Mathematical Phonology

Humans intuitively pattern meaningless symbolic elements into meaningful units when comprehending and producing language. The rules and structures governing this patterning - phonology - act as a cognitive filter for the underlying structure of language as it is transformed into external action, whether through speech, sign, or tactile language. The wide variety of patterns that humans produce across languages, and their mappings from underlying forms to surface forms, show a remarkable computational simplicity, combined with efficient and accurate learning algorithms. I draw on tensor algebra, formal language theory, grammatical inference, and mathematical logic to clarify the nature of the human mental capacity of phonology.

PAPERS  

What Can Formal Language Theory Do for Animal Cognition Studies? (with A. De Santo). To appear in Royal Society Open Science.

Probing RNN Encoder-Decoder Generalization of Subregular Functions Using Reduplication. (with M. Nelson, H. Dolatian, and B. Prickett. Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics, vol 3, 2020

Multi Input Strictly Local Functions for Templatic Morphology. (with H. Dolatian). Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics, vol 3, 2020 

Multi Input Strictly Local Functions for Tonal Phonology. (with H. Dolatian). Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics, vol 3, 2020 

History of Phonology: Learnability. (with J. Heinz). to appear in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Phonology (H. van der Hulst and B. Elan Dresher, eds)

Finite-State Locality in Semitic Root-and-Pattern Morphology. (with H. Dolatian). Proceedings of the Penn Linguistics Conference 43

Tensor Product Representations of Subregular Formal Languages. Proceedings of the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2019) workshop on Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning

Learning with Partially Ordered Representations. (with J. Chandlee, R. Eyraud, J. Heinz, and A. Jardine). Proceedings of the 16th ACL Meeting on the Mathematics of Language (SIGMOL 2019)

No Free Lunch in Linguistics or Machine Learning. (with J. Heinz). Language, Volume 95, Issue 1 

Phonological Complexity is Subregular: Evidence from Sign Language. Proceedings of the 51st Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society. 

 

 

TALKS

Probing RNN Encoder-Decoder Generalization of Subregular Functions Using Reduplication. (with M. Nelson, H. Dolatian, and B. Prickett. Society for Computation in Linguistics, Jan 2020

Multi Input Strictly Local Functions for Templatic Morphology. (with H. Dolatian). Society for Computation in Linguistics, Jan 2020

 

Tensor Product Representations of Subregular Constraints. Northeast Computational Phonology Circle, Rutgers, Nov 2019

Understanding Machine Learning with Language and Tensors. Invited Talk, Stony Brook Physics Department, Nov 2019 

Tensor Product Representations of Subregular Formal Languages. International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence workshop on Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning. Macau, 2019

Geometric Representations of Linguistic Structures and Computations. with A.De Santo, T. Graf, J. Heinz. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology, Montreal. 

Learning with Partially Ordered Representations. 16th Meeting on the Mathematics of Language. Toronto, July 2019

Learning with Partially Ordered Representations. Workshop on Learning and Automata at Annual Symposium on Logic in Computer Science (LICS), Vancouver, June 2019    

Subregular Morphology: Structures, Grammars, and Learning. Invited Talk, Waseda University/RIKEN, Tokyo. May 2019 

The Logical Nature of Phonology Across Speech and Sign. Invited Talk, New York University, May 2019

Learning with Locality Across Speech and Sign (with J. Chandlee).  42nd GLOW Conference, workshop on "Rules and Learning Strategies Across Spoken and Signed Languages". University of Oslo.  

The Computational Nature of Templatic Morphology  (with H. Dolatian). 

American International Morphology Meeting, Stony Brook University, May 2019 

Phonology in the NorthEast Workshop, Yale University, April 2019 

Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics, University of Toronto, April 2019 

Penn Linguistics Conference,  University of Pennsylvania, March 2019

Learning with Partially Ordered Representations. Invited Talk, IACS Seminar Series. Nov 2018

How the Constraint Space Structure Enables Learning. NorthEast Computational Phonology Circle. MIT

The Computational Nature of Phonology Across Speech and Sign. Invited Talk, Sign Language Research Lab, University of Connecticut 

How the Structure of the Constraint Space Enables Learning. Invited Talk, University of Connecticut 

Tiers and Relativized Locality Across Language Modules. (with T. Graf, A. Aksenova, H. Baek, A. de Santo, H. Dolatian, S. Moradi, S. Yang, and J. Heinz). "Parallels between Phonology and Syntax" Workshop, July 9 2018, Meertens Institute, Amsterdam 

How the Constraint Space Structure Facilitates Learning. (with Jeffrey Heinz, Jane Chandlee, Adam Jardine). Tenth North American Phonology Conference, May 2018, Concordia University, Montreal

The Logical Complexity of Phonology Across Speech and Sign. Invited Talk, Mar. 2018, Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris

Phonological Complexity is Subregular: Evidence from Sign Language. The 51st Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, May 2017, University of Chicago. 

 

POSTERS

Multi Input Strictly Local Functions for Tonal Phonology. (with H. Dolatian)

Society for Computation in Linguistics, Jan 2020

Annual Meeting on Phonology, Oct 2019

How the Constraint Space Structure Enbables Learning. (with J. Chandlee, R. Eyraud, J. Heinz, and A. Jardine). Society for Computation in Linguistics. Jan 2019 

Learning within Linguistically Structured Constraint Spaces. (with J. Chandlee, J. Heinz, and A. Jardine). Tokyo Institute of Technology -Stony Brook Joint Science Meeting, May 2018.

Subregular Complexity Across Speech and Sign. Society for Computation in Linguistics 1st Meeting. Salt Lake City, Jan 2018 

Reconciling Minimum Description Length with Grammar-Independent Complexity Measures. (with Aniello De Santo, and Jeffrey Heinz).  MIT Workshop on Simplicity in Grammar Learning

 

Computational Neuroscience

Phonology lies at the intersection of linguistics and neurobiology. Phonological rules govern the physical instantiation of thought made in language, while phonology is the first completely abstract computational layer that perceptual encoding/decoding must enter. The mapping problem, or instantiating these symbolic rules into neuronal systems, is an important part of figuring out the biological capacity for language. How brains perform this feat is a matter of their unique structure and computing power, most of which is an open question. 

PAPERS

Quantified Sentences as a Window into Prediction and Priming. (with A. de Santo, J. Drury, and A. Yazdani) 2018. Proceedings of Chicago Linguistics Society 54th Annual Meeting

Homeostasis in Harmonic Grammar. MS, Higher School of Economics, 2016

Second-Language Phonology Learning and Neuroplasticity. Linguistic Portfolios Vol. 4, 2015 

 

TALKS

Quantified Sentences as a Window into Prediction and Priming. (with A. de Santo, J. Drury, and A. Yazdani). Chicago Linguistics Society 54th Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 2018

Homeostatic Reinforcement Learning for Harmonic Grammars. SYNC Conference. CUNY, New York.
Homeostatic Reinforcement Learning for Harmonic Grammars. (with B. Gutkin). Invited Talk. MIT Linguistics Dept., November 2016
Homeostasis in Harmonic Grammar. Invited Talk. Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France, April 2016 

Linguistic Structure from Neural Computation. Center for Cognition Seminar, Higher School of Economics, 2015.

 

POSTERS

ERP Effects for Quanitifier Complexity, Priming, and Truth Value in an auditory/visual Verification Task. (with A. de Santo and J. Drury). Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Meeting 2017

A Homeostatic Space for OT Phonology. Poster. Pronouns: Syntax, Semantics, Processing Conference (Moscow, Russia)

 

Other

Pirates and Emperors: On Publishers, Journalists, and Academic Elites. Talk at the New School for Social Research, March 2018

A Dangerous Nuclear Ignorance. Article in Counterpunch Magazine, August 2017