News

May 7, 2019

Announcing the 2020 BLS Workshop on “Phonological Representations: At the Crossroad Between Gradience and Categoricity”!  Please mark your calendar for the workshop on Feb 7 & 8, 2020.  Call for papers to follow.

May 3, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week -- it's RRR week AND

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.

In the next few weeks postdoc Bernat Bardagil Mas will give two talks. The first, at the Person & Perspective workshop at USC, is entitled Privative [participant] and partial agreement displacement; the second will be at the University of Potsdam, with the title Panará morphosyntax and extraction restrictions.

April 29, 2019

Help us digitize Linguistics lectures from the past!  This year's Big Give helped us raise about half of the funding needed to digitize 275 reel to reel tapes that were recently found at the BLC.  The 140 recordings were made between 1960-1985.

So far six lectures have been digitized -- you can access them at the links below:

We are hoping to raise the remainder of the funds needed by June 30. To donate, please go to our crowdfunding page at: https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/15081  Thank you!

April 26, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 26 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm  
    Discussion of binding and variable-free semantics (Reading: Ch 15 of Jacobson 2014, Compositional Semantics)
  • Phorum - Monday April 29  - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm 
    Daniel Silverman (SJSU): Evolution of the speech code: Higher order symbolism and the grammatical Big Bang
  • Honors Colloquium - Monday April 29 - 370 Dwinelle - 3-5pm  
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday May 1 - 1303 Dwinelle - 11am-12:30pm 
    Bernat Bardagil-Mas (Berkeley): 
    The language of the Manoki
  • GAIL/FForum - Thursday May 2 - 5:30pm
    Eugene Buckley (UPenn): Change and contact in Pomoan stress patterns 
  • SLUgS - Thursday May 2 - 1229 Dwinelle - 5-6pm 
    End-of-semester potluck! Attendees are encouraged to bring linguistics-themed foods.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday May 3 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30 
    Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley): 
    Paths to exceptional wide scope: Choice functions in Tiwa

April 25, 2019

Coming up on Monday is the annual Honors Colloquium, featuring the work of undergraduates writing honors theses in linguistics. The colloquium will be held in Dwinelle 370 from 3:10-5. This year the presenters will be:

Romi Yount
Title: "Speech Patterns of Bipolar Disorder"
Advisor: Professor Keith Johnson.
 
Eric Chen
Title: "Phonological Reconstruction of Proto-Kampa Consonants"
Advisor:  Professor Lev Michael
Yvette Yi-Chi Wu
Title: "Plural Classifier xie and Grammatical Number in Mandarin Chinese"
Advisors:  Professors Peter Jenks and Amy Rose Deal

April 24, 2019

Congrats to Larry Hyman, who will be delivering the 14th Annual Joshua and Verona Whatmough Lecture at Harvard next week. Larry's talk is entitled The Fall and Rise of Vowel Length in Bantu.

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 19, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 19 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm  
    Madeline Bossi (UC Berkeley) & Michael Diercks (Pomona College): V1 in Kipsigis: Head movement and discourse-based scrambling 
  • Phorum - Monday April 22  - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Yulia Oganian (UCSF): A temporal landmark for syllabic representations of continuous speech in human superior temporal gyrus
  • Linguistics Colloquium - Monday April 22 - 370 Dwinelle - 3-5pm  
    Lenore Grenoble (Chicago): Documenting contact and change in Siberian multilingual contexts
  • Special Anthropology lecture/workshop - Tuesday April 23 -  223 Moses Hall - 3-6pm
    Denise Arnold & Juan de Dios Yapita: De-ontologising Andean landscapes: some reflections for Qaqachaka Marka
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday April 25 - 3401 Dwinelle - 4-5:30PM  
    Adam Benkato (Berkeley): A new copula in an Arabic dialect & fieldwork as a heritage speaker 
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 26 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm  
    Discussion of binding and variable-free semantics (Reading: Ch 15 of Jacobson 2014, Compositional Semantics)

April 18, 2019

The 2018-2019 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, April 22, with a talk by Lenore Grenoble (Chicago). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Documenting Contact and Change in Siberian Multilingual Contexts, and the abstract is as follows:

Multiple indigenous languages in Eurasia are undergoing change and loss as speakers shift to Russian. The language ecologies of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) provide an excellent testing ground for hypotheses about the causes and effects of contact-induced language change. The Sakha language (Turkic) is spoken by a (slim) majority of residents of the Republic, with an estimated 500,000 speakers; several minority indigenous languages are spoken as well. All are undergoing language shift, to varying degrees. Russian, although not the language of the ethnic majority in Sakha, is pervasive with its status as a national language, and as the language of higher education and media. Although we might predict that the use of Sakha supports use of areal features, but that does not appear to be the case today. In this talk I discuss a large, ongoing project that uses mixed methods to document contact and change. Here I focus on the use of experimental methods, with particular attention to word order several Altaic languages: Sakha (Turkic) and Even and Evenki (Tungusic). All three languages show changes from inherited patterns to more Russian-like morphosyntax, including a shift from SOV word order to SVO and word order driven by information structure and changes in clause-combining strategies, as well as some evidence of contact effects in the varieties of Russian used by Sakha speakers. Preliminary work suggests that these changes take place sporadically in the speech of of Even and Evenki speakers, and that language shift probably impedes them from becoming grammaticalized. This hypothesis needs more systematic testing with a combination of experimental and sociolinguistic field data. More research is also needed to see if the innovations are diffusing across speakers of Sakha and whether these changes are indicative of imperfect learning and language shift rather than contact-induced convergence.

April 15, 2019

April 12, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Environmental Engineering Seminar Series - Friday April 12 - 534 Davis Hall - 12-1pm
    Chris Beier (Berkeley): Problems, problem-solvers, and local impacts: A view from Peruvian Amazonia
  • Special lecture - Friday April 12 - 1303 Dwinelle - 2-3pm 
    Craig Cummings (unicode.org): Adding Languages to Computers and Mobile Devices
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 12 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm  
    Eva Portelance (Stanford University): Verb stranding ellipsis in Lithuanian: verbal identity and head movement
  • Phorum - Monday April 15  - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm 
    Meg Cychosz (UCB): The Lexical advantage: Kids learn words, not sounds
  • Linguistics Colloquium - Monday April 15 - 370 Dwinelle - 3-5pm  
    Matt Goldrick (Northwestern): Integration and Segregation in Bilingual Sound Structure Processing
  • SLUgS - Monday April 15 - 1229 Dwinelle - 5-7pm 
    David J. Peterson: TBA
  • Ling 208 Guest Lecture - Tuesday April 16 - 1303 Dwinelle - 12:30-2pm  
    Matt Goldrick (Northwestern):  TBA
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday April 17 - 1303 Dwinelle - 11-12:30PM 
    Chris Beier (Berkeley): TBA
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 19 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm  
    Madeline Bossi (UC Berkeley) & Michael Diercks (Pomona College): V1 in Kipsigis: Head movement and discourse-based scrambling 

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.

A new article by Amy Rose Deal has just appeared in Linguistic Inquiry, entitled Raising to Ergative: Remarks on Applicatives of Unaccusatives.


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.

The 2018-2019 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, April 15, with a talk by Matt Goldrick (Northwestern). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Integration and Segregation in Bilingual Sound Structure Processing, and the abstract is as follows:

A key question in theories of language structure and processing is the degree to which different aspects of linguistic knowledge are processed independently or interactively. I'll discuss ongoing work that has examined these issues in the context of bilingual sound structure processing. When producing tongue twisters, bilinguals produce more overt, sound-category-changing speech errors than monolinguals, specifically within nonsense words consisting of language-unique sound structures (e.g., for Spanish-English bilinguals, nonce forms with initial /s/-stop clusters, which are found only in English). However, while 'shared' speech sound categories (e.g., initial stops) are less susceptible to overt errors, they are the locus of within-category deviations in phonetic properties -- an effect which may be magnified in cognate forms (e.g., teléfono/telephone for Spanish-English bilinguals). This suggests a model incorporating integration as well as segregation of sound structure and lexical knowledge, both within and across languages.

April 9, 2019

Congrats to Hannah Haynie (PhD '12), who has accepted a tenure-track position in the linguistics department at the University of Colorado Boulder! 

April 7, 2019

This Thursday Peter Jenks will give a colloquium at Cornell University, entitled Anchored definite descriptions.