*** Call for Papers ***

Psychocomputational Models of Human Language Acquisition

Workshop at ACL 2005

29-30 June 2005 at University of Michigan Ann Arbor

**** Submission Deadline: 4 April 2005 ****



Workshop Topic

The workshop, which is a follow-up to the successful workshop held at COLING in 2004, will be devoted to psychologically motivated computational models of language acquisition -- models that are compatible with, or motivated by research in psycholinguistics, developmental psychology with particular emphasis on the acquisition of syntax, though work on the acquisition of morphology,phonology and other levels of linguistic description is also welcome.

The workshop will be taking place at the same time as CoNLL-2005 (http://cnts.uia.ac.be/conll/cfp.html) and if there is sufficient interest there will be a plenary session for papers that are relevant to both audiences.


Invited Talks

Mark Steedman, University of Edinburgh
Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University


Workshop Description and Motivation


In recent decades there has been a great deal of successful research that applies computational learning techniques to emerging natural language technologies, along with many meetings, conferences and workshops in which to present such research. These have generally been motivated primarily by engineering concerns. There have been only a few venues in which computational models of human (first) language acquisition are the focus.

In the light of recent results in developmental psychology, indicating that very young infants are capable of detecting
statistical patterns in an audible input stream, statistically motivated approaches have gained in plausibility. However, this
raises the question of whether or not a psychologically credible statistical learning strategy can be successfully exploited in a full-blown psychocomputational acquisition model, and the extent to which such algorithms must use domain-specific knowledge.

The principal goal of the workshop is to bring together researchers who work within computational linguistics, formal learning theory, grammatical inference, machine learning, artificial intelligence, linguistics, psycholinguistics and other fields, who have created or are investigating computational models of language acquisition. In particular, it will provide a forum for establishing links and common themes between diverse paradigms. Although research which directly addresses the acquisition of syntax is strongly encouraged, related studies that inform research on the acquisition of other areas of
language are also welcome.

Papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following topics:

* Models that employ statistical/probabilistic grammars;
* Formal learning theoretic and grammar induction models that incorporate psychologically plausible constraints;
* Models that employ language models from corpus linguistics;
* Models that address the question of learning bias in terms of innate linguistic knowledge versus domain general strategies
* Models that can acquire natural language word-order;
* Hybrid models that cross established paradigms;
* Models that directly make use of or can be used to evaluate existing linguistic or developmental theories in a computational framework (e.g. the principles & parameters framework, Optimality Theory, or Construction Grammar);
* Models that combine parsing and learning;
* Models that have a cross-linguistic or bilingual perspective;
* Empirical models that make use of child-directed corpora;
* Comparative surveys, across multiple paradigms, that critique previously published studies;

Paper Length: Submissions should be no longer than 8 pages (A4 or the equivalent). High-quality short papers or extended abstracts of 4 to 5 pages are encouraged. Submission and format details are below.


Important Dates

Please note that the turnaround time for accepted papers is quite short.

Deadline for main session paper submission: April 4, 2005
Notification of acceptance: May 5, 2005
Deadline for camera-ready papers: May 17, 2005
Conference: June 29-30, 2005


Workshop Organizers

* William Gregory Sakas (Chair), City University of New York, USA (sakas@hunter.cuny.edu)
* Alexander Clark, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK (alexc@cs.rhul.ac.uk)
* James Cussens, University of York, UK (jc@cs.york.ac.uk)
* Aris Xanthos, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (aris.xanthos@unil.ch)


Program Committee

* Robert Berwick, MIT, USA
* Antal van den Bosch, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
* Ted Briscoe, University of Cambridge, UK
* Damir Cavar, Indiana University, USA
* Nick Chater, University of Warwick, UK
* Stephen Clark, University of Edinburgh, UK
* Walter Daelemans, University of Antwerp, Belgium and Tilburg University, The Netherlands
* Elan Dresher, University of Toronto, Canada
* Jeff Elman, University of California, San Diego, USA
* Jerry Feldman, University of California, Berkeley, USA
* John Goldsmith, University of Chicago, USA
* John Hale, University of Michigan, USA
* Mark Johnson, Brown University, USA
* Vincenzo Lombardo, Universita di Torino, Italy
* Paola Merlo, University of Geneva, Switzerland
* Sandeep Prasada, City University of New York, USA
* Dan Roth, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
* Jenny Saffran, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
* Ivan Sag, Stanford University, USA
* Ed Stabler, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
* Mark Steedman, University of Edinburgh, UK
* Suzanne Stevenson, University of Toronto, Canada
* Patrick Sturt, University of Glasgow, UK
* Charles Yang, Yale University, USA


Paper Submission

Submissions should follow the two-column format of ACL proceedings and should not exceed eight (8) pages, including references. We strongly recommend the use of ACL LaTeX style files or Microsoft Word Style files tailored for this year's conference. They are available at http://www.aclweb.org/acl2005/styles/. High-quality short papers or extended abstracts of 4 to 5 pages are encouraged.

Electronic Submission: All submissions will be by email. Reviews will be blind, so be careful not to disclose authorship or
affiliation. PDF submissions are preferred and will be required for the final camera-ready copy.

Submissions should be sent as an attachment to:


The subject line must contain the single word: Submission.

Please be sure to include accurate contact information in the body of the email.


Workshop contact:

Email: psycho.comp@hunter.cuny.edu
Web: http://www.colag.cs.cuny.edu/psychocomp


William Gregory Sakas
Department of Computer Science, North 1008
Hunter College, City University of New York
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

1 (212) 772.5211 - voice
1 (212) 772.5219 - fax



Psycho.Comp@hunter.cuny.edu or sakas@hunter.cuny.edu