eitkonen at utu.fi
Thu Mar 31 10:06:30 UTC 2011
Dear Dan: It is NOT "quite different" from what I expect, as you will see if you care actually to have a look at what I wrote.
----- Original Message -----
From: Daniel Everett <dan at daneverett.org>
Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011 1:02 pm
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] simplicity
To: Esa Itkonen <eitkonen at utu.fi>, Funknet <funknet at mailman.rice.edu>
> Dear Esa,
> In fact, there is at least one very active group that works with
> evaluating claims of simplicity and complexity, Josh Tenenbaum's lab
> at MIT's BCS Department. Their approach is quite different than you
> might expect, though, testing the relative complexity of the grammars
> needed to describe a language. Ted Gibson and Amy Perfors have worked
> with Josh and others to produce some interesting studies in this
> vein. One paper that has emerged from this research is here: http://tedlab.mit.edu/tedlab_website/researchpapers/Perfors%20et%20al%20InPress%20LingReview.pdf
> -- Dan
> On 31 Mar 2011, at 05:48, Esa Itkonen wrote:
> > Simplicity and complexity are conceptually interdependent: if, and
> only if, you can define one, you can define the other. Between 1957
> and c. 1997 it was confidently predicted that a valid definition of
> simplicity (conceptualized as a "simplicity measure") was just around
> the corner. But, as we all know, nothing came of it. Nowadays much the
> same is being claimed about complexity. This seems illogical, however,
> for reasons just indicated. (Never mind that simplicity and complexity
> are mainly thought to apply to grammars and languages, respectively.
> It would surely be odd if the simplicity/complexity of grammars in no
> way reflected the simplicity/complexity of languages.) Why is all this
> so difficult? Some hints at an answer may or may not be gathered from
> my 2011 piece on 'Simplicity vs. complexity' (= click first 'Homepage'
> and then 'Selected writings available as full texts'). Some historical
> and conceptual background is provided by 'Philosophy of linguistics'
> (= 2011, to a
> > ppear in the 'Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics'). You
> are also free to have a (second?) look at what I wrote about this
> topic back in 2009.
> > Esa
> > Homepage: http://users.utu.fi/eitkonen
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