Research

My research interests are primarily in language acquisition, particularly morphological and phonological acquisition. I use computational and mathematical approaches to develop algorithmic models of how children learn their native language. I also investigate applications of these models to Natural Language Processing, particularly to increase robustness of models in low-resource settings. Other research interests include the interfaces of morphology with phonology and syntax, bias in NLP models, learnability, and mathematical linguistics.

For a complete and up-to-date list of my publications, please see my Google Scholar and Semantic Scholar.

Publications

Articles and Book Chapters

Wolfgang U. Dressler and Sarah Payne (to appear). Self-Organization in Acquisition. Cambridge Handbook of Natural Linguistics.

Sarah Payne and Charles Yang (to appear). Making Good on BADS. Italian Journal of Linguistics. [PDF]

Conference and Workshop Proceedings

N.B.: Proceedings published in the ACL conference and workshop anthologies are refereed and archival. Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Conference are refereed but non-archival.

Jordan Kodner, {Salam Khalifa, Sarah Payne} (2023). Exploring Linguistic Probes for Morphological Inflection. Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP). 8933–8941. [PDF]

Sarah Payne (to appear). Root Infinitives and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics. 30(1). [PDF]

Jordan Kodner, {Sarah Payne, Salam Khalifa}, and Zoey Liu (2023). Morphological Inflection: A Reality Check. Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). 61(1):6082-6101. [PDF]

Salam Khalifa, Sarah Payne, Ellen Broselow, Jordan Kodner, and Owen Rambow (2023). A Cautious Generalization Goes a Long Way. Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). 61(1):1793–1805. [PDF]

Jordan Kodner, {Salam Khalifa, Sarah Payne}, and Zoey Liu (2023). Re-Evaluating Neural Models of Morphological Inflection. Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. 45(1):3259– 3267. [PDF]

Sarah Payne (2023). Contrast, Sufficiency, and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Proceedings of the 47th Boston University Conference on Language Development. 47(1):604-617. [PDF]

Caleb Belth, Sarah Payne, Deniz Beser, Jordan Kodner, and Charles Yang (2021). The Greedy and Recursive Search for Morphological Productivity. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. 42(1):2869-2875. [PDF] [code]

Deniz Beser, Joe Cecil, Marjorie Freedman, Jacob Lichtefeld, Mitch Marcus, Sarah Payne, and Charles Yang (2021). A Grounded Approach to Modeling Generic Knowledge Acquisition. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. 42(1):2450-2456. [PDF]

Sarah Payne, Jordan Kodner, and Charles Yang (2021). Learning Morphological Productivity as Meaning-Form Mappings. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics. 4(1):177-187. [PDF]

Other Manuscripts

Jordan Kodner, Sarah Payne, and Jeff Heinz (2023). Why Linguistics Will Thrive in the 21st Century: A Reply to Piantadosi (2023). LingBuzz. [PDF]

Sarah Payne (2022). When Collisions are a Good Thing: the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Bachelor's Thesis in Linguistics. [PDF] [slides]

Ryan Gabbard, Deniz Beser, Jacob Lichtefeld, Joe Cecil, Mitch Marcus, Sarah Payne, Charles Yang, and Marjorie Freedman (2021). ADAM: A Sandbox for Implementing Language Learning. [PDF] [overview talk] [code]

Selected Presentations

Invited Talks

Sarah Payne (2024). Title TBD. MIT LingLunch.

Sarah Payne (2024). Title TBD. MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Sarah Payne (2023). Possible and Probable Errors in Child Language. 52nd Annual Poznań Linguistics Meeting. [slides]

Sarah Payne (2023). Getting the Right Stuff Wrong: Modeling the Acquisition of Inflectional Morphology. Computational Linguistics Speaker Series, CUNY. [slides]

Sarah Payne (2022). Contrast, Sufficiency, and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Berwick Lab, MIT. [slides]

Conference and Workshop Presentations

Sarah Payne (2024). Marginal Sequences are Licit but Unproductive. Poster presented at the 2024 Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. [poster]

Sarah Payne (2023). Marginal Sequences are Licit but Unproductive. Poster presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting of Phonology. [poster]

Sarah Payne (2023). Licit and Marginal Phonotactics: A Difference in Productivity. Poster presented at the Morris Halle Centenary Conference, MIT. [poster]

Jordan Kodner, {Salam Khalifa, Sarah Payne}, and Zoey Liu (2023). Re-Evaluating Neural Models of Morphological Inflection. Poster presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. [poster]

Sarah Payne (2023). Root Infinitives and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Talk given at the 47th Penn Linguistics Conference. [slides]

Sarah Payne (2023). Spheres and Spaghetti: Generalization and Exceptionality in Phonotactic Acquisition. Talk given at the 23rd Stony Brook, Yale, NYU, and CUNY Linguistics Conference (SYNC). [slides]

Sarah Payne (2022). Contrast, Sufficiency, and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Talk given at the 47th Boston University Conference on Language Development. [slides]

Sarah Payne, Caleb Belth, Jordan Kodner, & Charles Yang (2022). Searching for Morphological Productivity. Talk given at the 2022 Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. [slides]

{Caleb Belth, Sarah Payne}, Jordan Kodner, & Charles Yang (2021). Searching for Morphological Productivity. Talk given at the 46th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. [slides]

Sarah Payne, Caleb Belth, Jordan Kodner, & Charles Yang (2021). The Recursive Search for Morphological Productivity. Poster presented at the 5th Annual American International Morphological Meeting. [poster]

Ryan Gabbard, Jacob Lichtefeld, Deniz Beser, Joe Cecil, Mitch Marcus, Sarah Payne, Charles Yang, and Marjorie Freedman (2021). Grounding Word Learning Across Situations. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. [talk] [abstract]

Sarah Payne, Jordan Kodner, and Charles Yang (2021). Learning Morphological Productivity as Meaning-Form Mappings. Talk given at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics. [slides]

Sarah Payne (2019). Categorization of Novel Referents by a Seeing Eye Dog. Talk given at the University of California Berkeley Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium.

Internal Presentations

Sarah Payne (2024). A Learning-Theoretic Account of Blind Alley Developments. Lightning Talk, Institute for Advanced Computational Science Research Day.

Sarah Payne (2024). Licit and Marginal Phonotactics: A Difference in Productivity. Poster presented at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science Advisory Board Meeting.

{Sarah Payne, Salam Khalifa}, Jordan Kodner, and Zoey Liu (2023). Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Neural Morphological Inflection Models. Lightning Talk, Institute for Advanced Computational Science Research Day.

{Sarah Payne, Salam Khalifa}, Jordan Kodner, and Zoey Liu (2023). Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Neural Morphological Inflection Models. Poster presented at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science Research Day. [poster]

Jordan Kodner, Salam Khalifa, Sarah Payne, and Zoey Liu (2023). The Language or the Task Design? Re-Evaluating Morphological Inflection Tasks. All Things Language and Computation Seminar, Stony Brook University. [slides]

Sarah Payne (2022). Contrast, Sufficiency, and the Acquisition of Morphological Marking. Brown Bag Presentation, Stony Brook Department of Linguistics. [slides]

Sarah Payne, Peng Qian, Ethan Wilcox, & Roger Levy (2021). Particle Filtering with Neural Language Models: Modelling the Effects of Memory on Incremental Sentence Processing. Poster presented at the MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Research Poster Session. [slides] [poster]

Sarah Payne & Chris Callison-Burch (2019). From Word Meaning to Phrase Meaning: Compositionality. Poster presented at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Undergraduate Research Poster Session.