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Recent Approaches to the Quantitative Study of Language: Rules and Un-rules


14-15 October 2021

Responsable de l'activité

Martin Hilpert


Dr. David Correia Saavedra, UNINE

Prof. Jennifer Rains, UNINE

Prof. Martin Hilpert, UNINE

Prof. Richard Huyghe, UNIFR


Prof. Harald Baayen, Universität Tübingen

Dr. Natalia Levshina, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen)

Prof. Stefan Th. Gries, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Prof. Jenny Audring, Universiteit Leiden

Pr Sabine Arndt-Lappe, Universität Tri


The quantitative study of language involves a broad range of methods and approaches, which can be difficult to apprehend as a newcomer to the field. In particular, statistical and computational approaches can occasionally feel like a black box. Because such methods facilitate the processing of large datasets, they have become prominent in various sub-fields of linguistics, such as the study of morphological and grammatical phenomena. Young researchers will inevitably encounter articles that are relevant to their topics of interest that use such methods, which is why being familiar with them is necessary. The goal of this workshop is to make current analytical approaches more accessible to PhD students in different areas of linguistics, with a focus on quantitative methods in the study of morphology. Morphological phenomena commonly exhibit a certain degree of predictability, so that we can for example identify "rules" of word-formation, which are often however not fully productive. There is thus a continuum between productive (rule-based) processes and creative (unruly/rule-breaking) processes. To give just one example, truncation is a word-formation process that has generated a fair amount of discussion regarding its predictability (Lappe 2007). How to locate a given process on the continuum between regularity and irregularity is a matter of empirical investigation that typically requires processing large amounts of data. It is through that process that researchers can investigate the extent to which rules apply as well as the role of exceptions and unusual cases. The approaches discussed in this workshop will focus on linguistic morphology, but they will be relevant to linguistics more broadly. There will be hands-on demonstrations, as well as broader discussions of the theoretical relevance of such approaches and some of their limitations. At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to apply some of the methods that were presented to their own data, but they will also be better equipped to engage with scientific literature that relies on them. This workshop will also offer the possibility to several doctoral students to present their own quantitative research.


Online workshop



Deadline for registration 07.10.2021
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