August 26, 2019

Congrats to Meg Cychosz, who has been awarded the 2019 Raymond H. Stetson Scholarship in Phonetics and Speech Science by the Acoustical Society of America!

Meg also found out this summer that she has received a postdoc position at the Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing (working with Rochelle Newman and Jan Edwards). So she will moving back to DC/Maryland in summer 2020 to start work on a new project studying kids with cochlear implants.

August 25, 2019

Congrats to Madeline Bossi and Eric Wilbanks, whose papers have each appeared this summer in Glossa!!

Bossi's paper is entitled V1 in Kipsigis: Head movement and discourse-based scrambling, co-authored with Michael Diercks.

Wilbanks' paper is entitled Sound change and coarticulatory variability involving English /ɹ/, co-authored with Bridget Smith, Jeff Mielke, and Lyra Magloughlin.

The Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 23 have now been published, containing the following papers by faculty, students, and/or alumni: 

  • Pranav Anand & Maziar Toosarvandani (PhD 2010)
        Now and then: Perspectives on positional variance in temporal demonstratives
    . pdf
  • Ruyue Agnes Bi (BA 2018) and Peter Jenks
        Pronouns, null arguments, and ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese pdf
  • Emily Clem (PhD 2019)
        Attributive adjectives in Tswefap: Vague predicates in a language with degrees. pdf
  • Virginia Dawson and Amy Rose Deal
        Third readings by semantic scope lowering: Prolepsis in Tiwa. pdf
  • Amy Rose Deal and Vera Hohaus
        Vague predicates, crisp judgments. pdf
  • Rachel Etta Rudolph (PhD 2019, philosophy)
        A closer look at the perceptual source in copy raising constructions. pdf

Congrats all!

May 9, 2019

Congrats to grad students Andrew Cheng and Erik Hans Maier, who have just received Outstanding GSI Awards! 

Next Friday, May 19, Emily Clem will defend her dissertation, entitled Agreement, case, and switch-reference in Amahuaca. The defense will take place from 10am-1pm in Dwinelle 1229. All members of the department are invited to attend.
This dissertation probes the nature of the syntactic operation of Agree through the lens of the morphosyntax of Amahuaca, an endangered Panoan language of the Peruvian Amazon. I explore the language's system of split ergative marking, arguing that case marking in Amahuaca is the result of agreement with multiple functional heads. This leads to a distinction between abstract and morphological ergative (and nominative) case. I also analyze the extensive system of switch-reference marking, demonstrating that the system has the typologically unusual property of tracking the reference and abstract case of all arguments of the verb, not only subject. I argue that this system arises through adjunct complementizer agreement that probes both the adjunct and matrix arguments directly. In analyzing the case and switch-reference systems of Amahuaca, I demonstrate that the empirical facts can be most straightforwardly accounted for if we assume 1) that some probes are insatiable, agreeing with all goals in their search space, and 2) that Agree is narrowly cyclic, with each instance of Merge defining a new cycle of Agree. 

May 2, 2019

Graduate student Tessa Scott will be presenting on Case and agreement in Mam: PCC and syntactic ergativity effects at the Workshop on the Languages of Meso-America at UCSC on Friday, May 3rd.

April 23, 2019

Congrats to Ruth Rouvier, who has received a fellowship from the Linguistic Society of America to attend this summer's Linguistic Institute at UC Davis! 

April 15, 2019

April 11, 2019

Huge congratulations to first-year PhD students Emily Drummond and Emily Grabowski, who have each just been awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congrats to the undergraduate winners of the 2019 Sawyer Scholarship for Applied Linguistics:

  • Teela Huff and Nicholas Carrick,  Creating Xavante Pedagogical Materials 
    In Summer of 2019, Teela Huff and Nicholas Carrick are traveling with Myriam Lapierre to work with a Xavante community that expressed interest in the benefits of linguistic research. While in Eastern Mato Grosso, the three hope to record stories with community consent for the purpose of creating recreational and lexical pedagogical materials. In collaboration with this Xavante community, the long-term goal of this project is to help preserve and maintain Xavante language and culture through linguistic means.
  • Karina Fong-Hirschfelder, The Influence of French Polysemous Words on English in French-English Bilingual Children 
    Karina will be using the funds from the Sawyer Scholarship to create a study/stimular and start data collection for an experiment with Mahesh Srinivasan. This experiment will be one of many in a study on French polysemous words and their influence on English speakers, both bilingual and monolingual. Karina will be elaborating on this work during the upcoming academic year as part of her Honors Thesis.

April 10, 2019

This weekend is the Symposium for American Indigenous Languages (SAIL) at the University of Arizona. Berkeley will be represented by postdoc Bernat Bardagil Mas, giving a talk entitled Language documentation as anticipated historical linguistics? and grad student Zachary O'Hagan, leading a plenary workshop called Using the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages - California Languages Archive.

April 4, 2019

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Emily Clem, who has just accepted a tenure-track position in the linguistics department at UC San Diego! 

March 25, 2019

The 4th volume of the Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America has just been published, showcasing research presented in January at the 2019 Annual Meeting. In the collection are three papers by students and faculty: 

Congrats all!

March 21, 2019

Last weekend was a busy one for Berkeley linguists, with department members at conferences in Dwinelle Hall dedicated to Celtic and Amazonian languages as well as attending conferences in other locations! 

Numerous Berkeley attendees at the Symposium on Amazonian Languages (SAL III)

Symposium on Amazonian Languages III

Virginia Dawson and Samantha Wathugala at Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages 9, Reed College, Portland (after presenting their paper, In support of a choice functional analysis of Sinhala ðə)

Dawson and Wathugala at FASAL

And to cap things off with some true linguistics in action: here's Susan Lin presenting Linguistics: making sense from noise at the East Bay Science Cafe, last Thursday (March 14). 

Susan Lin presenting

March 19, 2019

This coming weekend, Andrew Cheng will be presenting ‘School’ versus ‘Home’: California-based Korean Americans’ Context-dependent Production of /u/ and /oʊ/ at the 43rd Penn Linguistics Conference. Congrats, Andrew!

Congrats to graduating senior Hua Long, who has been chosen to receive the Undergraduate Student Civic Engagement Awarda prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Public Service! Ms. Long will receive this award from Chancellor Carol Christ in Sibley Auditorium on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 3:00pm.

March 15, 2019

Next Friday, March 22, Amalia Skilton will defend her dissertation, entitled Spatial and non-spatial deixis in Cushillococha Ticuna. The defense will take place from 9:10am-12pm in Dwinelle 1229. All members of the department are invited to attend.
This dissertation is a study of the 6-term demonstrative system of Ticuna, a language isolate spoken by 60,000 people in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.
Much linguistic work on demonstratives has claimed that they encode only the distance of the referent from the participants. By contrast, I argue that no demonstrative of Ticuna conveys any information about distance. Instead, I show that the demonstratives of Ticuna provide listeners with three kinds of information:
  • Perceptual information: Demonstratives encode whether the speaker can see the demonstrative referent.
  • Spatial information: Demonstratives encode where the referent is located relative to the peripersonal space (reaching space) of the discourse participants. Location relative to peripersonal space is crucially different from distance.
  • Attentional information: Demonstratives convey whether the referent is an object of preexisting joint attention.

March 8, 2019

Some updates from the Survey of California and other Indian Languages:

  • Martha Schwarz archived 11 file bundles of sound recordings and field notes related to Kumal (Indo-Aryan; Nepal), from a week's fieldwork in July 2018. The recordings primarily consist of grammatical elicitation, with topics including verb paradigms, dative subjects and agreement, non-finite clauses, possession, deontic modality, negation, and more! You can listen to the Frog Story here.
  • Kelsey Neely archived sound recordings of 50 traditional stories in Yaminawa (Panoan; Peru). This is the beginning of a large archival deposit that will include recordings, transcriptions, field notes, databases, photographs, and other materials associated with Kelsey's ongoing fieldwork in Sepahua from 2013 to the present. She writes descriptions of the plots of each story, which are rich in expressive content, linguistic form, and cultural and historical value. As Kelsey writes, the stories blend cosmology and moral teaching with humor -- many describe marriages between humans and ñũshĩwu (archetypal anthropomorphic animal spirits) that fail due to the inability of the animal spirits to adapt to life in human society. Trees and manufactured objects such as pots are also animated. Recurrent themes include the importance of cooperation, the danger of selfishness, the value of individual skill, and warnings, particularly to men, to be careful with what they say and how they treat women.
  • Gabriela Caballero (PhD 2008) archived over 1,300 digital files in 76 file bundles related to Choguita Rarámuri (Uto-Aztecan; Mexico). The collection consists primarily of sound recordings from 2011 to the present, most with corresponding .eaf transcription files! The recordings in file bundles 2019-01.001 through 011, and 013 are elicitation; those in 2019-01.015 through 075 are personal, historical, and procedural narratives, conversations, interviews, prayers, and oratory. As an example, check out the myth of the cave, as told by Luz Elena León Ramírez, here.
  • A preliminary (1980) dictionary of Barbareño Chumash (isolate; California), compiled by Kenneth Whistler is now available. One of Mary Haas's last students, Mr. Whistler received his PhD from this department in 1980, with a dissertation entitled Proto-Wintun Kin Classification: A Case Study of Reconstruction in a Complex Semantic System, available here.

February 28, 2019

Some updates from the Survey of California and other Indian Languages:

  • Tessa Scott archived 34 file bundles related to Ndengeleko (Bantu; Tanzania), from her fieldwork in 2017 and 2018. The audio recordings consist primarily of elicitation (accompanied by scanned and typed field notes), with four short texts and discussions with speakers of consent for the project.
  • George Kamau (BA 1962) was discovered to be the language consultant for Prof. William Shipley's winter-spring 1962 field methods course on Kikuyu (Bantu; Kenya), then listed as 220B "Linguistics Laboratory." His recordings are items 002-005 here. In 1959 Mr. Kamau was part of the first cohort of 81 Kenyans brought from Nairobi to various universities in the US as part of a series of airlifts sponsored by the African American Student Foundation. The goal was to educate a generation of young Kenyans for post-British rule. Barack Obama, Sr. was part of the same cohort.
  • Last week it was reported that Prof. Wallace Chafe, at Berkeley from 1962 to 1986, passed away on February 3. Recordings from the second field methods course he taught here, on Dakota (Siouan; US) in fall-winter 1963-4, are items 012 and 013 here.