Talk by Prof. Padraic Monaghan

Event Date: 
Fri, 27/09/2013 - 12:00

Consolider-CogNeuro Seminar Series

Relationships between language structure, language learnability, and language acquisition

Padraic Monaghan, Department of Psychology,  Lancaster University, UK.

Hosted by Prof. Luca Bonatti


It is a convention in linguistics that the relationship between the sound of a word and its meaning is arbitrary. Arbitrariness is a puzzle from a computational perspective because all previous word learning cannot then help in learning a new word in the language. So, why is language structured like this? Because language changes rapidly from generation to generation, this introduces many opportunities for tuning of language to better match general cognitive processing constraints. Using computational modelling and artificial language learning studies, we explore the conditions under which arbitrariness provides a learning advantage as a system for acquisition and processing of the vocabulary. However, the arbitrariness convention has recently been questioned by a growing body of work uncovering aspects of language that appear to show systematicities in form-meaning mappings, such as sound symbolism. In a set of comprehensive, cross-linguistic corpus analyses, we measure how systematic or arbitrary language actually is, and determine the psycholinguistic properties of words that exhibit most and least arbitrariness in the vocabulary.


September 27th at 12:00


Campus de la Comunicacio UPF, C/ Roc Boronat, 132. MAP
Edifici 52 (Ed. Roc Boronat), room 52.S31 (please notice the change of room)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

How to get there:

Metro: Llacuna or Poblenou <L4>, Glories <L1>, Tram: Ca l’aranyó [T4]