[Lingtyp] CFP Workshop on measuring language complexity

chris at christianbentz.de chris at christianbentz.de
Tue Jan 23 07:46:42 UTC 2018

Dear colleagues,

find below our CFP for the workshop on "measuring language complexity" 
at Evolang 2018. It would be great to have a typological perspectives on 
the problem as well!

Best regards,
Chris Bentz

Measuring Language Complexity
Date and location: April 15, 2018, Torun, Poland (satellite event of 
Evolang XII)
Call deadline: 01-Feb-2018
Website: http://www.christianbentz.de/MLC_index.html
Contact: aleksandrs.berdicevskis at lingfil.uu.se

Call for papers:
An influential line of thinking within evolutionary linguistics is that 
languages change in response to socioecological pressures, i.e. adapt to 
their environmental niches. Language complexity is a common parameter to 
test for such adaptation. It is, however, notoriously difficult to 
define and measure. Virtually every study of complexity uses its own 
operationalization and measure. On one hand, this diversity is 
beneficial for the field, since an intricate phenomenon is being studied 
from different angles. On the other hand, the comparison of different 
studies is inhibited. This is particularly problematic if different 
measures yield different conclusions, since there currently is little 
consensus about how measures themselves can be evaluated and compared.

To overcome this, we organize a shared task (shared tasks are widely 
used in computational linguistics) on linguistic complexity, namely: 
Measure and compare the complexities of a set of 37 language varieties 
of 7 families (http://www.christianbentz.de/MLC_CFP.html). The 
participants are free to choose whether they want to measure just one 
facet of complexity or try to develop an overall complexity measure. The 
complexity measure can be based on any conceivable metric. The 
submissions, however, have to clearly state: 1) what exactly is being 
measured; 2) how the measure is calculated, and the theoretical 
rationale behind the method; 3) the resulting value for each language.

To facilitate the comparability of different measures, we request that 
the participants who apply corpus-based measures use the corpora 
available via the Universal Dependencies project, v2.1 
(http://www.christianbentz.de/MLC_data.html). Participants are free to 
decide which level of annotation they want to use. Plain-text files are 
also available for those who do not need any annotation. Participants 
who do not need corpora are exempt from this requirement. We also 
require that the participants submit all relevant calculations and 
scripts as supplementary materials (after acceptance).

The presentation format will depend on the number and quality of 
submissions. We will allot a slot for a detailed discussion of the 
proposed measures, their strengths, drawbacks and comparability, their 
relation to each other, and the possibilities to flesh out uniform 
approaches to measure language complexity and its evolution. We aim to 
publish electronic proceedings and consider writing a joint paper based 
on the conclusions of the workshop.

For further details, see http://www.christianbentz.de/MLC_CFP.html

Best regards,
Aleksandrs Berdicevskis
Christian Bentz

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