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Before There Was Merge, There Was Split: Automatic Learning of Morphology

John Goldsmith, professor of linguistics and computer science at the University of Chicago, gives a talk about the development of Linguistica, an algorithm to automatically analyze the morphology of a language. He will also talk later in the day about his new book "Battle in the Mind Fields."

Apr 23, 2018
from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Andrews Conference Room, 2203 Social Sciences and Humanities

John Goldsmith is professor of linguistics and computer science at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics in 1976 from MIT, and has worked in the areas of phonology, machine learning, and historical epistemology.

His book Battle in the Mind Fields (University of Chicago Press, 2018) co‐authored with Bernard Laks, deals with rupture and continuity in the disciplines of linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and logic from the beginning of the 19th century up to World War II.


I will discuss the development of an algorithm that takes a corpus from an unknown language and automatically analyzes the internal word structure. I'll explain first how this project, called “Linguistica,” fits into our understanding of what linguistics is, and then illustrate how it works on learning the morphology of English and of Swahili.

Informal Talk: "Battle in the Mind Fields"

3:30-5 p.m.

Kerr Hall 273

I have recently finished a book, co‐authored with Bernard Laks, on rupture and continuity in the mind sciences: linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and logic. We explore patterns of interaction both at the personal and the intellectual level, and explore how ideas have been shared among these fields. The first volume of this book covers the period from the beginning of the 19th century up to World War II, and it sheds light in surprising ways on where many of our commonly accepted ideas came from, and why that matters

Both talks are sponsored by the Department of Linguistics and UC Davis Language Sciences Group