Workshop on Language Variation and Change and Cultural Evolution

Thursday 12 February 2015, 9.00AM to 5.30pm

The Departments of Language and Linguistic Science and of Computer Science are pleased to announce the second of two workshops on Language Variation and Change and Cultural Evolution, to be held Thursday-Saturday 12-14 February. Speakers will present talks addressing the following questions:

  1. How can the mechanisms of language variation through time and space be investigated and computationally modelled?
  2. What does the attested scope of language diversity tell us about the formation, history and movements of different populations, cultures and societies?
  3. To what extent does variation in language correlate with variation in other cultural or biological features of human societies?

Programme

Thursday 12 February

9.00–9.10 Introductory remarks
Mark Ormrod (Dean, Arts and Humanities, University of York)
9.10–10.00

Linguistic diversity in the light of linguistic change
Don Ringe (University of Pennsylvania)
Ringe_handout (PDF , 96kb)

10.00–10.50

Across language families. Genome diversity mirrors linguistic variation within Europe
Giuseppe Longobardi (University of York / University of Trieste), Andrea Ceolin (University of York), Silvia Ghirotto (University of Ferrara), Cristina Guardiano (University of Modena e Reggio Emilia), Guido Barbujani (University of Ferrara)
LongobardiEtAl_slides1 (PDF , 17,808kb)

10.50–11.20

Coffee break

11.20–12.10

Estimating divergence times for linguistic phylogenies
Gerhard Jäger (University of Tübingen)
Jäger_abstract (PDF , 22kb)

12.10–13.40

Lunch

13.40–14.30

Corpora past, present and future
Aaron Ecay and Susan Pintzuk (University of York)
Ecay_Pintzuk_slides (PDF , 786kb)

14.30–15.20

The Tycho Brahe annotated corpus: Portuguese in space and time
Charlotte Galves (University of Campinas)
Galves_slides (PDF , 5,506kb)

15.20–15.50 Coffee break
15.50–16.40

They style you up, your mum and dad: from preschool to preadolescence in the acquisition of sociolinguistic norms 
Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow)
Smith_slides (PDF , 953kb)

16.40–17.30 Interplay between navigation, cooperation and communication
Dimitar Kazakov (University of York)
Kazakov_slides (PDF , 46,979kb)

Friday 13 February

9.30–10.20 The role of stable states and systems in sound change: a simulation-based study
Márton Sóskuthy (University of York)
Soskuthy_abstract (PDF , 20kb)
10.20–11.10

Now repeat after me ... anticipation and the limits of statistical learning
Doug Saddy (University of Reading)

11.10–11.40

Coffee break

11.40–12.30

Typology of linguistic diversity across clinical populations
Wolfram Hinzen (Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies and Research (ICREA) & University of Barcelona)
Hinzen_slides (PDF , 1,384kb)

12.30–14.00 Lunch
14.00–14.50 The limits of syntactic variation: an emergentist generative perspective
Theresa Biberauer (University of Cambridge)
Biberauer_slides (PDF , 7,371kb)
14.50–15.40 

Modelling dynamic aspects of language variation through time and space
Anna Maria Di Sciullo (University of Québec at Montréal)
di_Sciullo_abstract (PDF , 34kb)

15.40–16.10 

Coffee break

16.10–17.00 

Approaching actuation
Charles Yang (University of Pennsylvania)
Yang_slides (PDF , 1,590kb)

17.00–17.50  Parameter-setting: do any of our current models work?
Kenneth Wexler (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Wexler_handout (PDF , 251kb)

Saturday 14 February

9.30–10.20

Qualitative and quantitative approaches to language diversity: what they can, can't, and may be able to tell us about human (pre)history
Paul Heggarty (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany)
Heggarty_slides (PDF , 3,938kb)

10.20–11.10 Algorithmic generation of random languages argues for syntax as a source of phylogenetic information
Giuseppe Longobardi (University of York / University of Trieste), Luca Bortolussi (University of Trieste), Andrea Ceolin (University of York), Aaron Ecay (University of York), Cristina Guardiano (University of Modena e Reggio Emilia), Monica Alexandrina Irimia (University of York), Dimitris Michelioudakis (University of York), Nina Radkevich (University of York), Andrea Sgarro (University of Trieste)
LongobardiEtAl_slides2 (PDF , 3,285kb)
11.10–11.40

Coffee break

11.40–12.30 How big data is changing the big questions in biolinguistics
Cedric Boeckx (Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies and Research (ICREA) & University of Barcelona)
Boeckx_slides (PDF , 3,816kb)
12.30–13.40 Lunch
13.40–14.30 Gender and linguistic variation: a role for organisational hormones?
Joel Wallenberg (Newcastle University)
Wallenberg_slides (PDF , 814kb)
14.30–15.20 

Darwin's Dream: Variation, Species, and the Phylogenetics of Biology and Language
Robert Berwick (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

15.20–15.50  Coffee break
15.50–16.40 

How to answer negative questions: grammar, culture, and linguistic macro-areas
Anders Holmberg (Newcastle University)
Holmberg_abstract (PDF , 43kb)

16.40–17.30 The significance of what hasn't happened
Theresa Biberauer and Ian Roberts (University of Cambridge)
Biberauer_Roberts_handout (PDF , 231kb)
17.30–17.40 Concluding remarks
Conference organisers

Organisers: Andrea Ceolin, Department of Language and Linguistic Science; Aaron Ecay, Department of Language and Linguistic Science; Monica-Alexandrina Irimia, Department of Language and Linguistic Science; Dimitar Kazakov, Department of Computer Science; Giuseppe Longobardi, Department of Language and Linguistic Science; Susan Pintzuk, Department of Language and Linguistic Science; Nina Radkevich, Department of Language and Linguistic Science

We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Research Priming Fund of the University of York, with additional contributions from Giuseppe Longobardi’s ERC-funded research project LanGeLin, the Departments of Computer Science and Language and Linguistic Science, the Centre for Linguistic History and Diversity, the Artificial Intelligence Group and the Human Computer Interaction Group of the Department of Computer Science, and the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis.

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building