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You might have noticed that I’m on a bit of hiatus this month. I’m working on my dissertation and preparing applications for post-grad-school jobs, but luckily something I’d done a little while ago has come through the pipeline for me to share.

Back in June, I presented a portion of my dissertation research at the NAACL-HLT conference, but all I had at the time was a computationally-dense paper to show you.  Well, the conference has uploaded videos of all the presentations, so if you’re interested in what I actually do academically, you can find out.  In short, this portion of my research is about the improvements in word segmentation that happen when you combine multiple types of information instead of using a single type.  It’s a computational model of how infants could use additional information to learn words better, as well as learning the likely stress patterns for words in the language they’re learning.

The video [20 min, plus questions that are unfortunately hard to hear]

I tried to make the talk approachable to the non-specialist, so take a gander if you want to see some of my dissertation research (which, of course, is pretty far afield from the discussions on this blog).  There will be math, too, in case you are a specialist, and if you want the whole story, you can see the paper that accompanies the talk.

In other news, I’ll be giving a talk on some of my new research showing how Twitter can be used to map the range of dialectal syntactic variants (e.g., double modals like might could and the needs done construction) at the LSA annual meeting in Minneapolis on January 3.  Check out the abstract here, and maybe I’ll see you there!

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You may have noticed that I’ve been being quite bad about updating the blog the last couple months. I’m sorry for my negligence, and I’m hoping summer will leave me with a bit more time to keep up the blog. But the reason I’ve been remiss is that it’s time to really batten down the dissertation hatches, and boy, that doesn’t leave the time or energy for much else.

Tomorrow morning, the battening of said hatches pays off a little bit, because I’ll be presenting a portion of my dissertation research at the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL)’s conference. I don’t imagine too many of you are attending the conference, but if you are, I’ll be presenting in Session C tomorrow (i.e., Monday) morning at 11:55, so swing on by.

If you’re not down here in balmy Atlanta, you can always read the paper in the comfort of wherever you are. It looks at how an infant learning a language can combine syllable identities and stress patterns to segment words within the language they’re learning. I’ll warn you, it’s a lot less accessible than the stuff I write here, but it’s the actual computational psycholinguistic research that I earn my keep with, so I hope you’ll give it a look if you’re interested in such things.

Hey all, this is super last-minute, but I figured why not ask. Some of my friends and I were joking about playing in a fantasy football league this year, so I set one up, but everyone’s since backed out. So I figured I’d see if anyone was interested in being part of a Motivated Grammar fantasy football league in order to build camaraderie. The first week of games starts tonight, so we’ll skip the first week and hold the draft on Saturday (the 8th) at 5pm Pacific Time. If you can’t make the draft, you can just auto-draft and probably end up with a better team than the people who’re actually there.

If you want to join, go to http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/register/joinprivateleague_league_select
The league ID is: 815468
The league password is: yayfootball

If we don’t have at least 8 people by this weekend, I’ll probably call it off. And, of course, I won’t be offended in the least if no one joins; this is pretty far outside our wheelhouse.

It’s the day after Labor Day, the traditional first day of school in my hometown. With the end of summer vacation comes a sound in the distance, the slow, steady approach of writing assignments. And so, as a fellow whose classes are still nearly a month away (ah, the quarter system!), I thought I’d toss together some basic grammar review for the new school year.

This series is going to be somewhat different from the rest of my posts; the matters under discussion are mostly settled, and I’ll be more prescriptivist than usual because they’re guidelines for writing that’s graded as much on adherence to Edited English as it is graded on content. I’m still going to let you know when a rule’s bunkum, but I might say it’s well-regarded bunkum that you’d be wise to adhere to.

Lastly, I’m trying to make this series accessible and simple, but I’m sure I’ll be coming up short of those goals in these first iterations. I’d love any advice or criticism of it that you’re willing to give, because I’d like to revise and improve these posts in the future. So thanks in advance for your comments.

The Back-to-School Reviews so far:
I: Confusing contractions (your, you’re and the lot) [09/04/12]

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About The Blog

A lot of people make claims about what "good English" is. Much of what they say is flim-flam, and this blog aims to set the record straight. Its goal is to explain the motivations behind the real grammar of English and to debunk ill-founded claims about what is grammatical and what isn't. Somehow, this was enough to garner a favorable mention in the Wall Street Journal.

About Me

I'm Gabe Doyle, currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Language and Cognition Lab at Stanford University. Before that, I got a doctorate in linguistics from UC San Diego and a bachelor's in math from Princeton.

In my research, I look at how humans manage one of their greatest learning achievements: the acquisition of language. I build computational models of how people can learn language with cognitively-general processes and as few presuppositions as possible. Currently, I'm working on models for acquiring phonology and other constraint-based aspects of cognition.

I also examine how we can use large electronic resources, such as Twitter, to learn about how we speak to each other. Some of my recent work uses Twitter to map dialect regions in the United States.



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