SSP Forum: Judith Degen on Overinformativeness » Show

April 23, 2018

Start Date

& End Date

12:30 p.m.

Start Time

to

1:20 p.m.

End Time

at 460-126 (Greenberg Seminar Room)

Location

The
Symbolic Systems Forum

presents

Overinformativeness? Rationally Redundant Reference

featuring
Judith Degen
Linguistics Department

Monday, Apr. 23, 2017
12:30-1:20 pm
Building 460, Room 126 (Margaret Jacks Hall)

ABSTRACT:
Referring is one of the most basic and prevalent uses of language. How do speakers choose from the wealth of referring expressions at their disposal?Rational theories of language use have come under attack for decades for not being able to account for the seemingly irrational overinformativeness ubiquitous in referring expressions. I present a novel production model of referring expressions within the Rational Speech Act framework that treats speakers as agents that soft-optimally trade off cost and informativeness of utterances. Crucially, the assumption of deterministic meanings is relaxed. This allows for capturing a large number of seemingly disparate phenomena within one unified framework: the basic asymmetry in speakers’ propensity to overmodify with color rather than size; the increase in overmodification in complex scenes; the increase in overmodification with atypical features; and the preference for basic level reference in nominal reference. The findings cast a new light on the production of referring expressions: rather than being wastefully overinformative, reference is rationally redundant. This implicates a production system geared towards communicative efficiency.

Description

For Internet Explorer users: Click on the Tools menu, located at the top of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Full Screen.

For Chrome users:Click on the Chrome "wrench" icon, located in the upper right hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the choice labeled Full Screen.

For Firefox user:Click on the View menu, located at the top of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Full Screen.

For Safari users: Safari currently does not support the ability to go fullscreen.