Rational Approaches in Language Science


Conference on
Rational Approaches in Language Science (RAILS)
24-26 October, 2019 Saarbruecken, Germany

The language sciences increasingly have in common their adoption of rational probabilistic approaches, such as Bayesian, Information Theoretic, and Game Theoretic frameworks. The goal of this conference is to bring together speech and language researchers whose scientific contributions reflect the full diversity of disciplines and methodologies – from speech to discourse, on-line processing to corpus-based investigation, through to language change and evolution – that have benefited from, and share, such rational explanations.

Call for Abstracts

We seek submissions from across the language sciences – including speech science, theoretical linguistics, empirical linguistics, psycholinguistics and neuroscience, computational linguistics, as well as language development, change and evolution – which apply rational probabilistic explanations to linguistic phenomena, or bring novel experimental findings to bear on such accounts.

We kindly ask all presenters to prepare a final version of their abstract to include in the conference booklet and on the website. Please use one of the following templates in preparing your final abstract. Remember to add all author information to the abstract. Final abstracts should be submitted by email to: rails2019@lst.uni-saarland.de.
The deadline for final abstract submission is: July, 31st 2019.
Important dates

Submissions open: 1 May
Submissions due: 6 June
Notification of acceptance: 1 July
Final abstract submission: 31 July
Registration: 15 August
Conference:  24-26 October

Scientific and financial support for this conference comes from the Collaborative Research Center SFB1102 Information Density and Linguistic Encoding.


Final conference program

Keynote speakers

Gerhard Jaeger (University of Tuebingen)
Bayesian typology

Gina Kuperberg (Tufts University and Massachussetts General Hospital)
What a probabilistic computational approach can tell us about the neurobiology of language comprehension

Hannah Rohde (University of Edinburgh)
Why are you telling me this: Comprehension as a process of reverse engineering

Rory Turnbull (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Phonetic reduction, natural selection and bounded rationality

Practical information


The large international airports nearest to Saarbrücken are: Frankfurt (FRA) and Luxembourg (LUX). From Frankfurt, Saarbrücken can be reached by train (Deutsche Bahn) directly or with a single transfer. From Luxembourg, there are direct busses from Luxembourg’s main train station to Saarbrücken (see the Saarbrücken Express and Flixbus).


It is advisable to book your accommodation as soon as possible, due to popular demand in Saarbrücken around our conference dates. For RAILS participants, we have reserved a block of rooms at the following hotels:

Motel One (city centre/ single rooms from ca EUR 80 p.n./ breakfast EUR 11,50 p.p.)
Hotel Madeleine (city centre/ single rooms from ca EUR 69 p.n./ breakfast included)

If you would like to book a room at Motel One or Madeleine, please contact us: rails2019@lst.uni-saarland.de

Other hotel suggestions:
Domicil Leidinger (city centre/ single rooms from ca EUR 120 p.n./ breakfast included)
Mercure Hotel Saarbruecken City (city centre/ single rooms from ca EUR 95 p.n./ breakfast included)
Gästehaus Hotel Weller (between city centre and university campus/ single rooms from ca EUR 45 p.n./ breakfast EUR 7,50 p.p.)
Hotel Schlosskrug (near to city centre/ single rooms from ca EUR 40 p.n./ breakfast EUR 4 p.p.)


RAILS will take place at the Campus of Saarland University, Building E1.5. From the city centre (e.g., bus stop ‘Rathaus’), there are many direct busses to the campus (lines 101,102,109,111,150). The bus stop nearest to the venue is Universität Mensa. For bus schedules, see the SaarFahrPlan.

Child Care

During the conference, we provide child care support. Please contact us in case you are interested in making use of this service: rails2019@lst.uni-saarland.de


For conference registration please click here.


Organising Committee

Matthew Crocker (chair)
Bistra Andreeva
Stefania Degaetano-Ortlieb
Vera Demberg
Robin Lemke
Noortje Venhuizen

Program Committee

Bistra Andreeva
Tania Avgustinova
Harm Brouwer
Matthew Crocker
Stefania Degaetano-Ortlieb
Vera Demberg
Stefanie Dipper
Heiner Drenhaus
Josef van Genabith
Jörg Hoffmann
Gerhard Jaeger
Dietrich Klakow
Alexander Koller
Jutta Kray
Gina Kuperberg
Robin Lemke
Nivedita Mani
Axel Mecklinger
Bernd Möbius
Ingo Reich
Hannah Rohde
Augustin Speyer
Maria Staudte
Elke Teich
Stefan Thater
Rory Turnbull
Noortje Venhuizen

Steering Committee

Elke Teich
Bernd Möbius
Ingo Reich
Marie-Ann Kühne
Patricia Borrull Enguix


For any questions regarding content or practical matters, please send an email to: rails2019@lst.uni-saarland.de