Emergence in Morphology

Dozent(en)Péter Rácz
AnsprechpartnerMichael Schäfer
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OrtBelfortstraße 14, EG



January 28: Papers by Péter Rácz

10:15-11:45  Morphological convergence as on-line lexical analogy

(with Clay Beckner, Jennifer Hay, Janet B. Pierrehumbert)


12:00-12:45 Participants converge to humans but not to humanoid robots in an English past tense formation task

(with Clay Beckner, Jürgen Brandstetter, Jennifer Hay, & Christoph Bartneck)

In this paper, we discuss the results of an experiment designed to test the boundaries of linguistic imitation in a group setting. While most prior work has focused on convergence in either sound structure or syntax, we investigate whether speaker’s choices in verb morphology are influenced by others . The experiment is based on the peer pressure study of Asch (1951). Participants give responses to target stimuli in a verbal and a visual task in a group of human peers, a group of robots, or alone. These results demonstrate that morphological conformity occurs, but that it is socially constrained — it happens with human peers but not with robot peers. This supports a view of linguistic convergence as a deeply social process (Giles, Coupland, & Coupland, 1991). The level of linguistic conformity displayed by individuals is related to their degree of conformity in non-linguistic tasks, suggesting that there are individual propensities toward peer imitation that transcend modalities.

January 29: Workshop with PhD-students