[vslist] CFP: Psycho-computational Models of Human Language Acquisition

William Gregory Sakas sakas at hunter.cuny.edu
Thu Feb 12 11:31:00 GMT 2004

                           Call for Papers

                        COLING-2004 Workshop:

       Psycho-computational Models of Human Language Acquisition

               Geneva Switzerland    28 August 2004


Workshop Topic 

The workshop will be devoted to psychologically motivated computational models 
of language acquisition -- models that are compatible with research in 
psycholinguistics, developmental psychology and linguistics -- with particular 
emphasis on the acquisition of syntax.

Invited panel: Learning Biases in Language Acquisition Models
  Walter Daelemans, Antwerp and Tilburg
  Charles D. Yang, Yale

Invited speaker
  Elan Dresher, Toronto

Workshop Description and Motivation

In recent decades there has been a great deal of successful research that 
applies computational learning techniques to emerging natural language 
technologies, along with many meetings, conferences and workshops in which to 
present such research.  However, there have been few venues in which psycho-
computational models of how humans acquire their native language(s) are the 

Psycho-computational models of language acquisition are of particular interest 
in light of recent results in developmental psychology which suggest that very 
young infants are adept at detecting statistical patterns in an audible input 
stream.  However, this begs the question of whether or not a psychologically 
plausible statistical learning strategy can be successfully exploited in a 
blown psycho-computational acquisition model.  Although there has been a 
significant amount of presented research targeted at modeling the acquisition 
word categories and phonology, research aimed at psychologically motivated 
modeling of syntax acquisition has just begun to emerge.

The principal goal of the workshop is to bring together researchers who work 
within computational linguistics, formal learning theory, machine learning, 
artificial intelligence, linguistics, psycholinguistics and other fields, and 
who have created or are investigating computational models of language 
acquisition. In particular, it will provide a forum for establishing links and 
common themes between diverse paradigms.  Although research which directly 
addresses the acquisition of syntax is strongly encouraged, related studies 
inform research on the acquisition of syntax are also welcome.  

Papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following topics:

* Acquisition models that contain a parsing component
* Models that have a cross-linguistic or bilingual perspective
* Models that address the question of learning bias in terms of innate 
  linguistic knowledge versus statistical regularity in the input
* Models that can acquire natural language word-order
* Hybrid models that cross established paradigms
* Models that directly make use of or can be used to evaluate existing 
  linguistic or developmental theories in a computational framework (e.g. the 
  principles & parameters framework or Optimality Theory)
* Empirical models that make use of child-directed corpora
* Formal models that incorporate psychologically plausible constraints 
* Comparative surveys, across multiple paradigms, that critique previously   
  published studies 

Paper Length: Submissions should be no longer than 8 pages (A4 or the 
equivalent). High-quality short papers or extended abstracts of 4 to 5 pages 
encouraged. Submission and format details are below.

Lunch session: Word-order acquisition

The topic of this session will be the acquisition of different natural 
word-orders. The workshop will provide a common test-bed of abstract sentence 
patterns from word order divergent languages.  The shared data contains the 
sentence patterns and cross-linguistic fully-specified parses for each 
pattern. The patterns are available at: 


General information and a web interface for perusing the data can be found at:


Due to the limited amount of time available to work with novel data, pilot 
studies are encouraged. The session will consist of short presentations and 
roundtable discussion.  Submissions for this session are limited to 2 pages. 

Those who may be interested in submitting to this session should contact the 
workshop organizer before the submission deadline for further details.  

Dates of submissions

  Submission deadline:      30 March 2004
  Acceptance notification:  14 May 2004
  Camera-ready deadline:    10 June 2004
  Workshop date:            28 August 2004

Workshop Organizer

  William Gregory Sakas, City University of New York (sakas at hunter.cuny.edu)

Program Committee

* Robert Berwick, MIT, USA
* Antal van den Bosch, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
* Ted Briscoe, University of Cambridge, UK
* Damir Cavar, Indiana University, USA
* Morten H. Christiansen, Cornell University, USA
* Stephen Clark, University of Edinburgh, UK 
* James Cussens, University of York, UK
* Walter Daelemans, University of Antwerp, Belgium and Tilburg University, 
  The Netherlands
* Jeffrey Elman, University of California, San Diego, USA
* Janet Dean Fodor, City University of New York, USA
* Gerard Kempen, Leiden University, The Netherlands and The Max Planck 
  Institute, Nijmegen
* Vincenzo Lombardo, University of Torino, Italy
* Larry Moss, University of Indiana, USA
* Miles Osborne, University of Edinburgh, UK 
* Dan Roth, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
* Ivan Sag, Stanford University, USA
* Jeffrey Siskind, Purdue University, USA
* Mark Steedman, University of Edinburgh, UK
* Menno van Zaanen, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
* Charles Yang, Yale University, USA

Paper Submission

Length: Submissions should be no more than 8 pages (A4 or equivalent). High-
quality short papers or extended abstracts of 4 to 5 pages are encouraged. 
Submissions to the lunch session on word-order should be up no more that 2 
pages. (If accepted, final camera ready versions may be up to 8 pages or 5 
pages for the word-order submissions.)

Layout: Papers must conform to COLING 2004 formatting guidelines, available at:


Electronic Submission: All submissions will be by email.  Reviews will be 
blind, so be careful not to disclose authorship or affiliation.  PDF 
submissions are preferred and will be required for the final camera-ready copy. 

Submissions should be sent as an attachment to:
  Psycho.Comp at hunter.cuny.edu.  
  The subject line must contain the single word: Submission.  

Please be sure to include accurate contact information in the body of the 


Psycho.Comp at hunter.cuny.edu
   or sakas at hunter.cuny.edu


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