Some research papers

New Testing the Tolerance Principle: Children form productive rules when it is more computationally efficient. With Kathryn Schuler and Elissa Newport. (Submitted)

New The distributional learning of recursive structures. With Daoxin Li, Lydia Grohe, and Petra Schulz. Proceedings of BUCLD 2021.

New Learning morphological productivity as meaning-form mappings. With Sarah Payne and Jordan Kodner. Society for Computation in Linguistics (2021)

New Saussurean Rhapsody: Systematicity and arbitrariness in language. Forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of the Mental Lexicon.

New The threshold of productivity and the “irregularization” of verbs in Early Modern English. With Don Ringe. Forthcoming in an edited volume from the 20th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics.

(2020) The abstractness of determiners. (With Virginia Valian). Submitted.

(2020) Miller's monkey updated: Communicative efficiency and the statistics of words in natural language. (With Spencer Caplan and Jordan Kodner). Submitted.

(2020) Modeling morphological typology for unsupervised learning of language morphology. (With Hongzhi Xu, Jordan Kodner, and Mitch Marcus). ACL2020.

(2019) Using the Tolerance Principle to predict phonological change. (With Betsy Sneller and Josef Fruehwald). Language Variation and Change.

(2018) A user's guide to the Tolerance Principle.  For public consumption.

(2018) Special issue of  Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. My target article "A formalist perspective on language acquisition", commentaries by Theresa Biberauer, Cécile De Cat, Laura Domínguez and Jorge González Alonso, Christine Dimroth, Adele E. Goldberg, Stefan Th. Gries, Vsevolod Kapatsinski, Jeffrey Lidz and Laurel Perkins, Silvina A. Montrul, Johanne Paradis, Tom Roeper, Jason Rothman and Noam Chomsky, Caroline F. Rowland, Roumyana Slabakova, Peter Svenonius, Eva Wittenberg and Ray Jackendoff, and Noriaki Yusa, and my reply.

(2018) How to make the most out of very little. In honor of Lila Gleitman. To appear in Topics in Cognitive Science.

(2018) Parameter setting is feasible. (With William Sakas and Bob Berwick). Theoretical Linguistics.

(2017) The growth of language: Universal grammar, experience, and principles of efficient computation. (With Stephen Crain, Robert Berwick, Noam Chomsky, and Johan Bolhuis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review (special issue on the biology of language)

(2017) How to wake up irregular (and speechless). In Bowern, Horn, Zanuttini (eds.) On looking into words (and beyond). (Tribute to Stephen R. Anderson, who gave me my first linguistics job.)

(2017) When nobody wins With Kyle Gorman. To appear in Franz Rainer, Francesco Gardani, Hans Christian Luschützky and Wolfgang U. Dressler (ed)., Competition in inflection and word formation. Dordrecht: Springer. (This paper refines and extends some analyses of paradigmatic gaps in POP and supercedes the earlier 2012 work below with Preys and Browczyk.

(2016) Learning datives: The Tolerance Principle in L1 and L2 acquisition. (With Silvina Montrul). Second Language Research.

(2016) Testing the Tolerance Principle: Children form productive rules when it is more computationally efficient to do so. (With Kathryn Schuler and Elissa Newport). Cogsci society meeting.

(2016) The pursuit of word meanings. (With Jon Stevens, Lila Gleitman, and John Trueswell). In press in Cognitive Science.

(2017) Rage against the machine: Evaluation Metrics in the 21st century. To appear in Language Acqusition.

(2017) Statistical evidence that a child can create a combinatorial linguistic system without linguistic input: Implications for language evolution. (With Susan Goldin-Meadow) Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review (special issue on the biology of language)

(2016) The linguistic origin of the next number. Ms. (Slides from the workshop where the work was conceived.)

(2015) Input and its structural description.In 50 years later: Reflections on Chomsky's Aspects. (With Julie Anne Legate and Allison Ellman)

(2015) Negative knowledge from positive evidence. Language

(2015) For and against frequencies. Comments on Ambridge et al. J. Child Language

(2014) Hauser, M.D.; Yang, C.; Berwick, R.; Tattersall, I.; Ryan, M.; Watumull, J.; Chomsky, N.; Lewontin, R. The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Language Science.

(2014). Richie, R, Yang, C. & Coppola, M. Modeling the Emergence of Lexicons in Homesign Systems. Topics in Cognitive Science: 6, 183-195.

(2013) Recursive misrepresentations: Reply to Levinson (2013, Language). (With Julie Anne Legate & David Pesetsky). To appear in Language.

(2013) Who's afraid of George Kingsley Zipf? Significance: The Magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Soceity. Dec. 29-34.

(2013) Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Language. PNAS.

(2013) Modeling the Emergence of Lexicons in Homesign Systems. (With Russell Richie & Marie Coppola). Journal version to appear in Topics in Cognitive Science. Winner of the best computational modeling paper at 2013 Cognitive Science Society meeting (Berlin)

(2013) The pursuit of word meanings. (With Jon Stevens, Lila Gleitman and John Trueswell). Manuscript; comments welcome.

(2012) Assessing child and adult grammar. In Berwick &  Piattelli-Palmarini (Eds.) Rich Languages from Poor Inputs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (With Julie Anne Legate)  Longer version can be downloaded here.

(2012) Productivity and paradigmatic gaps. Slides from NELS2012 at CUNY. Joint work with Kyle Gorman, Jennifer Preys, and Margaret Browczyk.

(2012) Input and Universal Grammar. Slides from an invited talk at the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) at CMU.  A tutorial  that emphasizes how input effects in language learning are  compatible with, and in fact favor, Universal Grammar based approaches to language acquisition. Materials are drawn from my various previous writings.

(2012) Verb islands in adult and child language. BUCLD Proceedings from the 2011 meeting. (With Alix Kowalski). Prefinal version.

(2011) Usage unevenness in child language supports grammar productivity. BU Conference on Language Development.

(2011) A statistical test for grammar. ACL CMCL Portland (condensed version of the 2009 ms). Slides from the talk

(2011) Computational models of syntactic acquisition.. (In press) WIRE Interdiscriplinary Review: Cognitive Science.

(2009) Three factors in language variation. Lingua special issue on language variation.

(2009) Review of Finite State Morphology. (With Erwin Chan). Word Structure. 1:2, 245-254.

(2008) The great number crunch. Journal of Linguistics. 44, 205-228.

(2007) Morphosyntactic learning and the development of tense. (With J.A.Legate). A new approach to Root Infinitives.  Language Acquisition 315-344.

(2006) Word segmentation: Quick but not dirty (with T. Gambell). Manuscript, Yale University.
          More complete writeup of the 2004 TICS paper part I: nobody seems to care about part II.

(2005) The origin of linguistic irregularity. In Wang and Minett (Eds.) Language acquisition, change, and evolution. Talk from 2001.

(2005) On productivity. Yearbook of Language Variation, 5, 333-370.

(2005) The richness of the poverty of the stimulus. (With J.A.Legate). On the occasion of Happy Golden Anniversary, Generative Syntax: 50 years since Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory.

(2004) Universal Grammar, statistics, or both. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 451-456.

(2002) Empirical reassessment of the poverty stimulus argument. (With J.A.Legate). Linguistic Review, 19, 151-162.

(2001) Internal and external forces in language change. Language Variation and Change. 12, 231-250.

(2000) Dig-dug, think-thunk. Review of Steven Pinker's Words and Rules: The ingredients of language. London Review of Books.

(1999) Estimation of software reliability by stratified sampling.. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology. 8, 263-283.

(1999) Unordered merge and its linearization. Syntax. 2, 38-64.

(1993) Partition test, stratified sampling, and cluster analysis. ACM SIGSOFT Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSOFT symposium on Foundations of software engineering.

I did my graduate work with Bob Berwick and Noam Chomsky  in the MIT AI Lab, an incredibly fun place. I then took up a faculty position in linguistics and psychology at Yale. I moved to Penn in 2006 to join a uniquely interdisciplinary community for language and cognitive science (RIP) research.


Recent  Ancient scholarly activities (invited talks)

Dec. Workshop in the memory of Carol Chomsky. MIT.
Oct. Center for Language & Speech Processing (CLSP), Johns Hopkins.
Sept. Input & syntactic acquisition workshop. UC Irvine.
Aug. Plenary lecture. XIXth International Conference on Historical Linguistics. Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
May. Workshop on recursion in language and cognition. UMass Amherst.
May. 20 hour lectures in language acquisition. Graduate school of linguistics. The Basque Country.
Jan. The Schultink lecture. Holland Graduate School of Linguistics. Groningen. The Netherlands.
Jan. 5 lectures on the mechanisms of language acquisition. LOT Winter School. Groningen. The Netherlands.

Dec. CUNY Graduate Center.
Oct. Ikerbasque lecture. The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, the Basque Country.
July. Workshop on linguistic interface. International congress of linguistics. Seoul.
June. Workshop on artificial language learning and computational models. Utrecht, the Netherlands.
June. Workshop on frequency effects in language acquisition. Wuppertal, Germany.
May. Workshop on productivity and grammar. Tufts.
April. Workshop on morphosyntactic variation. UMass Amherst
April Bard College.
Feb. Princeton.
Feb. NYU.
Jan. Chicago.

Dec. Origin of man and language Workshop. European Science Foundation. Rome.
Nov. Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Nov. Empirical methods in language acquisition research (EMLAR)
Nov. Il Dono Infinito. Festival della Scienza. Genoa.
Oct.  Workshop on statistics and syntax. MIT.
Oct. UMass, Amherst.
Aug. Workshop on models of language acquisition. Cog Sci Society Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.
June. IRCS undergraduate workshop. Penn.
June. Workshop on language variation. Venice.
May. Workshop on syntactic variation. York.
April. Cornell.
Feb. Panel on models of language change. Penn Linguistics Colloquium.

Erdos number: <=4