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Is prediction multilevel grammatical inference?

Dave Kush, University of Toronto

Wed, 1/31 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 1-S-5 Green Hall

Program in Linguistics

Nearly all researchers agree that active dependency resolution relies, to some extent, on prediction: comprehenders appear to commit to analyses in advance of unambiguous confirmatory evidence. Researchers disagree, however, on how far in advance prediction occurs, what portions of linguistic representation(s) are predicted, and how to characterize the mechanisms that subserve predictive processes. In this talk, I’ll present results from a series of collaborative studies on the processing of dependencies in Norwegian, Dutch, and English (and maybe Tagalog) to probe the limits of prediction. I’ll argue (i) that comprehenders can make predictions earlier than is commonly assumed, (ii) that fine-grained predictions are made above the lexical level, and (iii) that predictive mechanisms are (relatively) grammatically faithful. I discuss how these results support a model of hierarchical prediction as inference to the best analysis across multiple levels of linguistic representation.

Dave Kush is an assistant professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. His areas of interest include sentence processing, syntax, and cross-linguistic variation.

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