about me

I’m a linguist interested in understanding how language is shaped by social and cognitive pressures. I model their influence using math and computers. If you’ll accept a fancy term for this, I’m a computational psycholinguist.

My core stance on humans is that we are boundedly rational beings, meaning that we aim to behave rationality in a world that is incredibly complex. Thus, we can use rational (usually Bayesian) mathematical models of human behavior as our basic infrastructure for human thought and then examine how we deviate from that and why.

My research uses these mathematical models to formalize human linguistic behaviors to try to quantify the effects of different cognitive, social, and communicative pressures on our language. For instance, I developed a Bayesian model of linguistic alignment, the tendency to re-use our conversation partners’ words in talk to them.

My teaching connects core linguistic ideas to the social, cognitive, and computational pressures that shape language. Plus a little phonology and statistics for good measure.

I also occasionally write on these topics, including long ago, when I ran a mildly popular descriptivist grammar blog. I got interviewed by the CBC once about this kind of stuff.

Gabe Doyle
Here’s me.