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

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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
In a paper from the early seventies -- that was only published posthumously in 1995 -- the mathematical geneticist George Price laid out the foundations for a program that he called "a general theory of selection". His aim was a mathematical framework which can serve to describe all kinds of evolutionary processes, from gene selection in biology to political processes in human societies. The evolution of grammars was explicitly mentioned as one of the potential applications.
In the talk I will describe Price's program, and I will give a sketch how it can be applied to linguistics. I will concentrate on the exemplar dynamics of language processing that has recently gained a lot of attention (see the work of Bybee, Pierrehumbert, Wedel, and the papers by Bod, Bresnan and others in the recent special issue of The Linguistic Review). I will argue that it should properly be understood as an evolutionary process (as eloquently pointed out by Andrew Wedel), and that Price's formula is a perfect analytical tool to understand this dynamics.

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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.