Professor Matt Goldrick will be giving the fourth and final Fall Speaker Series talk on Thursday, December 2nd at 3:30pm.

Below is the title and description of the talk. The talk is virtual and the zoom link will follow closer to the date.


Functional and algorithmic constraints on sound structure
Matt Goldrick
Northwestern University

Although understanding the mind/brain has been argued to require developing theories at multiple levels of description (Marr, 1982, et seq.), in practice specific research projects (my own included!) typically privilege explanations at a particular level of description. I'll discuss two recent projects from my lab that critically relied on understanding sound structure at different levels of explanation. The structured variation of external sandhi arises in part due to the nature of the algorithms that compute word forms in production. Psycholinguistic studies of implicit learning of phonotactic constraints yielded puzzles that can only be resolved by considering functional-level constraints on phonotactic grammars. Insights like these suggest researchers in the cognitive science of language may benefit from more careful attention to insights at multiple levels of description.