Jason Riggle at UCSD

Jason Riggle just spoke at the linguistics colloquium of the University of Southern California, San Diego, on Generative models of variation within and between languages, the abstract of which follows:

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).