by Claudia Marzi
A workshop, held 24-26 November 2011 at the CNR Research Campus in Pisa, was organised within the framework of “NetWordS”, the European Science Foundation Research Networking Programme on the Structure of Words in the languages of Europe.
The ambitious goal of the workshop was to lay the foundations for an interdisciplinary European research agenda on the Mental Lexicon for the coming 10 years, with particular emphasis on three main challenges:
- Lexicon and Rules in the grammar
- Word knowledge and word use
- Words and meanings
Leading scholars were invited to address three basic questions:
- In the speaker’s area of expertise, what are the most pressing open issues concerning the architecture of the Mental Lexicon?
- What and how can progress in other research areas contribute to addressing these issues?
- How can advances in our understanding of these issues contribute to progress in other areas?
The Workshop brought together 37 participants (Scholars, Post-Docs, PhD students) from a number of European countries. Eighteen speakers, from diverse scientific domains, presented cross-disciplinary approaches to the understanding of the architecture of Mental Lexicon, reflecting the interdisciplinarity and synergy fostered by NetWordS. Contributions were devoted to understanding the ontogenesis of word competence, creative usage of words in daily conversation, the architecture of the mental lexicon and its brain substrates. In all these research areas NetWordS intends to encourage multidisciplinarily informed integration and synthesis of existing approaches.
More than 40 research institutions from 16 European countries participate in NetWordS. Scientists involved in NetWordS are playing a leading role in the following areas:
- Theoretical issues in morphology and its interfaces
- Typological, variationist and historical aspects of word structure
- Cognitive issues in lexical architecture
- Short-term and long-term memory issues
- Neuro-physiological correlates of lexical organization and processing
- Psycho-linguistic evidence on lexical organization and processing
- Machine-learning approaches to morphology induction
- Psycho-computational models of the mental lexicon
- Distributional Semantics
NetWordS promotes development of interdisciplinary transnational scientific partnerships through short-visit grants, that are assigned yearly on the basis of open calls for short-term project proposals. Scholars taking part in interdisciplinary activities funded through NetWordS grants convene periodically to discuss and disseminate results. Short-visit grants are also geared towards planning focused collaborative work, with a view to catalysing credible large-scale proposals within more application-oriented European projects and initiatives.
NetWordS organises yearly Workshops on interdisciplinary issues in word structure, usually between late November and early December. A major conference is planned to take place in 2015.
NetWordS is pleased to announce the first Summer School on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Exploring the Mental Lexicon - 2nd-6th July 2012 – Dubrovnik (Croatia). The school offers a broad and intensive range of interdisciplinary courses on methodological and topical issues related to the architecture of the mental lexicon, its level of organisation, content and functioning, and a series of key-note lectures on recent advances in this area. The school targets doctoral students and junior researchers from fields as diverse as Cognition, Computer Science, Brain Sciences and Linguistics, with a strong motivation to advance their awareness of theoretical, typological, psycholinguistic, computational and neuro-physiological aspects of word structure and processing.
Claudia Marzi – ILC-CNR