talked about prediction/expectation and how they are a critical part of language understanding. One implication of these talks is that understanding the nature and structure of our implicit knowledge of linguistic distributions (linguistic statistics) is crucial to advancing linguistics. As I was told later, there were, however, a number of people in the audience who thought that this type of data doesn’t tell us anything about linguistics and, in particular, grammar (unfortunately, this opinion was expressed outside the Q&A session and not towards the people giving the talks, so that it didn’t contribute to the discussion). Read the rest of this entry »

“Gradience in Grammar” workshop at CSLI, Stanford (#gradience2014)

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A few days ago, I presented at the Gradience in Grammar workshop organized by Joan Bresnan, Dan Lassiter , and Annie Zaenen at Stanford’s CSLI (1/17-18). The discussion and audience reactions (incl. lack of reaction in some parts of the audience) prompted a few thoughts/questions about Gradience, Grammar, and to what extent the meaning of generative has survived in the modern day generative grammar. I decided to break this up into two posts. This summarizes the workshop – thanks to Annie, Dan, and Joan for putting this together!

The stated goal of the workshop was (quoting from the website):

For most linguists it is now clear that most, if not all, grammaticality judgments are graded. This insight is leading to a renewed interest in implicit knowledge of “soft” grammatical constraints and generalizations from statistical learning and in probabilistic or variable models of grammar, such as probabilistic or exemplar-based grammars. This workshop aims to stimulate discussion of the empirical techniques and linguistic models that gradience in grammar calls for, by bringing internationally known speakers representing various perspectives on the cognitive science of grammar from linguistics, psychology, and computation. 

Apologies in advance for butchering the presenters’ points with my highly subjective summary; feel free to comment. Two of the talks demonstrated

Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Special Issue on “Laboratory in the Field: Advances in cross-linguistic psycholinguistics”

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We invite original and unpublished papers on psycholinguistic research on lesser-studied languages, for a special issue of Language and Cognitive Processes. Our purpose is to bring together researchers who are currently engaged in empirical research on language processing in typologically diverse languages, in order to establish the emerging field of cross-linguistic psycholinguistics as a cross-disciplinary research program. Both submissions that extend the empirical coverage of psycholinguistic theories (e.g., test whether supposedly universal processing mechanisms hold cross-linguistically) and submissions that revise and extend psycholinguistic and linguistic theory through quantitative data are welcome. The special issue will focus on the architecture and mechanisms underlying language processing (both comprehension and production) at the lexical and sentence level. This includes studies on phonological and morphological processing to the extent that they speak to the organization, representation, and processing of lexical units or the interaction of these processes with sentence processing. We seek behavioral, neurocognitive (e.g., ERP, fMRI), and quantitative corpus studies in any of these areas.

Read the rest of this entry »

HLP lab will be at the LSA 2013 summer institute

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Come join us in Ann Arbor, MI for the 2013 Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America. You can follow the institute on facebook.

Victor Ferreira and I will be organizing a workshop on How the brain accommodates variability in linguistic representations (more on that soonish). I will be teaching a class on regression and mixed models and I am sure a bunch of other folks from the lab will be there, too.



Special session at the LSA meeting in da’Burgh

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You are ever so cordially invited to attend the following awesome-to-be workshop at the LSA 2011:

Empirically Examining Parsimony and Redundancy

in Usage-Based Models

Organized Session at 2011 Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting


Please see (#50)

Main Session:
When: Saturday, 1/08, 2-3:30pm (1.5 jam-packed hours of mindless fun)
Where: Grand Ballroom 4, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

Poster Session
When: Sunday, 1/09, 9-12am (the journey continues)
Where: Grand Ballroom Foyer, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA


R. Harald Baayen (University of Alberta)
Joan Bresnan (Stanford University)
Walter Daelemans (University of Antwerp)
Bruce Derwing (University of Alberta)
Daniel Gildea (University of Rochester)
Matthew Goldrick (Northwestern University)
Peter Hendrix (University of Alberta)
Gerard Kempen (Max Planck Institute)
Victor Kuperman (McMaster University)
Yongeun Lee (Chung Ang University)
Gary Libben (University of Calgary)
Marco Marelli (University of Alberta)
Petar Milin (University of Alberta)
Timothy John O’Donnell (Harvard University)
Gabriel Recchia (Indiana University)
Antoine Tremblay (IWK Health Center)
Benjamin V. Tucker (University of Alberta)
Antal van den Bosch (Tilburg University/University of Antwerp)
Christ Westbury (University of Alberta)


Neal Snider (Nuance Communications, Inc.)
Daniel Wiechmann (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
Elma Kerz (RWTH-Universität Aachen)
T. Florian Jaeger (University of Rochester)


Recent years have seen a growing interest in usage-based (UB) theories of language, which assume that language use plays a causal role in the development of linguistic systems over historical time. A central assumption of the UB-framework is the idea that shapes of grammars are closely connected to principles of human cognitive processing (Bybee 2006, Givon 1991, Hawkins 2004). UB-accounts strongly gravitate towards sign- or construction-based theories of language, viz. theories that are committed to the belief that linguistic knowledge is best conceived of as an assembly of symbolic structures (e.g. Goldberg 2006, Langacker 2008, Sag et al. 2003). These constructionist accounts share (1) the postulation of a single representational format of all linguistic knowledge and (2) claim a strong commitment to psychological plausibility of mechanisms for the learning, storage, and retrieval of linguistic units. They do, however, exhibit a considerable degree of variation with respect to their architectural and mechanistic details (cf. Croft & Cruse 2004). Read the rest of this entry »

Mini-WOMM Montreal Slides Now Available…

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Florian, Maureen Gillespie and I taught a mini-Workshop on Ordinary and Multilevel Models at McGill University last week. Our slides are available here:

Lecture1McGill (F. Jaeger)

Lecture2McGill (F. Jaeger)

CodingTutorial (M. Gillespie)

ModelComparisonTutorial (P. Graff)

Other materials, data files and scripts can be found here:

Feedback, comments and questions are much appreciated!

Multilevel model tutorial at Haskins lab

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Austin Frank and I just gave a 2×3 hours workshop on multilevel models at Haskins Lab (thanks to Tine Mooshammer for organizing!). We had a great audience with a pretty diverse background (ranging from longitudinal studies on nutrition, over speech researchers, clinical studies, and psycholinguists, to fMRI researchers), which made for lots of interesting conversations on topics I don’t usually get to think about. Thanks to everyone attending =). We had a great time.

We may post the recordings once we receive them, if it turns out they may be useful. But for now, here are many of the slides we used, a substantial subset of which were created by Roger Levy (UC San Diego) and/or in collaboration with Victor Kuperman (Stanford University) for WOMM’09 at the CUNY Sentence Processing Conference, as indicated on the slides. No guarantees for the R-code and please do not distribute (rather: refer to this page) and ask before citing.

Questions and comments welcome, preferably using the comment box at the bottom of this page. R related questions should be send to the very friendly email support list for language researchers using R (see R-lang link in the navigation bar to the right).

Pre-cuny workshop on regression and multilevel modeling (cntd)

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Some time ago, I announced that some folks have been thinking about organizing a small workshop on common issues and standards in regression modeling (including multilevel models) in psycholinguistic research to be held the day before CUNY 2009 (i.e. 03/25 at UC Davis). Here’s an update on this “workshop” along with some thoughts for planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Pre-CUNY Workshop on “Good practices in ordinary and multilevel regression models”?

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Out of recent conversations with a whole bunch of folks (e.g. John Trueswell, Jennifer Arnold, Elsi Kaiser, Matt Traxler, Mike Tanenhaus, Jim Magnuson, and more), we came up with the idea to possible hold a workshop on “good practices in ordinary and multilevel regression models” [working title ;)] for researchers working on psycholinguistics/the psychology of language just a day before CUNY 2009 (to be held 03/26-28 at UC Davis), so 03/25 in Davis. This is just a baby of thought at this point, but if you’re interested, I’ve summarized some thoughts below and I’d appreciate your feedback (just leave a comment below and I will receive it).

Read the rest of this entry »