How does the mind compute language?
Professor Charles Yang is a linguist who studies language acquisition, variation, and change, natural language processing (NLP).
Some of the fundamental questions that Professor Yang is interested in include:
- How do children learn languages?
- Why do languages change?
- Does language make us smart?
- Can we make computers better at processing language?
Professor Yang believes that human language has a mechanical element that can be studied precisely with mathematical and computational tools. This research is necessarily interdisciplinary, so Prof. Yang collaborates widely with linguists, computer scientists, and psychologists, including ILST faculty Lila Gleitman, Julie Anne Legate, Mitch Marcus, Don Ringe, Kathryn Schuler, John Trueswell, and Lyle Ungar.
He is the author of three books and has won the Linguistic Society of American Leonard Bloomfield Award and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
- Yang, C., Crain, S., Berwick, R. C., Chomsky, N., & Bolhuis, J. J. (2017). The growth of language: Universal Grammar, experience, and principles of computation. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
- Yang, C. (2016). The price of linguistic productivity: How children learn to break the rules of language. MIT Press.
Stevens, J. S., Gleitman, L. R., Trueswell, J. C., & Yang, C. (2017). The pursuit of word meanings. Cognitive science, 41, 638-676.
Yang, C. (2013). Ontogeny and phylogeny of language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201216803.
- Yang, C. D. (2002). Knowledge and learning in natural language. Oxford University Press.
Bob Berwick, Johan Bolhuis, Spencer Caplan, Noam Chomsky, Marie Coppola, Stephen Crain, Aletheia Cui, John Frampton, Josef Fruehwald, Tim Gambell, Lila Gleitman, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Kyle Gorman, Sam Gutmann, Marc Hauser, Morris Halle, Ava Irani, Jordan Kodner, Bill Labov, Julie Anne Legate, Constantine Lignos, Mitch Marcus, Silvina Montrul, Elissa Newport, David Pesetsky, Andy Podgurski, Russell Richie, Caitlin Richter, Don Ringe, Tom Roeper, William Sakas,Gillian Sankoff, Kathryn Schuler, Betsy Sneller, Jon Stevens, John Trueswell, and Virginia Valian.