The local organising committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) created this page for attendees at the annual conference which we hosted online in September 2021 (postponed from 2020). The conference website is here:
We’re very much looking forward to our next English Language and Linguistics seminar at 12noon on Wednesday 27th of April 2022. The speaker is Dr. Tim Wharton, from the University of Brighton, and he will be talking about Pragmatics and Emotion
We will also be streaming the talk for people who would like to attend that way. For the link to join, please email Billy Clark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael works on language evolution, cognitive science and social cognition. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the ESRC funded project ‘Constraints on the Adaptiveness of Information in Language (CAIL)’ at Newcastle. You can find out more about Rachael’s work at: https://rbailes.wordpress.com
The title of Rachael’s talk is:
‘Information uniformity in linguistic planning: form and function for noise resistance’
In this talk I’ll summarise two recent studies conducted with colleagues on the project `Constraints on the Adaptiveness of Information in Language (CAIL)’, which involves using information theory to analyse language and its cognitive scaffolding.
Following Fenk and Fenk (1980, see also; Fenk-Oczlon, 2001), we suggest that information uniformity in linguistic planning represents an adaptation to noise resistance. We further suggest that language exhibits particular strategies for noise resistance that may be unique. Specifically, linguistic elements may be ordered across the whole utterance so as to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic communication failure in the presence of noise.
First, we demonstrate that more uniform ordering of elements confers functional noise resistance with a simulation study that compares the preservation of information in different distributions under conditions of noise. Second, we use historical corpus data on English and Icelandic to show that information uniformity is specifically and actively preserved by linguistic planning across time, unperturbed by structural language change. Taken together, this evidence suggests form and function for noise resistance in language, and the talk ends with some brief discussion about the future directions of this work.
Fenk, A., & Fenk, G. (1980). Konstanz im kurzzeitgedächtnis-konstanz imsprachlichen informationsfluß. Zeitschrift für experimentelle und ange-wandte Psychologie,27, 402.
Fenk-Oczlon, G. (2001). Familiarity, information flow, and linguistic form. Typological Studies in Language,45, 431–448.