Author Archives: Gaja Jarosz

10th Northeast Computational Phonology Meeting

The 10th NECPhon will take place at UMass Amherst on Saturday 9/24.  The talks, breaks, and lunch will all take place in/around N400 in the Department of Linguistics, which is in the Integrative Learning Center (650 N. Pleasant St). It is the building directly north of the pond on the map here.

Parking is free on weekends at most university parking lots (all those not circled on the map as 24hr enforced). I would suggest lots 62, 63, or 64 for proximity to the department.

Please see below for the schedule.

11-11:30 Arrive & Welcome

11:30-12  Erin Olson (MIT) “Intermediate Markedness and its consequences for the GLA”
12-12:30 Spencer Caplan and Jordan Kodner (University of Pennsylvania) “A computational model of vowel harmony acquisition
12:30-1 Kristina Strother-Garcia (University of Delaware) “Local inviolable constraints: A new approach to syllable well-formedness in Berber

1-2 Lunch (provided)

2-2:30 Aleksei Nazarov (Harvard University) and Gaja Jarosz (UMass Amherst) “Learning parametric stress without domain-specific mechanisms
2:30-3 Uriel Cohen Priva, Emily Gleason, and Rachel Gutman (Brown) “Toward an information-theoretic assessment of phonological and phonetic cost”
3-3:30 Ariel Cohen-Goldberg (Tufts University) “Integrating grammatical and processing accounts of lexical frequency”

3:30-4 Break

4-4:30 Chris Neufeld (University of Maryland) “Towards a biological theory of phonetic category perception
4:30-5 Alena Aksenova, Thomas Graf and Sophie Moradi (Stonybrook University) “Tier-Based Strict Locality in Phonology and Morphology”

5:30 Business Meeting

6pm Informal Dinner

CAMML Publication Style

Continuing the very useful discussion we’ve been having on the new conference on Computational and Mathematical Modeling in Linguistics (here and here), I’d like to invite further discussion of the choice to do short paper (6-8pp) submissions instead of the usual abstract submissions for linguistics conferences. We had a little bit of discussion of some pros and cons of this choice on the original post, mostly relating to the potential conflict/competition of publishing something there as opposed to ACL or CogSci. Kyle Rawlins recently raised a number of potential issues with us by email, and I’d like to relay some of these concerns and invite more general discussion of these and other considerations.

To summarize Kyle’s concerns (Kyle, please feel free to comment below to expand on or correct anything):

  • The time and infrastructure burden for reviewers and organizers is substantially more than for reviewing abstracts. This might make it harder to find reviewers and organizers.
  • There is no culture of submitting conference papers for review in linguistics, and it’s a much greater time commitment/risk to prepare a paper to submit to a conference than to prepare an abstract. Could this discourage linguists from submitting? (especially if there is another relevant conference whose submission only requires preparing an abstract?)
  • It’s not clear how such publications should/would count for tenure and hiring purposes in linguistics departments. In many departments only journal publications count, and this kind of publication could preclude a journal publication.

It’s clear that this would be a novel approach for linguistics and that this approach could potentially discourage participation of linguists, which is not our goal. So, the other side of the equation is – is it worth it? What are the advantages of this approach and would these advantages outweigh these or other potential costs? I advocated for paper submission, hoping that peer-review would improve the quality of the work presented at the conference and have the potential to elevate the status of the papers published there as well as the status of the conference itself. Could this status be elevated enough for these papers to count as short journal papers, on par with brief articles or squibs in journals, for purposes of tenure-review and hiring in linguistics departments? And if not, how problematic is this?

What do you think about the relative risks and potential benefits of this approach? What other considerations are there?

Name that Conference! (and a summary)

In our previous post, we hosted a discussion about a new conference for linguists and cognitive scientists on computational and mathematical modeling. In this post I’d like to solicit comments and suggestions about possible names for the conference. Before I lay out some existing suggestions for commentary, I’d like to summarize the overall plan and goals for the conference that emerged from that discussion:

Highest Priority Goals

1) We need to attract the core constituents to this conference, especially the first meeting. The core constituents are linguists/cognitive scientists who rely on computational/mathematical approaches and are concerned with questions about the human language faculty.
2) The conference should be accessible and affordable to linguists, including students. (to repeat from earlier, this rules out co-locating with ACL)
3) The conference should have quality, peer-reviewed paper submissions. I see this as an important move for the field of linguistics in general, not just this conference. This does not rule out the possibility discussed in the comments above of also having submissions of other kinds, such as presentation-only submissions which have possibly appeared elsewhere.
4) We want the meeting to be sustainable long-term, with room to become a 2-3 day ‘go-to’ event in linguistics/cognitive science.

High Priority Goals

5) Ideally, the conference would alternate US-Europe every other year rather than being solely a US conference to be inclusive of the international community.
6) Ideally, the conference would be a welcoming/accessible place to linguists who want to learn more about computational/mathematical approaches but don’t (yet) do that sort of work themselves. One way to do this would be to introduce a half-day of workshops or tutorials to initiate the conference. I’m not necessarily proposing this for our first meeting, but something to keep in mind for later.
7) Avoiding Balkanization. As we set up specialized conferences, we may contribute to the balkanization of our field (e.g. we may pull computational work out of AMP). To some extent this balkanization is an inevitable consequence of the specialization that is occurring as linguistics grows, but if we can avoid it, so much the better.
8) Increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in computational linguistics.

Overall Tentative/Consensus Plan
1) The first meeting is to be tentatively held at UMass in Fall 2017 in conjunction with a one-time workshop on computational modeling of language (invited speakers, pending funding, include Jacob Andreas, Emily Bender, Sam Bowman, Chris Dyer, Jason Eisner, Bob Frank, Matt Goldrick, Sharon Goldwater, and Paul Smolensky). The exact schedule is unknown at this point, but tentatively the new conference may be on a Friday or a Thursday-Friday, with the workshop probably Saturday-Sunday.
2) The second meeting is scheduled to be in Paris in Fall/Winter 2018, organized by Giorgio Magri.
3) We will have a general discussion of hosting options for subsequent meetings at the first meeting at UMass. One prominent possibility is holding the third meeting in conjunction with the LSA annual meeting in New Orleans in Jan. 2020.
4) The current plan is still to have paper submissions, possibly published with the ACL anthology (though stay tuned for another post to discuss this further).

Ok, so on to the candidate names! I think the current favorite in offline discussions among us is “Computational and Mathematical Modeling in Linguistics” with the acronym CAMML or CAMMIL or maybe even CAMMLing or CAMMILing. What do you think? I like that it is clearly about linguistics and that it is inclusive of both computational and mathematical approaches, and that it has a cute and pronounceable acronym. Earlier variants had “Linguistic Theory (LT)” or “Theoretical Linguistics (TL)” in them (like CLINT, CALT, CAMLT, or CATL, etc), there is also the option to add “meeting” (M) or “annual meeting” (AM) or “Society” (S) or “conference” (C) somewhere (yielding things like CALM, AMCTL, SCATL, etc). I’m sure there are many other possibilities, but I will leave off here with my favorite: CAMML (or is it CAMMLing).