A Grand Challenge for Linguistics: Scaling Up and Integrating Models

In response to NSF's call for White Papers in the SBE 2020 Initiative, Jeff Good and I have submitted a paper outlining our take on Cyberinfrastructure for Linguistics, why its necessary, and how it can come about. The abstract:

The preeminent grand challenge facing the field of linguistics is the integration of theories and analyses from different levels of linguistic structure and aspects of language use to develop comprehensive models of language. Addressing this challenge will require massive scaling-up in the size of data sets used to develop and test hypotheses in our field as well as new computational methods, i.e., the deployment of cyberinfrastructure on a grand scale, including new standards, tools and computational models, as well as requisite culture change. Dealing with this challenge will allow us to break the barrier of only looking at pieces of languages to actually being able to build comprehensive models of all languages. This will enable us to answer questions that current paradigms cannot adequately address, not only transforming Linguistics but also impacting all fields that have a stake in linguistic analysis.

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