The 25th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing will be held at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, hosted by CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in Linguistics.  Dates for the conference are March 14-16, 2012.  (Note that the conference schedule for 2012 runs Wednesday through Friday, differing from arrangements in past years.)

Abstracts are solicited for papers and posters presenting theoretical, experimental, and/or computational research on any aspect of human sentence processing.  Abstracts will be reviewed anonymously, and will be considered both for the general conference sessions and for a special session under the theme “Grammars and Parsers”.

Accepted presentations will form a program made up of three days of spoken papers presented in plenary session plus three poster sessions, one on each of the three days of the conference.  Time constraints entail that fewer than 15% of accepted presentations can be given as talks at the podium.  Therefore, reviewers will be asked to identify submissions that seem most likely to generate broad interest, on grounds of originality of ideas or significance to the field.

Submission Deadline: Friday, December 2 Monday, December 5, 2011

This deadline applies to all submissions, paper or poster.  Notifications concerning acceptance or rejection will be made in mid-to-late January 2012.

Abstract Guidelines

The text of a submitted abstract may be no longer than 500 words.  You may also include examples, references and data summaries (but please, no data charts or diagrams).  This additional material, taken together, must not exceed 15 lines of text.  Exceptions to these length restrictions can be made only where extra lines are demanded by interlinear glossing.

Abstracts will be submitted electronically.  The submissions system is presently under construction.

Information on the Special Session

In celebration of the quarter-century anniversary of the Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, the special session entitled “Grammars and Parsers” highlights puzzles at the heart of the discipline that demand fresh attention, given the broad advances that have been made on many fronts since the founding of the conference.  In particular, an ‘old’ question remains central: How does linguistic performance (language processing) relate to linguistic competence (language knowledge)?  Is it possible to embed a grammar, as devised by linguists, as a working component of a processing mechanism for language comprehension or production?  What procedural difficulties are involved in doing so?  Are there empirical data which tell against this idea?  Or perhaps, might it be an outright mistake to suppose that ‘linguistic’ grammars articulate at all closely with processing?

Such questions around grammar/processor interplay are raised for a full range of linguistic phenomena, encompassing not only syntax but also semantics and sentence-level phonology (and interfaces among these domains).  They also run both ways, so that we might, for example, ask whether biological and/or computational constraints on real-time mapping shape the formal properties of the syntax/semantics interface.

In short, the special session aims to assess and extend our understanding of how language processing and language knowledge interrelate.  It is intended to create a forum in which the community evaluates anew the foundational assumptions underlying all research on sentence processing.


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