Posts

February 17, 2015

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6:04 PM | ICPhS phonetic capabilities satellite meeting – deadline extension
Re. The ICPhS phonetic capabilities satellite meeting, which has been previously advertised on this blog. We have received a number of requests for late submissions, which we have granted, and as a result, feel it fair to have the same extension for everyone. Thus, if you would like to either submit something, or would like to […]

February 12, 2015

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9:52 PM | How spurious correlations arise from inheritance and borrowing (with pictures)
James and I have written about Galton’s problem in large datasets.  Because two modern languages can have a common ancestor, the traits that they exhibit aren’t independent observations.  This can lead to spurious correlations: patterns in the data that are statistical artefacts rather than indications of causal links between traits. However, I’ve often felt like […]

February 04, 2015

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3:58 PM | Persister: A sci-fi novel about cultural evolution and academic funding
Someone has written a sci-fi space opera about a serial killer that targets researchers of cultural evolution which is also a satire on the state of academic funding systems. That’s quite an action-packed sentence. Persister: Space Funding Crisis I by Casey Hattrey is a short novel set in the 45th century about a cultural evolution […]

February 02, 2015

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1:55 PM | Some Quick Thoughts on Cultural Evolution
Here are some thoughts I’ve been having on cultural evolution. All of them need fuller exposition, but I don’t have time for that now. 1. Cultural Evolution, so What? I’ve got a fairly sophisticated narrative account of some varieties of popular music in 20th century America. The account centers on the interaction between African- and […]
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12:52 PM | How Language Evolves Webcast
CARTA (Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny) are webcasting their free symposium on “How Language Evolves” on Friday, February 20th (1:00 – 5:30 pm PST), co-chaired by Roger Levy (UC San Diego) and David Perlmutter (UC San Diego).   The symposium addresses the question of how human language came to have the kind of structure it […]
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8:39 AM | Empty Constructions and the Meaning of “Meaning”
Textbooks are boring. In most cases, they consist of a rather tiring collection of more or less undisputed facts, and they omit the really interesting stuff such as controversial discussions or problematic cases that pose a serious challenge to a specific scientific theory. However, Martin Hilpert’s “Construction Grammar and its Application to English” is an […]
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