November 1, 2018

New to the California Language Archive (CLA) this week is a collection of Tiwa materials elicited by Virginia Dawson. The collection can be accessed here!


In place of the general meeting of BLS this February, there will be a workshop on the topic of countability distinctions. Here is the call for papers:

BLS Workshop: Countability Distinctions

08-Feb-2019 - 09-Feb-2019 

Countability distinctions and mass nouns are a topic of long-standing interest in semantics, grammar, and the philosophy and psychology of language. Recent work on this topic has pushed our understanding forward in three separate but related directions: 

  1. There is more than one type of countability distinction relevant to natural language: nouns like furniture are different from nouns like sand both in how quantity judgments are carried out (Barner and Snedeker 2005) and in which types of adjectival modification are possible (Rothstein 2010, Schwarzschild 2011). 
  2. A semantics for mass nouns can be given that captures the many grammatical parallels between water and furniture without ascribing the same status to the minimal elements in their denotations (Chierchia 2010, Landman 2011). 
  3. The crosslinguistic picture on countability distinctions is more nuanced than originally thought: there are languages where all nouns combine with numerals in apparently similar ways (Lima 2014, Deal 2017), and in languages where classifiers are necessary to mediate noun-numeral combinations, there nevertheless exist countability-related distinctions among nouns diagnosable by quantity judgments and adjective distribution (Cheung, Li, and Barner 2010, Rothstein 2010). 

For this workshop, held in place of the general meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, we invite submissions for talks on all aspects of countability distinctions in natural language. Submissions may address questions including, though not limited to, the following: 

- What are the ways in which countability distinctions are manifested in particular languages? 
- Are morphosyntactic differences in the distribution of count versus mass nouns traceable directly to their semantics, or to their syntax, or to both? 
- What do countability distinctions show us about nominal semantics? What do they teach us about nominal syntax? 
- How should we choose among theories of mass noun semantics (or syntax) currently on the market? 
- Are countability distinctions a language universal? Which distinctions are subject to variation (if any), and which (if any) are not? 
- How are countability distinctions represented psychologically, and acquired by children? 

Invited speakers (confirmed): 
David Barner (UC San Diego) 
Suzi Lima (University of Toronto) 

Conference website: 

Organizing Committee: 
Emily Clem, Virginia Dawson, Amy Rose Deal, Paula Floro, Peter Jenks, Tyler Lemon, Line Mikkelsen, Tessa Scott, Yi-Chi Wu

Call for Papers: 

Submission deadline: November 30, 2018 

Abstracts should be submitted in PDF format via EasyChair: 

Abstracts should not exceed two pages in length (12-point type, Times New Roman, single line spacing, 1 inch margins) including examples and references. 

Submissions must be anonymous and are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author or two joint abstracts per author. 

Reviews and notifications of acceptance will be returned to authors by mid-December. 

A workshop on Multiple Agreement Across Domains is coming up this week in Berlin, hosted by the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS). Berkeley linguistics will be represented in three presentations by students and alumni: 

  • Emily ClemSwitch-reference as multiple agreement with cyclic expansion
  • Nico Baier (PhD '18): Multiple anti-agreement in Northern Italian dialects
  • Elango Kumaran (BA '18):  Non-projection, horizons, satisfaction, and feature exchange in cyclic probing

Congrats all!

October 22, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Virginia Dawson, who has just been announced as an invited speaker at the upcoming TripleA conference at MIT! TripleA describes itself as "a workshop that aims at providing a forum for semanticists doing fieldwork on languages from Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania."

October 19, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Emily Clem, whose paper Amahuaca ergative as agreement with multiple heads  has just been been published in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory! 

October 17, 2018

This weekend features la tercera conferencia sobre Sistemas de Sonido de Latino América (SSLA3) -- Sound Systems of Latin America III -- at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Berkeley linguistics will be represented in five presentations by students, faculty, and '08 alumni: 

  • Yuni Kim (PhD '08): “La relación entre ortografía e investigaciones fonológicas: Algunas posibilidades en amuzgo. Can phonological research contribute to Amuzgo orthography development – and vice versa?” [invited talk]
  • Myriam Lapierre and Lev Michael: “Nasal harmony in Tupí-Guaraní: A comparative synthesis”
  • Christian DiCanio (PhD '08) and Richard Hatcher: “Does Itunyoso Triqui have intonation?”
  • Gabriela Caballero (PhD '08): “Direccionalidad y localidad en el condicionamiento de alomorfos en Tarahumara Central”
  • Myriam Lapierre (University of California, Berkeley): “Word-initial [I] epenthesis in Panará: A prosodic analysis”

Congrats, all!

October 16, 2018

On Oct 27 and 28, Berkeley will be hosting the annual meeting of California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics, a.k.a. CUSP. CUSP is an informal annual conference that brings together people working in formal semantics and pragmatics at universities across the state. This year, Berkeley linguistics will be represented by presenters Ginny Dawson and Line Mikkelsen (along with visiting scholar Peter Alrenga). You can find the program and the RSVP form here

October 11, 2018

Calques has received some great photos from last weekend's NELS/AMP double-header!

Berkeley linguists at NELS

At NELS: Schuyler Laparle, Emily Clem, Nico Baier (PhD '18), Tessa Scott

Tessa Scott

Tessa Scott with her NELS poster

Schuyler Laparle

Schuyler Laparle with her NELS poster

Nik Rolle

Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18) presenting his poster (joint work with Larry Hyman)

AMP 2018

Berkeley phonologists at AMP:  Gabriela Caballero (PhD '08), Alan Yu (PhD '03), Andrew Shibata (BA '17), Hannah Sande (PhD '17), Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18), Jesse Zymet

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: 

October 5, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: 

  • Workshop on Pronouns and Interpretation de se - Thursday Oct 11 - 10:15-11:15, 2-5
    Join us 10:15-11:15 for a talk by Pranav Anand (UCSC), Perspectives for Pronouns and Reflexives, in Dwinelle 6307 [Celtic seminar room]. We reconvene 2-5 in Dwinelle 3401 for talks by Amy Rose Deal, A puzzle about reflexives of res-movement verbs, Pritty Patel-Grosz and Patrick Grosz (Oslo), The role of pronominal strength in interpretation, and Peter JenksWeak pronouns and variable binding.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 11 - Matrix Conference Room (Barrows Hall 8th Floor) - 4-5:30pm 
    Screening of Dizhsa Nabani - Living Language, followed by a Q-and-A session with faculty and students in the Indigenous Language Revitalization Designated Emphasis
  • Dissertation Defense - Friday Oct 12 - Dwinelle 1229 - 10:10-1
    Kelsey Neely: The Linguistic Expression of Affective Stance in Yaminawa (Pano, Peru) 
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 12 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm 
    Round robin

October 4, 2018

Fifth-year grad students Andrew Cheng and Emily Clem were each recognized by the LSA this week in connection with the upcoming annual meeting in New York City.  Andrew was named a finalist for the Five-minute Linguist event, which features short, informative, engaging, and accessible talks about linguistics research on a variety of topics. Andrew's presentation is entitled Style-shifting, Bilingualism, and the Koreatown Accent. Emily has been named as the third place winner of this year's Student Abstract Award, recognizing "the three best abstracts submitted by a student for a paper or poster presentation at Annual Meeting". Emily's prize-winning abstract is entitled The cyclic nature of Agree: Maximal projections as probes. 

Congrats, Andrew and Emily! 

October 3, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Virginia Dawson, whose paper A new kind of epistemic indefinite was recently published in the Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 22!

The program for this year's LSA annual meeting has been released, and Berkeley linguistics will be represented in 14 talks and posters (plus an organized session) by students, faculty, and very recent alumni: 

Congrats all!

This weekend features two conferences at which Berkeley Linguistics will have a major presence, one each in the east and the west:

  • The Annual Meeting on Phonology, at UC San Diego, features work by faculty Larry Hyman and Jesse Zymet, along with alumni Nik Rolle (PhD 2018, now at Princeton), Hannah Sande (PhD 2017, now at Georgetown),  Gabriela Caballero (PhD 2008, now at UCSD), Alan Yu (PhD 2003, now at Chicago),  and Eugene Buckley (PhD 1992, now at Penn).
  • NELS 49, at Cornell, features presentations by graduate students Emily Clem, Schuyler Laparle, and Tessa Scott, along with alum Maziar Toosarvandani (PhD 2010, now at UC Santa Cruz). 

Congrats all!

The Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21 have just been published, containing four papers by faculty, students, and/or alumni: 

  • Pranav Anand & Maziar Toosarvandani (Ph.D. 2010)
    Unifying the canonical, historical, and play-by-play present. pdf
  • Amy Rose Deal & Julia Nee
    Bare nouns, number, and definiteness in Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec. pdf
  • Peter Jenks, Andrew Koontz-Garboden, & Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso
    On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá. pdf
  • Peter Sutton & Hana Filip (Ph.D 1993)
    Restrictions on subkind coercion in object mass nouns. pdf

Congrats all! 

September 28, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: 

September 27, 2018

Congrats to grad student Kenneth Baclawski Jr. whose paper Diglossia and change from below in Eastern Cham has just been been posted online in the latest issue of the journal Asia-Pacific Language Variation!

September 21, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week

September 20, 2018

A group of students, faculty, alumni, and friends of Berkeley linguistics were on hand this Wednesday evening to cheer the Oakland A's to a 10-0 victory over the visiting LA Angels!

Berkeley linguists at the ballgame

September 12, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Virginia Dawson on receiving a grant from the American Philosophical Society's Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research! The grant project is entitled "Strategies of disjunction in Tiwa", and will support her field research in Assam, India.