We will welcome from March 22, 2023, Professor Erich ROUND from the University of Surrey for a series of four seminars on the theme "Modelling the dynamics of evolving morphology".
The seminars will take place from 11am to 1pm, on Wednesdays March 22, March 29, April 5, and April 12, at the Université Paris Cité - Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges - 8, rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris, in room 137 (1st floor).
As the empirical foundations of linguistic research become secure, linguists are increasingly adopting modelling approaches to uncover the implications of linguistic diversity for questions of the human mind and the dynamics of language change. A key claim of modern modelling approaches is that they offer new avenues for tackling important theoretical questions in a scientifically principled manner. Accordingly, this course shines a light on the foundations of modern modelling, including the increasingly ubiquitous Bayesian probabilistic methods. With a special empirical focus on morphological paradigms, it explains and critiques how these methods are applied to questions of language in the mind and the dynamics of language change. By attending this course, participants will sharpen their ability to critique the logical underpinnings, implementations and interpretations of modern modelling research, and thereby to engage more actively with this emerging source of new explanations for linguistic diversity, usage and change. Séance 1 : 22 mars: Fundamentals of scientific modelling
In Session 1, I lay the foundation for the discussions ahead: What is model? What are the parts, uses, interpretations, affordances and limitations of models? What are verbal models and formal models? And how do models relate to key scientific notions such as idealisation, hypothesis testing and theory development? In models of language change, I examine the core topics of interaction; acquisition; later- life learning; cognition; diffusion through populations; and conceptions of language relatedness. Narrowing our focus to quantitative and computational models, I discuss representations, compu- tations, stochasticity, and the role of simulations. We examine limitations of these approaches, and I survey current hot topics and emerging technologies, with a particular emphasis on modelling within the Bayesian probabilistic paradigm. Séance 2 : 29 mars: Implementations of modelling for language change
To bed down the new ideas introduced in Seminar 1, and to connect them to linguistics, Session 2 examines a selection of classic case studies of the modelling of language change. The goal is both to familiarise participants with landmark studies in the modelling literature, and to provide a critical review of them as a vehicle for enhancing participants’ capacity to scrutinise and evaluate current research within this significant, emerging subfield. Séance 3 : 5 avril: Modelling morphology 1: The cognitive creativity of analogy
Session 3 examines models of the synchronic use by speakers of analogy in inflectional morphology. It begins with an essential review of inflectional paradigms and then surveys the cross-disciplinary history of the topic since the 1980s. This is juxtaposed against the more modern understanding that we are privileged to have today, of the empirical foundations of inflection, thereby establishing the historical and empirical framing for a revised typology of models of inflectional analogy, which I have developed in my current research. Placed in the context of seminars 1 & 2, this leads to a new, Bayesian framework for pursuing a methodical and inter-disciplinary programme of research. Séance 4 : 12 avril: Modelling morphology 2: The evolutionary consequences of analogy
Session 4 takes up morphological change, and the questions: how can modelling assist us in evaluating hypotheses about cognition against evidence from diachronic and synchronic typology; and conversely, what can diachronic and synchronic typology tell us about cognition, via the medium of modelling? How certain or skeptical should we be about the state-of-the-art? And what lies ahead in this field?