News

November 16, 2019

Congratulation to Alice Shen, Susanne Gahl, and Keith Johnson, whose paper Didn’t hear that coming: effects of withholding phonetic cues to code-switching has been accepted for publicati

November 15, 2019

The 2019-2020 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, Nov 18, with a talk by Daisy Rosenblum (UBC). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Nouns, Noun Phrases, and other Referential Resources in Kʷak̓ʷala, and the abstract is as follows:

This paper explores the status, constituency and distributive patterning of Kʷak̓ʷala Noun Phrases in a corpus of recently recorded spontaneous interaction, and examines them alongside other referential resources available to speakers. Kʷak̓ʷala – along with other Wakashan languages, and neighboring Salishan languages – has challenged some of our ideas about how categories such as ‘Noun’ and ‘Verb’ work in grammar. However, while lexical roots in Kʷak̓ʷala and other Wakashan languages may not easily sort themselves into self-evident ‘Noun’ and ‘Verb’ categories (cf. Bach 1968, Jacobsen 1979, Kinkade 1983; Demirdache & Matthewson 1995; inter alia), syntactic predicates and arguments are clear within conversational data, and Kʷak̓ʷala lexical argument phrases align well with our expectations of ‘NP’ as a category. In considering how lexical reference in Kʷak̓ʷala relates to other referring resources in the language, such as (so-called) ‘lexical suffixes,’ I also ask what we can understand from examining bilingual speakers’ translations of their Kʷak̓ʷala into English, and explore how Kʷak̓ʷala lexical reference compares with patterns of Preferred Argument Structure and other information management constraints found cross-linguistically (cf. Chafe 1984; DuBois 1987). Examining these and other questions for Kʷak̓ʷala allows a nuanced and emergent analysis of what is meant by the category ‘Noun Phrase’ in Kʷak̓ʷala, identifies functions NPs serve in Kʷak̓ʷala grammar in use, and informs our understanding of how to develop useful materials for teachers and learners engaged in Kʷak̓ʷala revitalization.

In and around the linguistics department in the next week or so:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 15 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Emily Clem (UC San Diego): Unifying inverse marking and the strictly descending PCC
  • Phorum - Monday Nov 18 - Dwinelle 3401 - 12-1pm
    Hannah Sande (Georgetown): TBA
  • Linguistics Department Colloquium - Monday Nov 18 - Dwinelle 370 - 3:10-5pm
    Daisy Rosenblum (UBC): Nouns, Noun Phrases, and other Referential Resources in Kʷak̓ʷala
  • CogNetwork - Monday Nov 18 - Dwinelle 1303 - 5p
    Inés Lozano Palacio (University of La Rioja): Deconstructing irony: A cognitive approach to an analytic enigma
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Nov 21 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3:40-5pm
    Emily Drummond (UC Berkeley): TBA
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 22 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Erika Petersen O Farrill (Stanford): TBA
  • Fourth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium - Saturday November 23 -  Dwinelle 370 
    See the full program here and the SLUgS Facebook event here!

November 14, 2019

Postdoc Bernat Bardagil writes to share that he is now in Rio de Janeiro, taking part in the Viva Língua Viva language revitalization conference, organized by the Museu do Índio and UNESCO. Here is Bernat with two members of the Manoki community, Edivaldo Nãpuxi and Dario Kanuxi, in Rio:

Bernat Bardagil and colleagues in Rio

November 12, 2019

Congrats to Zach O'Hagan, whose paper entitled The origin of purpose clause markers in Proto-Omagua-Kukama has been published in Journal of Historical Linguistics 9(2):282-312.

November 11, 2019

Congrats to Larry Hyman, whose paper Number and animacy in the Teke noun class system, co-authored with Florian Lionnet (PhD '16) & Christophère Ngolele is just out in African linguistics across disciplines: Selected papers from the 48th Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Read it here!

November 10, 2019

Alumnus Len Talmy (Ph.D. 1972) writes to share that he is just back from a visit to Beihang University in Beijing, where he gave two talks on his book The Targeting System of Language (MIT Press, 2018) and was presented with translation copies of his 2-volume set Toward a Cognitive Semantics (MIT Press, 2000), recently translated into Chinese by Fuyin (Thomas) Li and published by Peking University Press.

November 8, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 8 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Mark Norris (Independent scholar): On AGR
  • Meaning Sciences Club - Thursday Nov 14 - 234 Moses Hall - 12:30-2pm
    Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley): Disjunction is not Boolean: novel evidence from Tiwa
  • Language Revitalization Working Group - Thursday Nov 14 - 3401 Dwinelle - 1-2p
    Discussion of two papers by Margaret Noodin
  • Center for Race and Gender Distinguished Lecture Series - Thursday Nov 14 - Multicultural Student Center, MLK Union - 4-5:30pm
    Margaret Noodin (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee): Ojichaagwag Waaseyaaziwag (Radiant Souls): Four Women Masters of Social Self-Expression
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 15 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Emily Clem (UC San Diego): TBA

November 7, 2019

Congrats to Zach O'Hagan and Lev Michael, whose paper (with Natalia Chousou-Polydouri) entitled Phylogenetic classification supports a Northeastern Amazonian Proto-Tupí-Guaraní homeland has been published in the open-access journal LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas.

November 6, 2019

Congrats to Kenny Baclawski, whose paper Eastern Cham optional wh-movement is discourse connected-movement has been accepted at Natural Language and Linguistic Theory!

Kenny has also recently presented his joint work with undergraduate student Zihan Cindy Yang in Berlin at a workshop on Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Perspectives. The joint paper is entitled Experimental evidence for the status of the Right-Frontier Constraint.

Congrats to grad student Ruth Rouvier, who has been awarded a mini-grant from the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. Ruth's grant project is entitled Yurok Language Revitalization: Affective Stance and Language Learning.

November 1, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Phorum - Monday Nov 4 - 3401 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    John Harris (UCL): How much of what phonologists know about do speakers know? The learnability of a simple, regular, unnatural sound pattern in English
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 8 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Mark Norris (Independent scholar): On AGR

October 31, 2019

Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete writes to share news of a number of Berkeley talks recently presented at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, University of Texas at El Paso, on Oct. 24-26, 2019:

  • Ben Papadopoulos: Morphological gender innovations in Spanish of non-binary speakers
  • Justin Davidson: La [v]ariebilidad sociofonética en el español de California: Social and Linguistic Underpinnings of the Labiodentalization of /b/
  • Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete: Influence from English on the production of the /tl/ cluster by Mexican Spanish-English bilinguals
  • Gabriella Licata, Annie Helms, Rachel Weiher: Merger in production and perception? Bilingual discrimination of Spanish [β] and [v]
  • Justin Davidson: Navigating the Statistical Tides: An R Tutorial for the Non-Coding-Inclined [workshop]

Congrats all!

October 25, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Phorum - Monday Oct 28 - 1229 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Maho Morimoto (UC Santa Cruz): Preservation of liquid geminates in Japanese loanwords from Italian
  • Linguistics Dept Colloquium - Monday Oct 28 - Dwinelle 370 - 3:10-5pm
    Damian Blasi (Radcliffe / Max Planck): New models of language dynamics: The role of cross-linguistic data
  • Sociolinguistics Lab at Berkeley - Tuesday Oct 29 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3:30-5pm
    Post-NWAV review; discussion of Carmichael 2017
  • Working Group in History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics and Science - Wednesday Oct 30 - 234 Moses Hall - 6-7:30pm
    Ivano Caponigro (UC San Diego): Logic and Grammar. Richard Montague’s Turn towards Natural Language
  • Linguistics 290e special talk - Thursday Oct 31- 1303 Dwinelle - 9:10am-noon
    John Harris (University College London): Is #sC special?
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 31 - 1303 Dwinelle - 3:40-5pm
    Wendy López Márquez (UC Berkeley): A linguist native speaker’s perspective on language documentation and description>

October 24, 2019

The twelfth annual meeting of the California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics workshop will take place on November 9-10 at the University of Southern California. Berkeley will be represented by:

Congrats all!

October 23, 2019

This week's Berkeley News features new faculty member Isaac Bleaman -- check it out!

October 22, 2019

Congrats to first-year grad student Wendy López, who has just been named winner of the 2019 Wigberto Jiménez Moreno Prize for best Linguistics Master's Thesis by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia! Wendy's award-winning thesis is entitled Mecanismos morfosintácticos de cambio de valencia y diátesis en el nuntajɨɨyi (Sierra Popoluca).

October 18, 2019

Terry Regier will be giving an invited talk in December at the 2019 Amsterdam Colloquium, in a workshop on semantic universals. Shortly thereafter, a talk entitled "Semantic categories of artifacts and animals reflect efficient coding", by Noga Zaslavsky, Terry Regier, Naftali Tishby, and Charles Kemp, will be presented at the 2020 meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL), co-located with the LSA in New Orleans this coming January. Terry also wishes to share the good news that Noga Zaslavsky, who was a visiting graduate student in the Language and Cognition Lab for the past two years, is now a postdoctoral Fellow in Computation at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 18 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    NELS practice talks, featuring: Emily Clem (UC San Diego), Nicholas Rolle (Princeton) & Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley): Post-syntactic altruism; Emily Drummond & Zachary O'Hagan: Morphological person restrictions and the pressure to realize local persons; Tessa Scott: Pronominal licensing in Mam (Mayan)

  • Phorum - Monday Oct 21 - 1229 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Andrew Cheng (UC Berkeley): A cross-linguistic comparison of back vowels in English-Korean bilinguals
  • Linguistics Dept Colloquium - Monday Oct 21 - Dwinelle 370 - 3-4pm
    Seth Cable (UMass Amherst): Two Paths to Habituality: Imperfective Mode vs. Habitual Mode in Tlingit (and Simple Present in English)
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 24 - 1303 Dwinelle - 3:40-5pm
    Sandy Chung (UC Santa Cruz): Getting beyond dissonance in fieldwork

October 17, 2019

The 2019-2020 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, Oct 21, with a talk by Seth Cable (UMass). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Two Paths to Habituality: Imperfective Mode vs. Habitual Mode in Tlingit (and Simple Present in English), and the abstract is as follows:

Despite its morpho-syntactic simplicity, the English sentence in (1) expresses an especially complex and still deeply puzzling meaning, one having to do with the subject’s habits, propensities, dispositions, duties, etc.

(1) My father eats salmon.

Interestingly, in the Tlingit language (Na-Dene; Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon), there seem to be two means for expressing the general meaning of (1). The first is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Imperfective Mode’ (2a); the second is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Habitual Mode’ (2b).

(2) a. Ax̱            éeshch        tʼá                   ax̱á.
          1sgPOSS father.ERG king.salmon 3O.IMPRV.3S.eat
My father eats king salmon (MD)

b. Ax̱            éesh    x̱áat      ux̱áaych.
    1sgPOSS father salmon 3O.HAB.3S.eat
My father eats salmon. (SE)

This of course raises the following questions: (i) What exactly is the morpho-syntactic and semantic difference (if any) between the two Tlingit verbal forms in (2)? (ii) How do either of these verbal forms relate syntactically or semantically to the English simple present verb in (1)? In this talk, I will principally address the first of these questions. We will see that there are indeed some important semantic and (morpho-)syntactic differences between ‘imperfective habituals’ in Tlingit (2a) and ‘habitual-marked habituals’ (2b). In particular, I will argue that imperfective habituals have the general structure in (3a), where the ‘habituality’ in the semantics is contributed directly by the imperfective aspect (Deo 2009, Arregui et al. 2014). On the other hand, habitual-marked habituals have the structure in (3b). Under this proposal, the Habitual Mode morphology is the realization T(ense), when the T-head is bound by a temporal quantifier (e.g. tlákw ‘always’, wáa ng̱aneen sá ‘sometimes’). Furthermore, it is this temporal quantifier – which in some sentences may be implicit/covert (2b) – which contributes the understood ‘habituality’, and not the Habitual Mode morphology itself.

(3) a. Syntax of (2a): [TP T [AspP IMPRVGEN [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

b. Syntax of (2b): [TP TempQuant [TP T [AspP ASP [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

Finally, I will begin to outline a defense of the claim that English sentences with simple (present) verbs, like (1), are syntactically ambiguous, and can in principle receive either of the structural analyses in (3).