A5: Successful PhD defense! 

We are very proud and happy to announce that a member of Project A5 was awarded her PhD degree!

Linda Sommerfeld defended her thesis „Predictive Language Processing in the Complex Visual World in Children and Adults“ on 22 February 2024.

Many congratulations to Linda!

LangSci talk by Arielle Borovsky on February 22nd!

In our next LangSci talk, Arielle Borovsky , Associate Professor in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, with a courtesy appointment in Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, and Mercator Fellow of the SFB 1102, will give a talk on „Building semantic networks in the early lexicon„.

The talk will take place as a hybrid event in building A 2.2, room 1.20.2 and on MS Teams on February 22nd at 16:15!

LangSci *Special Series* James Michaelov on February 8st!

In our next LangSci colloquium, James Michaelov from the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego, will give a talk on „What can language models tell us about the N400?„.

The talk will take place as a hybrid event in building A2.2, room 1.20.2 and via MS Teams next Thursday at 16:15!

LangSci *Special Series* Samar Husain on February 1st!

In our next LangSci colloquium, Samar Husain, Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Delhi will give a talk on „Limits to prediction during sentence comprehension in SOV languages„.

The talk will take place as a hybrid event in building A2.2, room 1.20.2 and via MS Teams next Thursday at 16:15!

LangSci talk by Steffen Eger on January 25th!

In our next LangSci talk, Steffen Eger, Heisenberg Group Leader of the Natural Language Learning Group (NLLG) at University of Mannheim, will give a talk on „Syntactic language change in English and German„.

The hybrid talk will take place in building A 2.2, room 2.02. and on MS Teams January 25th at 16:15!

LangSci *Special Series* Seana Coulson on January 18th!

In our next LangSci colloquium, Seana Coulson, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego will give a talk on „Distributional Semantics and Embodied Meaning: What do Large Language Models have to say?„.

The talk will take place as a hybrid event in building A2.2, room 1.20.2 and via MS Teams next Thursday at 16:15!

LangSci *Special Series* Christian Bentz on January 11th!

In our next LangSci colloquium, Christian Bentz Assistant Professor at the Department of General Linguistics, University of Tübingen will give a talk on „Language complexity in shallow and deep time„.

The talk will take place as a hybrid event in building A2.2, room 1.20.2 and via MS Teams next Thursday at 16:15!

 

Invited Talk at Symposium on Theoretical Foundations for Interdisciplinarity

Last week Elke Teich was invited to give a talk on “Language use in science – convergence, diversity, dynamicity“ at the Symposium on Theoretical Foundations for Interdisciplinarity (November 30 – December 1) which took place at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. You can find the abstract below:

Language plays a crucial role in scientific processes as it fulfills the core epistemic functions of denoting and interpreting. As science developed to become an established socio-cultural domain of activity from the 17th century onwards, a specific linguistic code emerged for scientific communication that is characterized by abstractness, technicality, and informational density. While optimizing communication among experts, the specific linguistic properties of scientific language (e.g. complex nominal expressions, implicit logical relations, high lexical density) can hinder communication with non-specialist audiences, learners, and even across disciplines.

Against this background, in my talk I ask to what extent and in which regards scientific language is conducive or inimical to interdisciplinarity. Specifically, I will show results from selected studies highlighting three fundamental aspects of scientific language: convergence, i.e.  the tacit agreement to use specific linguistic features rather than others; diversity, i.e. variation in language use according to discipline; and dynamicity, i.e. continuous adaptation and change over time. The studies are empirical using samples of scientific English from contemporary and historical usage, spanning from the mid-17th century to the 21st century. The data were collected from scientific journals, including the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, and compiled into linguistic corpora according to best practices (meta-data, linguistic annotation; Fischer et al., 2020). For analysis, we applied computational language models (statistical models, embeddings), combined with selected exploratory methods (e.g. clustering, classification, (relative) entropy) for evaluating and interpreting model outputs (Bizzoni et al., 2020, Teich et al., 2021). In terms of linguistic theory, we combine a functional approach (Halliday & Martin, 1993; Matthiessen, 2019) with a formal theory of communication based on Shannon’s (1948) information theory, recently widely applied as a linking theory between language and cognition (Crocker et al., 2015; https://sfb1102.uni-saarland.de/).

C7: Scholars from Tirana

Last October C7 has hosted three scholars from the University of Tirana and the Polytechnic of Tirana to collaborate on the Saarbrücken Treebank of Albanian Fiction (STAF). The project aims to develop a computational resource for Albanian, following the Universal Dependency guidelines to manually annotate a collection of sentence for dependency relations, parts of speech and morpho-syntactic features.

Small Grant Scheme awarded to Marian Marchal and Iuliia Zaitova

Congratulations to Marian Marchal and Iuliia Zaitova for winning the Small Grant Scheme 2023! The two PhD students convinced reviewers and submission board of their proposed research projects. Marian Marchal receives support for a research visit at the University of Edinburgh with the project „Disentangling relation and content prediction using eyetracking-while-reading“. Iuliia Zaitova’s project, submitted in cooperation with Wei Xue, investigates „Validating the effects of additional visual information on spoken perception of mutual intelligibility“.

Successfully