April 15, 2007

Human and Non-Human Languages in Greater L.A.

If you're one of the thirteen million people in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, this would be a good time to plan your route to the Smith Campus Center at 170 East Sixth Street in Claremont, where tomorrow (4/16/2007) at 7:00 p.m., Geoff Pullum will be giving the Robert Efron Lecture in Linguistics and Cognitive Science, on the topic "Modeling Human and Non-Human Languages". If you live further away, say in one of the regions of the central and eastern U.S. where the current weather patterns have not gotten the message about global warming or even the normal advent of spring, you could check the forecast for Claremont tomorrow (69 and sunny) and go for one of those last-minute travel bargains on the internet, even though the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College, which is sponsoring the lecture, is not offering any special travel packages.

If your schedule doesn't permit a trip to Claremont, you can try to predict what Geoff might say tomorrow, by extrapolating from a talk that he gave last year at Penn under the title Monkey Syntax, the handout for a presentation that he gave in Marc Hauser's lab at Harvard shortly thereafter, and papers such as Geoffrey K. Pullum and Barbara C. Scholz, "Contrasting applications of logic in natural language syntactic description" in Petr Hájek, Luis Valdés-Villanueva, and Dag Westerståhl (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science: Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress (KCL Publications, ISBN 1-904987-21-4), 481-503, and Geoffrey K. Pullum and James Rogers, "Animal Pattern-Learning Experiments: Some Mathematical Background", ms., 2006.

But really, wouldn't a trip to Claremont be easier and (even) more enjoyable?

Posted by Mark Liberman at April 15, 2007 11:58 AM