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Jason Riggle

Jason Riggle of University of Chicago will speak at the UCSD Linguistics Department Colloquium on March 7, 2011, at 2:00 pm in AP&M 4301.

Generative models of variation within and between languages

In this talk, I evaluate three proposed mechanisms for generative models of variation within language: (i) sampling from partially specified grammars, (ii) grammars with noisy parameters, and (iii) probabilistic grammars. After describing qualitative differences among the types of variation they allow, I assess the ability of these three models to fit observed patterns of variation and ask whether there is (or could be) an empirical basis for selecting one of them. Finally, I ask the same questions in terms of the models' ability to account for typological variation (i.e., the frequency with which various patterns are attested typologically).