The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch - Thurs 10/29- Ted Gibson

Join us for this week’s Ling-lunch talk:

Speaker: Ted Gibson
Time: Thurs 10/29, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461
Title: Quantitative investigations of syntactic representations and processing

Joint work with Denise Ichinco, Ev Fedorenko, Steve Piantadosi, Nat Twarog, and Melissa Troyer.

We present a new method to quantitatively evaluate similarity and differences in language representations and processes: Inter-Subject Analysis of Covariation (ISAC). The method is a quantitative version of an approach that has been traditionally used in the syntactic literature. In this method, participants rate materials for their acceptability. It is assumed that judgments will correlate more across individuals on materials with overlapping structures or similar processing demands. In order to evaluate this novel method, we demonstrate that relative clauses and wh-questions are rated very similarly to each other across different kinds of transformations, much more so than several control structures. This method holds a lot of promise for addressing questions concerning the nature of linguistic representations and processes.