UIST 2011 - Wednesday Keynote
24th UIST @ Santa Barbara, CA










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Generous support also provided by our corporate sponsors.

Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Sex, Food, and Words: The Hidden Meanings Behind Everyday Language

Language is a subtle and powerful tool for communication. But the words we use also provide a rich mine of infor- mation for the social scientist. The history of words like "ketchup", "ceviche", or "dessert" tells us about the rela- tionships between the superpowers who dominated the globe 500 or 1000 years ago. The words on the back of potato chip packages can demonstrate popular attitudes toward so- cial class. And the names we give ice cream flavors may be an evolutionary reflex of the attempt by early mammals to appear larger than their competitors. The language of dating is just as informative as the language of food. In experiments with speed dating, work in our lab shows that we can detect flirtation or other stances in men and women on dates, just by looking at linguistic features like their pitch, their use of negative words like "can't" or "don't", or how often they use hedges like "sort of" or "kind of". The language of these two popular topics of conversation, food and dating, can teach us a lot about history, culture, and psychology.
Speaker Bio

Dan Jurafsky
Stanford University

Dan Jurafsky is professor in the Department of Linguistics, and by courtesy in the Department of Computer Science, at Stanford University. Dan received a B.A in Linguistics in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1992, both from the University of California at Berkeley, and taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder from 1996-2003 before coming to Stanford. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and is the co-author with Jim Martin of the widely-used textbook "Speech and Language Processing". His research focuses on computational linguistics, particularly the extraction of linguistic and social meaning, and its application to the behavioral and social sciences. Other research interests include the linguistics of Chinese and the linguistics of food.