Please join us Friday, September 17th at 3:30pm for the first talk of the 2021-2022 McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series. If you are planning to attend talks, we ask that you register in advance here (you only need to register once for the 2021-2022 year). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Speaker: Siva Reddy (McGill University)
Title: Universal Linguistic Representations
In this talk, I will present varying degrees of universal linguistic representations that can help us analyze and understand a language. These representations can serve two purposes: 1) one to answer scientific questions about a language, and 2) to build better language understanding applications like question answering systems. The varying degrees correspond to linguistic knowledge that is used to build the representations: from almost no linguistic knowledge (based on pure corpus co-occurrences) to syntax and semantics. We will try to develop representations that are widely applicable to many languages. In this process, I will also be proposing a new syntax-semantics interface to validate if universal syntax is descriptive enough to obtain universal semantics, specifically if universal dependency syntax can serve as a foundation to obtain semantic representations. If time permits, I will also connect these ideas to connectionist approaches which fundamentally challenge the entire linguistic tradition, a question that is inevitable given the enormous progress made by neural models of language. The talk also involves several demos.