Weekly Digest – April 08, 2019

Several past and present USC linguists were at the Princeton Phonology Forum this past weekend: Rachel Walker gave a talk titled “Gradient feature activation and the special status of coronals”; Stephanie S Shih & Hayeun Jang gave a talk titled “Categoricity in gradience”; Caitlin Smith (PhD 2018) gave a talk “Partial Vowel Height Harmony and Partial Transparency via Gestural Blending”, and Sam Tilsen (postdoc 2009-11) presented “Motoric mechanisms for the emergence of non-local phonological patterns.” Also in attendance were Brian Hsu (PhD 2016) and Jason Shaw (BA 1999). Here are some pictures:


On April 4, Brooke Kidner presented “Gendered Registers in Lakota: An Updated Account” at ScienceTalk’19:



And this past Saturday, eight members of the department went hiking all day in Bear Canyon, San Gabriel mountains:


* * *

This week, in the Linguistics department…

Today, Monday 04/08 at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Colloquium! Ming Xiang (U Chicago) will present “Bridging the gap between parsing and interpretation through Bayesian pragmatic inferences“. Here is the abstract:

A great amount of sentence processing work has focused on revealing how the parser incrementally integrates each incoming word into the current linguistic representation. It is often explicitly or implicitly assumed that the representation preferred by the parser would determine the ultimate interpretation of the sentence. The current study investigates whether the interpretive bias in sentence comprehension necessarily tracks the parsing bias. Our case study, the Mandarin wh-in-situ scope dependencies, suggests a misalignment between the local parsing decisions and the global interpretative decisions. In particular, for Mandarin wh-in-situ constructions that involve scope ambiguity, eye movement reading measures and acceptability judgments both showed a locality bias in parsing, such that the local scope dependency was less costly than the non-local one. However, when interpretation was probed by a truth-value judgment task, there was an anti-locality bias, such that the interpretation compatible with the non-local scope was preferred. We propose a Bayesian pragmatic inference model to account for these findings, following the Rational Speech Act framework (RSA, Goodman & Frank, 2016). Under this model, the seeming conflict between parsing and interpretation will ultimately disappear because in the proposed model parsing preferences will be naturally embedded under the pragmatic reasoning process to derive the ultimate interpretation. The currently study therefore makes novel contributions, both empirically and theoretically, to address questions about the relationship between parsing and interpretation.

Tuesday (04/09) at 9:30am in the Conference Room: Psycholinguistics Lab Meeting! Yijing Lu and Cindy Chiang will talk about “Effects of discourse status on representational complexity and structural integration.”

Wednesday (04/10) from 11am to 2pm at the Tutor Campus Center Ballroom: the USC Undergraduate Research symposium. Come support our undergrads doing language science!

Thursday (04/11) at 12pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Mairym Lloréns will present “Different speech tasks, different types of planning: Hypotheses tested with the corpus of speech and ticking in Tourette’s.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s