10 posts · 6,480 views
Imagine for a moment, that you have been thrown back into the Ellisonesque world of the 1980’s, with a delightful perm and even better trousers. One fragile Monday morning, you are sitting innocently enough at your cubicle, when your boss comes to you with the summary of a report you have never read, on a [...]... Read more »
Ramscar, M.,, Yarlett, D.,, Dye, M.,, Denny, K.,, & Thorpe, K. (2010) The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and their implications for symbolic learning. Cognitive Science, 34(6), 909-957. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01092.x
As an avid reader of Language Log, my interest was recently piqued by a commenter asking for a linguist’s eye-view on the “Knobe Effect”: “Speaking of Joshua Knobe, has any linguist looked into the Knobe Effect? The questionnaire findings are always passed off as evidence for some special philosophical character inherent in certain concepts like intentionality [...]... Read more »
Knobe, J. (2003) Intentional action and side effects in ordinary language. Analysis, 63(279), 190-194. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8284.00419
Knobe, J. (2005) Theory of mind and moral cognition: exploring the connections. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(8), 357-359. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.06.011
Ramscar, M., Matlock, T., & Dye, M. (2010) Running down the clock: the role of expectation in our understanding of time and motion. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25(5), 589-615. info:/
An argument is often made that similarities between languages (so-called “linguistic universals“) provide strong evidence for the existence of an innate, universal grammar (UG) that is shared by all humans, regardless of language spoken. If language were not underpinned by such a grammar, it is argued, there would be endless (and extreme) variation, of the [...]... Read more »
Evans N, & Levinson SC. (2009) The myth of language universals: language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. The Behavioral and brain sciences, 32(5), 429. PMID: 19857320
I wanted to register a quick reply to some of the comments on last week’s post “The question is : are you dumber than a rat?” In the comments there, and in posts on other blogs, our research program has been accused of intelligent nihilism. By one such characterization, our position is that “we don’t [...]... Read more »
Pullum, Geoffrey K., & Scholz, Barbara C. (2007) Systematicity and natural language syntax. Croatian Journal of Philosophy, 7(21), 375-402. info:/
Many developmental psychologists buy into an argument that suggests that children are dumber than rats. Should you? Human cognition is geared towards the central task of predicting the world around it. As you may remember from an earlier post I did on the A-not-B task in infants, children aren’t born understanding causal relationships right off [...]... Read more »
Ramscar, M.,, Yarlett, D.,, Dye, M.,, Denny, K.,, & Thorpe, K. (2010) The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and their implications for symbolic learning. Cognitive Science, 34(6), 909-957. info:/
This post is a scholarly addendum to today’s main post, aimed to satisfy the curiosity of my academic readers. I’m going to leave you with an excerpt from an excellent book chapter, “Repetition and Reuse in Child Language Learning,” by Colin Bannard and Elena Lieven. The two take up the question of why Zipfian distributions [...]... Read more »
Ferrer-i-Cancho, R., & Sole, R. V. (2003) Least effort and the origins of scaling in human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 788-791. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0335980100
Biemann, C. (2007) A Random Text Model for the Generation of Statistical Language Invariants. Proceedings of HLT-NAACL-07, Rochester, NY, USA. info:/
This morning, I scrawled a letter to a friend that began with the following: Spent the weekend at the FyeahFest with a starry-eyed lot of starving hipsters, in vintage hops and wingtips. Had not realized how obvious the effects of doing molly are on the pupils… the droves wandering past had eyes like shining saucers. [...]... Read more »
KW Church,, & WA Gale. (1995) Inverse document frequency (IDF): A measure of deviations from Poisson. In A. et al. (Ed.), NLP using Very Large Corpora. Kluwer Academic Publishers. . info:/
DeLong, K., Urbach, T., & Kutas, M. (2005) Probabilistic word pre-activation during language comprehension inferred from electrical brain activity. Nature Neuroscience, 8(8), 1117-1121. DOI: 10.1038/nn1504
In this post, our heroine — spurred on by her godly pursuit of science and a bevy of caffeinated drinks — compares the standard approach to language to intelligent design. It might get noodly. Pick one : Does language “emerge” full-blown in children, guided by a hierarchy of inbuilt grammatical rules for sentence formation and comprehension? Or [...]... Read more »
Rescorla RA. (1988) Pavlovian conditioning. It's not what you think it is. American Psychologist, 43(3), 151-60. PMID: 3364852
Bannard C, Lieven E, & Tomasello M. (2009) Modeling children's early grammatical knowledge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(41), 17284-9. PMID: 19805057
Ramscar, M., Yarlett, D., Dye, M., Denny, K., & Thorpe, K. (2010) The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and their Implications for Symbolic Learning. Cognitive Science, 34(7), 909-957. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01092.x
Scholz, B., & Pullum, G. (2006) Irrational Nativist Exuberance. Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science, 59-80. info:/
At the moment, I am taking a (temporary) break from my furious critiquing of peer review, and have begun working busily on a new series about the workings of human languages. Writing about this is for a general audience is hard, particularly because I suspect that many people have unexamined intuitive views about language that [...]... Read more »
Lieven, E., Pine, J., & Baldwin, G. (1997) Lexically-based learning and the development of grammar in early multi-word speech. Journal of Child Language, 24(1), 187-219. info:/
Lieven E, Behrens H, Speares J, & Tomasello M. (2003) Early syntactic creativity: a usage-based approach. Journal of child language, 30(2), 333-70. PMID: 12846301
“The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.”–B. F. Skinner. The study of mind begins with a metaphor. In the 20th century (and now on into the 21st) the metaphor that has dominated our study of mind is the [...]... Read more »
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