Workshop on Computing and Phonology

A small workshop on computational aspects of phonology is held at the University of Groningen (RUG), the Netherlands, on December 8, 2006. The workshop is open to anyone, but we kindly ask you to register not later than December 4. Should you have any question, please feel free to contact Tamás Bíró at birot @

Harmony Building, H13.309 (Multimediazaal)
Oude Kijk in't Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK Groningen.

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Chair: Dicky Gilbers
9:30Opening: John Nerbonne
9:40Tamas Biro (ACLC, Universiteit van Amsterdam):
Simulated Annealing for Optimality Theory: A performance model for phonology
Similarly to other fields in linguistics in the last forty years, phonological models have focused on linguistic competence, whereas performance has not been considered as belonging to the realm of linguistics. The traditional Chomskyan dichotomy between competence and performance has, however, been questioned in the last decade by an increasing number of scholars. Certain performance phenomena, such as variation, conditional corpus frequencies and gradient grammaticality judgments, have been shown in many cases to be related to factors that unquestionably belong to linguistics. Models accounting for these phenomena have led to an ongoing discussion on whether and how to draw the borderline between competence and performance, or between the realm of linguistics and extra-linguistic factors.
I shall present the Simulated Annealing for Optimality Theory Algorithm (SA-OT) as a possible compromise. The main idea is to replace the Chomskyan dichotomy with a three-level structure: the static knowledge of the language in the brain, the computation performed by the brain, and the extra-linguistic level. While a traditional OT-grammar is a model for the static knowledge of the language, its implementation -- such as SA-OT -- models the first part of the language production process. By being related to the linguistic model, but also prone to make errors under different conditions (such as time constraints), it is claimed to be an adequate model for certain, linguistically motivated performance phenomena.

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10:20Bart Cramer and John Nerbonne (CLCG, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen):
Scaling Minimal Generalization

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Chair: Petra Hendriks
11:30Gerhard Jäger (Universität Bielefeld):
Exemplar dynamics and George Price's General Theory of Selection

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12:10Paul Boersma (ACLC, Universiteit van Amsterdam):
The emergence of markedness

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Chair: Gosse Bouma
14:30Adam Albright (MIT, Cambridge, MA):
Modeling gradient phonotactic well-formedness as grammatical competence

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15:30Closing and coffee


If you intend to participate in the workshop, please register before December 4, 2006 in order to facilitate organisation.

Further information:

Information Science/Humanities Computing
Center for Language and Cognition Groningen (CLCG)
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)

From Wilbert Heeringa's page:
A list of hotels in Groningen (please note that the prices are outdated).
Travel information

Thanks to Gerlof Bouma for the design.