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When Aug 20, 2018 - Aug 25, 2018
Where Santa Fe, New Mexico
Submission Deadline May 25, 2018
Notification Due Jun 20, 2018
Final Version Due Jun 30, 2018
Categories    computational linguistics   general linguistics

Call For Papers

The workshop “Linguistic Complexity and Natural Language Processing“” will be held at COLING 2018 in Santa Fe, New-Mexico, USA.

The workshop focuses on linguistic complexity and its relevance in the field of natural language processing. We propose a cross-discipline workshop that foster exchange of ideas between people in the area of artificial intelligence and natural language processing and people dealing with natural language complexity from a cognitive or a theoretical point of view. The main objective of this workshop is to bring together researchers from different areas that have in common their interest on linguistic complexity (from a practical or theoretical perspective) boosting the interchange of knowledge and methods between specialists that have approached complexity from different viewpoints. We want to promote interdisciplinarity among researchers that are dealing with any type of language complexity.

Complexity has become an important concept in several scientific disciplines. There has been a lot of research on complexity and complex systems in the natural sciences, economics, social sciences and, now, also increasingly in linguistics. Moreover, linguistic complexity may be a key point in automatic natural language processing, since results in that field may condition the design of language technologies.

Are all languages equally complex? Does it make sense to compare the complexity of languages? Can languages differ in complexity? Complexity is a controversial concept in linguistics. Until recently, natural language complexity has not been widely researched and still not clear how complexity has to be defined and measured. Twentieth century most theoretical linguists have defended the equi-complexity dogma, which states that the total complexity of a natural language is fixed because sub-complexities in linguistic sub-systems trade off. This idea of equi-complexity, seen for decades as an unquestioned truism of linguistics, has begun to be explicitly questioned in recent years. There have been attempts to apply the concept of complexity used in other disciplines in order to find useful tools to calculate linguistic complexity. Information theory, computational models or the theory of complex systems are examples of areas that provide measures to quantitatively evaluate linguistic complexity.

Many models have been proposed to confirm or refute the hypothesis of linguistic equi-complexity. The tools, criteria and measures to quantify the level of complexity of languages vary and depend on the specific research interests and on the definition of complexity adopted. In fact, there is no agreement in the literature about how to define complexity. Instead, in the literature, we can find a variety of approaches that has led to linguistic complexity taxonomy: absolute complexity vs. relative complexity; global complexity vs. local complexity; system complexity vs. structural complexity, etc. Currently, there is no clear solution to quantify the complexity of languages and each of the proposed models has advantages and disadvantages.

In this workshop, we are interested in contributions introducing new methods, models, definitions and measures to assess natural languages complexity (in human and automatic processing). We are especially interested in computational and formal approaches to linguistic complexity.


Topics include (but are not limited to):

• Complexity in human natural language processing
• Complexity in automatic natural language processing
• Formal tools for measuring linguistic complexity
• Natural language processing tools for measuring linguistic complexity
• Machine learning tools for measuring linguistic complexity
• Information theory measures of linguistic complexity
• Complex systems theory measures for linguistic complexity
• Typological approaches to linguistic complexity
• Psycholinguistic approaches to linguistic complexity
• Cognitive approaches to linguistic complexity


Authors are invited to submit unpublished work including original research contributions, applications, surveys, state-of-the-art papers, position papers and work in progress papers.

Submission types:

• Long papers: up to 8 pages of content, plus two additional pages containing references.
• Short papers/Demos: up to 4 pages of content, plus two additional pages containing references.
• Position papers: up to 4 pages of content, plus two additional pages containing references.

Submitted papers must be formatted according to COLING 2018 style guidelines which can be found at

All proposed papers must be submitted electronically, in PDF format, through

Accepted papers will be published in the workshop proceedings and available in the ACL Anthology.


All submitted papers will undergo a thorough review process; each paper will be refered by at least two experts in the field based on relevance, originality, significance, quality and clarity.


• Paper submission deadline: May 25, 2018.
• Notification of acceptance: June 20, 2018.
• Camera-ready papers due: June 30, 2018.
• Workshop dates: August 20-21, 2018.


• Dr. Leonor Becerra-Bonache, University of Saint-Etienne, France
• Dr. M. Dolores Jiménez-López, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
• Dr. Carlos Martín-Vide, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain


• Leonor Becerra-Bonache, University of Saint-Etienne, France
• Suna Bensch, Umea University, Sweden
• Philippe Blache, CNRS, France
• Henning Christiansen, Roskilde University, Denmark
• Carmen Conti Jiménez, Universidad de Jaén, Spain
• Remy Eyraud, Aix-Marseille Université, France
• Benoit Favre, Aix-Marseille Université, France
• Ramon Ferrer i Cancho, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain
• Amaury Habrard, University of Saint-Etienne, France
• Jeffrey Heinz, University of Delaware, USA.
• María del Carmen Horno Chéliz, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
• Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
• François Jacquenet, University of Saint-Etienne, France
• M. Dolores Jiménez-López, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
• Roussanka Loukanova, Stockholm University, Sweden
• Carlos Martín Vide, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
• Larry Moss, Indiana University, USA
• Alexis Nasr, Aix-Marseille Université, France
• Laurent Prevot, Aix-Marseille Université, France
• Adrià Torrens-Urrutia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
• Michael Zock, Aix-Marseille Université, France


Please, if you want to contact us, send us an email to the following address:

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