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[eu_members at aclweb dot org] Belgium: DGfS 2009: "Learning meets Acquisition" -- CFP

Dear Colleagues,

Please feel free to circulate the following call-for-paper for a workshop 
("Arbeitsgruppe") at the 31st yearly meeting of DGfS in Osnabrück, Germany 
(March 4-6, 2009). Abstract submission deadline is August 20.

Sorry for eventual cross-posting.

Tamás Biró


Call for papers for the DGfS 2009 in Osnabrück, Germany (March 4-6, 2009):

  Arbeitsgruppe "Learning meets Acquisition":
  The learnability of linguistic frameworks
  from formal and cognitive perspectives

The workshop brings together researchers working on the learnability of 
linguistic models from a formal point, with those working on the models. 
cognitive adequacy.

In general, studies on the learnability of language account for how grammar and 
lexicon of a language can be learnt, and by what means. To give an example, 
considerate progress has been made recently in connectionist-based frameworks 
such as Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993) and Harmonic Grammar 
(Legendre et al. 1990). Most learnability models within OT deal with the 
learning of the grammar: learning of constraint hierarchies, and learning of 
constraints themselves. In most of these approaches, lexical information is 
already given. Other OT approaches tackle the learning of parts of the lexicon. 
Differences between approaches include whether lexicon and grammar are learnt 
in turns (offline) or in parallel (online), or whether the OT grammar to be 
learnt is traditional or stochastic. Current approaches to learnability within 
HG include learning constraint weights, by using learning algorithms such as 
the perceptron algorithm. Yet, formal results have been only seldom tested 
against empirical data from language acquisition research.

The workshop will not only capture the State-of-the-Art in current approaches 
to learnability, but also point out future developments in this field, 
especially those pertaining to cognitive adequacy. Questions to be addressed in 
the workshop include:

- What are appropriate computational models of the formalizations and why?
- What is the cognitive and psycholinguistic plausibility of these models?
- How does the research on formal models of learnability relate to
   (psycholinguistic) research on language acquisition? Is there a "missing
- How can the learnability of interfaces (e.g., syntax-phonology,
   semantics-phonology) be formalized?
- How can learnability account for diachronic aspects of language?

We invite anybody working within any well-established contemporary linguistic 
framework (including phonology, syntax or semantics, let it be GB, the 
Minimalist Program, OT, LFG or HPSG among many others), and who tackles its 
learnability from a theoretical, formal or cognitive perspective. Especially 
invited are contributions that contrast the learnability of a framework with 
empirical data (from language acquisition, language change or psycholinguistic 

Abstract submission guidelines:
- Abstracts should be submitted for 30-minute slots (including
- 1 page (Times New Roman, 12pt, single-spaced, A4 margins), including
   references and figures etc.
- Pdf format preferably.
- Abstracts should contain the title of the talk, but not the authors.
- Abstracts should be submitted via e-mail as attachment. The names and 
affiliations of the authors along with the title of the abstract should be 
included in the body of the e-mail.

Send abstracts to lma dot dgfs at gmail dot com, with the words "abstract 
submission" somewhere in the subject line.

Important dates:
   Abstract submission deadline:  August 20, 2008.
   Notification of acceptance:    September 15, 2008.
   Conference dates:              March 4-6, 2009.

The workshop organizers:
Diana Apoussidou, University of Amsterdam (d dot apoussidou at uva dot nl)
Tamás Biró, Eötvös Loránd University (birot at nytud dot hu)