Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Tools and Methods for Very-Large-Scale Phonetics Research

The University of Pennsylvania is hosting a workshop (Jan. 28-31, 2011) on new tools and methods for Very-Large-Scale phonetics research, as part of a newly awarded NSF grant. According to their website, "The themes of the workshop include: integration of speech technology in phonetics studies (including 
software to facilitate teaching and research); variation and invariance in large speech corpora; and revisiting classic phonetic and phonological problems from the perspective of corpus phonetics. A tutorial on forced alignment and the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner will also be provided prior to the workshop. Selected papers from the workshop will be published in a special issue of The Journal of Experimental Linguistics." Participants include IS regulars Elliot Saltzman, Mark Tiede and Louis Goldstein.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Pirahã Controversy, three years later

In two earlier meetings, we read material on the controversy surrounding the Pirahã language, which Dan Everett claimed had no recursion -- thereby undermining a key claim made in a(n in)famous article by Chomsky, Hauser, and Fitch.

Now (well, last summer actually) Hauser has been found guilty and put on leave by Harvard for scientific misconduct (though as usual in today's corporate-coverup university culture, nothing is really clear about the status of his case), and Everett has moved from being the Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois state to being the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University, just a few miles from our beloved Brandeis.

It makes me wonder what all the fuss was about.