News

October 22, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

October 21, 2021

Zachary O'Hagan was a contributor on Thursday to KQED Forum's segment "How Preserving Indigenous Languages Revitalizes California Culture, Identity and History" (listen here!), together with Phil Albers (Karuk), Quirina Geary (Mutsun, Tamien), and Jennifer Malone (Wukchumni). This month he also published an academic obituary for Gerald Weiss (1932-2021), an early ethnographer in Ashaninka communities of the Tambo River region of Peru.

October 20, 2021

Congratulations to the following Berkeley linguists, who have contributed to Proceedings of the 38th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL):

October 19, 2021

Congratulations to the Berkeley linguists who will be presenting at the 2022 meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Washington, DC.

  • Wesley dos Santos — Diagnosing unaccusativity in Kawahíva
  • Keith Johnson — An effect of categorization on auditory/phonetic representation
  • Raksit Lau-Preechathammarach — Bilingualism as a catalyst for sound change: individual differences in f0 usage in the Kuy register contrast
  • Irene Yi — Sociolinguistically-Aware Computational Models of Mandarin-English Codeswitching Using CART
  • Anna Bjorklund — Vowel Duration in Nomlaki: An Archival Examination
  • Emily Remirez — What are 'social factors' in speech perception, anyway?
  • Allegra Robertson — A subsegmental analysis of contrastive laryngeal features in Yanesha’ (Arawakan)
  • Katherine Russell — Progressive Nasalization in Paraguayan Guarani: Multiply Conditioned Spreading
  • Isaac L. Bleaman, Katie Cugno, Annie Helms — Medium shifting as a constraint on intraspeaker variation in virtual interviews
  • Dakota Robinson — Double Plurals in Breton: Evidence for a Split Analysis of Plurality
  • Eric Wilbanks — Investigating Selective Adaptation to Socially-Induced Percepts
  • Nigel Fabb, Kristin Hanson — Literary Linguistic Forms
  • Maksymilian Dąbkowski — Paraguayan Guaraní and the typology of free affix order
  • Jennifer Kaplan — Binary-Constrained Code-switching Among Non-binary French-English Bilinguals

October 18, 2021

In addition to this semester's TABLE series, Carlos Cisneros will be giving a colloquium talk on Monday, November 1 at 3pm in 370 Dwinelle.

Dr. Cisneros received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2020 and is now a visiting assistant professor in the Berkeley Linguistics department with specializations in formal semantics, pragmatics, and fieldwork on native American languages. The talk is titled Capturing the indiscriminative reading of 'any', and the abstract can be found below.

The semantics of English any is a decades-old problem that remains unsettled in the literature. However, the literature has also refrained from full discussion of the various senses of any, focusing on NPI and free choice readings, but neglecting others. In this talk, I discuss the so-called indiscriminative reading of any (Horn 2000), which is available when any occurs with negation and is either explicitly modified by just, as in not just any, or is marked by intonation that indicates exhaustivity. This reading is often neglected in semantic analyses of any, although it is available for many polarity items similar to any across languages. I show that this reading is not easily captured by the most circulated semantic accounts of any, and that a new account is needed to explain the relationship between the NPI, free choice, and indiscriminative readings, in addition to their polarity distributions. By identifying analogous semantic phenomena among other English constructions, I posit a list of semantic ingredients needed for composing each of these readings: reference to low values on scales, strength-reversing environmental factors, and exclusive meaning. I then synthesize research on NPIs, degree semantics, and focus semantics to posit a basic meaning for any as a scalar indefinite, which can be elaborated into either an NPI, free choice item, or indiscriminative. At its core, any is an NPI in the sense of Krifka (1995), or an existential quantifier that activates domain alternatives. This already captures its NPI reading and distribution. However, it can take on an exhaustified interpretation via exclusive meaning operators (Coppock & Beaver 2013), thereby attaining its indiscriminative reading when the operator is interpreted under the scope of negation. The free choice reading is derived as well using a silent operator that induces a downward entailing environment in positive sentences, though it is itself averse to episodic environments. The proposal altogether fills some gaps in previous accounts of the meaning contribution and distribution of English (just) any.

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

October 15, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

October 14, 2021

The following (current and former) Berkeley linguists will be presenting at New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 49, hosted by UT Austin and taking place online from October 19 to 24, 2021. Several of the presentations have already been pre-recorded and links are provided below. (Follow this story on our website for updates.)

  • Isaac L. Bleaman, Katie Cugno, and Annie Helms: "Increased intelligibility (but not formality) in Zoom interviews" [presentation]
  • Irene Yi (BA 2021): "Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Mandarin 然后用中文完成": Towards Sociolinguistically-Aware Computational Models of Codeswitching Using Classification and Regression Trees (CART)
  • Jennifer Kaplan and Cecelia Cutler: "Attitudinal Effects on Back Vowel Fronting Among Young Adults in New York City"
  • Justin Davidson and Mairi McLaughlin: "(Semi-)Spontaneous Translation as Sociolinguistic Production: The Social Underpinnings of Variation in News Translation from English to French" [presentation]
  • Aurora Martinez Kane and Ben Papadopoulos: "Catalana, Cantaora, or Reggaetonera? Rosalía and the Linguistic Performance of Persona" [presentation]
  • Mingzhe Zheng and Jie Liu: "One-ge person or One-wei person: Exploring the use of Mandarin classifier across time"
  • Naomi Lee and Laurel MacKenzie (BA 2006): "The English particle verb alternation shows gradient sensitivity to compositionality"

Congrats, all!

October 13, 2021

Mairi McLaughlin will be giving a talk at the Philological Society at 8:15am on Friday, October 22, called "The Early French Press: Examining a New Text Type in Historical Linguistics."

October 12, 2021

There will be 6 (current and former) Berkeley-authored talks at the upcoming Westermann anniversary workshop* hosted in Berlin, November 4-6. The workshop focuses on areal and historical phenomena in Africa. The 6 Berkeley-affiliated talks are these:

Congrats, all!

* Full title: Diedrich Westermann's legacy between Macro-Sudan Belt and Niger-Congo: an international workshop on the linguistic history in Central Africa commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1st professorship for African languages in Berlin

October 11, 2021

In advance of the upcoming Westermann anniversary workshop (see this Calques story), Larry Hyman and Hannah Sande are hosting a session of practice talks. The times and dates are listed below, and all are welcome. Anyone interested in attending can reach out to Prof. Sande for the Zoom link.

Thursday 10/28, times listed in Pacific

  • 9-9:45am: Karee Garvin, Katherine Russell, and Hannah Sande: "A typology of STAMP morphs in the Macro-Sudan Belt"
  • 9:45-10:30am: Nik Rolle and Florian Lionnet: "Phonological profile changes in the Macro-Sudan Belt: The antagonism between ATR and interior vowels"
  • 10:30-11:15am: Florian Lionnet: "Laal and the Macro-Sudan Belt"
  • 11:15-11:30ish: General discussion

Friday 10/29, times listed in Pacific

  • 9-9:45am: Johanna Nichols and Frederik Hartmann: "The greater Sahara in the historical linguistic geography of Africa"
  • 9:45-10:30am: Jack Merrill: "Atlantic groups as primary Niger-Congo branches"
  • 10:30-11:15am: Jeff Good: "Individual-level lexical variation in the Bantu homeland and its implications for the development of Niger-Congo"
  • 11:15-11:30ish: General discussion

October 10, 2021

TABLE: Toward a Better Linguistics Environment, a colloquium series taking place this fall, continues on Monday, October 18, with a talk by Kelly Elizabeth Wright (Michigan), held via Zoom and in person in Dwinelle 370 (hybrid) from 3-4:30pm. Those who would like to attend, including Berkeley linguists, need to register for the event regardless of mode of attendance (Zoom registration; in-person registration). The talk is entitled "Raciolinguistic Ideologies as Institutionaized Linguistic Racism," and the abstract is as follows:

Raciolinguistic ideologies are said to conflate certain bodies with perceptions of linguistic deficiency. This talk - taking a historical, sociolinguistic framing - offers examples of linguistic racism across institutions as a means of underscoring the insidious and powerful nature of raciolinguistic ideologies and the long-term outcomes of their operation. We will begin with a primer on relevant bullet points of Black history in the US, focusing on citizenship and early language-based access restrictions. We will then use our knowledge of this shared social history - demonstrating how language and race operate as separate, yet intersectional, sociopolitical categories - to illustrate the operation of linguistic racism by considering several brief examples from across institutions. We will look most deeply at education and the law, interrogating the ways in which Standard language ideologies are expected and maintained in these arenas, and how violations of said expectations can work to negatively characterize or sometimes further oppress marginalized populations. I’ll preview for you my current research on ideological uptake and style shifting among Black professionals and judgments of Black professional speech which asks: what perceptual mechanisms help sustain these various linguistic oppressions? We will end by considering concrete steps we can take in our curricula and pedagogy which centralize linguistic justice goals, alongside the development of equitable and representative models of experimentation and accessible distribution of research findings in an increasingly fact phobic world.

Learn more about the Linguistics doctoral program at this virtual fair!

The University of California, Berkeley is holding its second virtual Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair on October 18-22 to help prospective professional, master's, and doctoral students learn more about UC Berkeley overall, our application process, and departments in your area of interest. Register for plenary sessions and department information sessions on our event webpage.

Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair
Dates: Monday, Oct. 18 through Friday, Oct. 22
Times: Throughout each day! Check our agenda for session times.

This admissions fair was developed specifically for underrepresented minority students considering graduate school, though it is open to all attendees.

The Linguistics zoom session is on Oct. 19 from 3-4pm.

Register for the Fair!

Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair flyer

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Christine Beier and Lev Michael have added audio and video recordings of 109 texts in Ikíitu (Zaparoan; Peru) to their growing archival collection (see items ending in 002, 027-029, 031-034, 036-037, 039-042, and 049-053). The texts were produced by speakers Hermenegildo Díaz Cuyasa, Ligia Inuma Inuma, Ema Llona Yareja, and Jaime Pacaya Inuma between 2002 and 2017. Some recordings were made by or with the assistance of Cynthia Anderson Hansen, Marcus Berger, Marcelo Inuma Sinchija, I-wen Lai, Sisi Bautista Pizarro, and Alison Zerbe (MA 2015).

October 8, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

October 7, 2021

The Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership at the Berkeley Haas School of Business will be launching their Responsible Language Guide for AI & ML (on which Julia Nee is an author) with a panel discussion featuring leaders in responsible innovation at several leading tech companies. The event will take place on Thursday, October 14 from 4 to 5pm (register here).

October 5, 2021

Gašper Beguš gave a colloquium talk at USC Linguistics on October 4 entitled "Deep Learning and Phonology: Comparing Behavioral and Neural Speech Data with Outputs of Deep Generative Models."

October 3, 2021

TABLE: Toward a Better Linguistics Environment, a colloquium series taking place this fall, continues on Monday, October 11, with a talk by Robert Englebretson (Rice), held via Zoom and in person in Dwinelle 370 (hybrid) from 3-4:30pm. Those who would like to attend, including Berkeley linguists, need to register for the event regardless of mode of attendance (Zoom registration; in-person registration). The talk is entitled "Linguistics, blindness, and braille: Deconstructing sight-centric assumptions and promoting diversity in teaching and research," and the abstract is as follows:

This talk focuses on blindness as a source of diversity in linguistics teaching and research. I will highlight how enhancing the accessibility of our field enables greater participation, which then feeds back into broader and more diverse research perspectives. I will begin by discussing my work on IPA Braille (Englebretson 2009), which sought to improve general access to our field for blind students and professionals. I will then turn to a discussion of braille as a tactile writing system, and what the unique aspects of (English) braille orthography contribute to the cognitive and reading sciences (e.g. Fischer-Baum and Englebretson 2016). I will conclude with a brief introduction to an ongoing federally-funded multi-disciplinary research project that seeks to address some of the potential barriers to braille literacy (Fischer-Baum, Englebretson, and Holbrook).

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Steve Parker (Dallas International University; SIL International) has archived audio and video recordings of Chamikuro (Arawak; Peru) from 28 virtual sessions with speaker Antonio Inuma Orbe conducted in December 2020 and January 2021 (see 009-037), adding them to his extant collection of field notes on the language from the 1980s. With the exception of a few recordings made in 2019 by Lee Bendezú Bendezú of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, these recordings are the only known recordings of Chamikuro: Don Antonio is one of a handful of remaining speakers, two of whom have passed away since May 2020. Funded by the Endangered Language Fund, Prof. Parker's project was originally supposed to take place in person in the city of Yurimaguas and in the riverine community of Pampa Hermosa; the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the project to a virtual format, facilitated by Pedro Pablo Hernández Fonseca, who set up a computer for Zoom calls and external microphones and recorders.
  • Justin Spence (PhD 2013) has added over 270 new file bundles to the collection Materials of the Hupa Language Documentation Project (see 600-820, from 2005-2008; and 1430-1483, from July to September 2021). The materials stem from a longtime collaboration with speaker Verdena Parker, and include sound recordings of elicitation sessions, (re-)transcription and translation of texts (many of them told by others and/or archived previously), discussions of cultural topics, and more. Other research collaborators from the first period include Amy Campbell (PhD 2012), Ramón Escamilla (PhD 2012), Nicholas Fleisher (PhD 2008), Melodie George-Moore, Victor Golla, Silis Jackson, Ophelia Mose, Lindsey Newbold, and Anne Pycha (PhD 2008).

October 1, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: