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Friday, October 24, 2014 - 12:00pm

IRCS Conference Room

IRCS is partnering with SILC, the Spatial Intelligence Learning Center at Temple University, to host lectures during the academic year. Visitors for this lecture series will present their research in Spatial Cognition. 

Terry Regier
Department of Cognitive Science
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Berkeley

Word meanings across languages support efficient communication

A central question in cognitive science is why languages have the semantic categories they do, and what these categories reveal about cognition and communication. Word meanings vary widely across languages, but this variation is constrained. I will argue that this pattern reflects a variety of language-specific paths to a universal functional goal, namely efficient communication. I will present a general computational framework that instantiates this idea, and will use that framework to show how this idea accounts for cross-language variation in four semantic domains: color, spatial relations, kinship, and number.