Indiana University

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Events for the week :
February 16, 2014 - February 22, 2014
February 16
February 17
  • Behavioral, computational, and neural mechanisms of statistical learning in infants and adults

    Time: 04:00pm - 05:00pm 

    Place: Psychology Room 101


    Richard Aslin (University of Rochester)

    In the past 15 years, a substantial body of evidence has confirmed that a powerful distributional learning mechanism is present in infants, children, adults. I will briefly review this literature that began in the temporal domain as a solution to the word segmentation problem, and then make the point that this mechanism is modality-general, domain-general, and species-general. However, to be tractable, this powerful statistical learning "engine" must be constrained, and those constraints are both subtle and diverse, e.g., how infants allocate their attention to sequences of events plays an important role in the efficiency and effectiveness of learning. A variety of computational models have been proposed to account for statistical learning, including those that treat learning of exemplars and learning of rules as separate mechanisms. I will argue that this exemplar/rule distinction can more parsimoniously be accounted for by a single statistical learning mechanism that is sensitive to the patterning of the input. Variations in how learners judge the grammaticality of utterances from an artificial grammar, and a single model that accounts for that variation, will then be reviewed. Finally, time permitting, I will provide a brief glimpse at some recent data on the neural correlates of statistical learning.


    In category: Child language acquisition


February 18
  • Feature selection for sentiment analysis

    Time: 01:00pm - 02:00pm 

    Place: Ballantine Hall 141


    Can Liu

    Feature selection is adopted in text classification for various reasons. This talk will focus on feature selection methods to improve performance in sentiment analysis. We will briefly describe 10 commonly used feature selection methods; compare their strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate their performance in the task of predicting recipe ratings.


    In category: Computational linguistics


February 19
February 20
February 21
  • Don't be so categorical! The role of cognitive skills in L2 vowel perception

    Time: 01:30pm - 02:00pm 

    Place: Psychology Room 128


    Elena Safronova (University of Barcelona)

    It seems that we begin life being able to perceive very fine acoustic-phonetic distinctions existing in the world's languages (Kuhl & Rivera-Gaxiola, 2008). Then this fascinating perceptual sensitivity undergoes a rapid reorganization due to the development of cognitive skills and establishment of the first language (L1) categories, which eventually makes us become a committed-to-L1 speech perceiver (Conboy et al., 2008; Kuhl et al., 1992; Werker and Tees, 1984). When it comes to learning a second/foreign language (L2) later in life the attunement to the acoustic-phonetic properties of L1 sounds may hinder formation of accurate representations of L2 speech sounds, leading to the presence of foreign accent in speech production. Despite the fact that the ability to establish new phonological categories for a L2 is thought to remain intact across the life span, it is closely related to the individuals' ability to detect acoustic-phonetic differences between L1 and L2 sounds (Flege, 1995), which in its turn may be a source of a widely observed inter-subject variation among late L2 learners. These findings call for research on cognitive mechanisms that may contribute to the L2 speech discrimination ability.

    The study I will present explores the role of acoustic memory, phonological memory and attention control in EFL learners’ discrimination of tense-lax /i:/-/ɪ/. The participants of the study were Spanish/Catalan (N=50, mean age = 19.96) EFL learners with average age of onset of English learning of 6.7 years old. The results were consistent with previous research, demonstrating Spanish/Catalan EFL learners’ over-reliance on duration when perceiving the target vowel contrast (Cebrian, 2006; Cerviño-Povedano & Mora, 2011). The participants’ acoustic memory and attention control scores significantly correlated with percentage of correctly discriminated natural and duration-neutralized stimuli, indicating that participants’ storage capacity for the acoustic information of the speech input as well as the ability to foreground/background relevant/irrelevant details were related to their vowel discrimination. Participants' phonological memory capacity did not have any significant effect on vowel discrimination ability. The results of the study have shown that individuals with higher memory capacity for the acoustic details in speech input and higher attentional control over relevant/irrelevant acoustic information are significantly better at discriminating English tense-lax /i:/-/ɪ/ vowels under both natural and duration-neutralized conditions than the lower ability group. Regression analyses indicated that acoustic memory and attention control accounted for 10.3% and 17.4% respectively, of the unique variance in English vowel discrimination accuracy, thus highlighting the important role of cognitive mechanisms in the re-weighting of phonetic cues and more target-like L2 speech perception.


    In category: Second language acquisition


  • The lexicon in second language attrition: What happens when the cat's got your tongue?

    Time: 02:30pm - 04:00pm 

    Place: Ballantine Hall 215


    Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig and David Stringer

    In this talk, we expand the conceptual framework of research on second language attrition by invoking an expansive notion of the lexicon, which, in addition to vocabulary, contains items below the word level (i.e., affixes) and above the word level (i.e., phrasal structure stored in long-term memory). Although most syntactic structures are generated and then discarded, a vast number of phrases remain fixed in memory, such that procedural knowledge of grammar may be accessed through complex lexical items. In this light, all empirical research on second language attrition to date that offers evidence for ordering effects can be shown to involve issues of access to the mental lexicon. We examine how computational and psycholinguistic models of lexical activation and inhibition might be used to explain both catastrophic loss in cases of disuse, and apparently miraculous recovery in situations of re-immersion, as lexical retrieval breathes life into syntax.


    In category: Second language acquisition


February 22
  • Panels 1 of Diálogos 11: Linguistics Workshop on Language Structure in Context

    Time: 08:30am - 10:00am 

    Place: Indiana Memorial Union


    Language variation and change (Maple Room)

    • Trends towards semantic loss of the subjunctive in Spanish: Effects with 'el hecho de que' - Benjamin Beaver (University of South Carolina)
    • Phonological Variation in Cibaeño Spanish: The Effect of Intra and Extra Linguistic Factors on Vocalization - Junice Acosta (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    • Hypercorrection and intra-speaker socio-phonetic variation among Dominican television journalists - Ian Michalski (Indiana University)

    Morphosyntactic variation I (Redbud Room)

    • 'Donde vive uno': A comparative study of lexical frequency and self­-referential 'uno' - Anna Wilson (Indiana University)
    • Awareness of Valenciano interference in Spanish among simultaneous bilingual speakers - Rosa Piqueres Gilabert (Indiana University)
    • Examining the contexts of preposition doubling: A variationist approach comparing Spanish and English coordination - Rebecca Clay (Indiana University)



    In category: Sociolinguistics and pragmatics


  • Panels 2 of Diálogos 11: Linguistics Workshop on Language Structure in Context

    Time: 10:15am - 11:45am 

    Place: Indiana Memorial Union


    Second language acquisition (Redbud Room)

    • Individual difference factors and L2 Spanish phonetic development at home and abroad - Megan Solon, Silvina Bongiovanni, and Avizia Long (Indiana University)
    • Applied theater in order to improve pronunciation in Spanish L2 learners - Elena Sánchez-Vizcaíno (Auburn University)
    • The Effects of Corrective Feedback Strategies and Learner Attitudes on Uptake among Intermediate Spanish FL Learners - Carly Henderson (Indiana University)

    Formal approaches (Maple Room)

    • Spanish Bare Nominals: Determining the Presence of the Determiner - Emily Warden (University of Georgia)
    • The Subject Position in Spanish Nominalized Infinitives - Marcus Berger (University of Michigan)



    In category: Unclassified


  • Panels 3 of Diálogos 11: Linguistics Workshop on Language Structure in Context

    Time: 02:15pm - 03:45pm 

    Place: Indiana Memorial Union


    Language and Identity (Maple Room)

    • Politico-Partisan Categories in an Adolescent’s Story - Juan Escalona-Torres (University of Hawai'i at Manoa)
    • "Hablo español, you know?": Language and Identity in the Puerto Rican Diaspora - Rachel Denton (University of Tennessee)

    Morphosyntactic Variation II (Redbud Room)

    • Does morphology matter? Reconsidering the envelope of 'haber' agreement variation - Devin Grammon (Ohio State University)
    • El laísmo como una etapa posterior al leísmo: preferencia de género sobre caso - Andrea Mojedano (Indiana University)
    • 'A esta plaza la cuida usted': Accusative 'a'-marking of inanimates in Argentine Spanish - Mark Hoff (Indiana University)



    In category: Sociolinguistics and pragmatics


  • A practical perspective on the analysis of structural variation

    Time: 04:00pm - 05:30pm 

    Place: IMU Dogwood Room


    Chad Howe (University of Georgia)


    In category: Sociolinguistics and pragmatics


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