All News

April 1, 2022

It has come to our attention that a group of disgruntled linguists at a rival institution have put together a newsletter of mediocre-sounding linguistics events purportedly taking place here on campus, which conflict with our own very real events. Please be aware that Calques (a play on "Cal" + calques) does not endorse this other newsletter, published under the name "False Friends of UC Berkeley Linguistics." We will be issuing a cease and desist.

- Isaac Bleaman, Calques editor

(Happy April Fools' Day.)

In and around the linguistics department in the next week(+):

  • Society of Linguistics Undergraduate Students (SLUgS) - Saturday Apr 9 - Dwinelle 370 and Zoom - 9am-4:30pm
    Come out to the Sixth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium and support undergraduate research! The Symposium schedule can be found here. All are welcome.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Apr 6 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom (p/w fforum) - 3:10-4pm
    Pamela Munro (UCLA): TBA.
  • Phorum - Friday Apr 1 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom - 1-2pm
    Julianne Kapner (UC Berkeley): The University Next Door: Sound change in an urban Rochester neighborhood.
  • Phorum - Friday Apr 8 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom - 1-2pm
    Marko Drobnjak (UC Berkeley): Evaluation of testimony: Speech perception vs. witness credibility.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Apr 1 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Colin Brown (UCLA): Variable interrogative flip in evidential questions.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Apr 8 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Schuyler Laparle (UC Berkeley): By the way, did you know that digression is multimodal?.
  • Zoom Phonology - Friday Apr 1 - Zoom - 9am
    Canaan Breiss (MIT): Token frequency in the grammar: A case study of Japanese Voiced Velar Nasalization.
    For the Zoom link or to be added to the Zoom Phonology mailing list, contact Karee Garvin.

March 31, 2022

Gašper Beguš gave two invited talks this week, and a third is coming up on Friday (in-person in Berkeley):

1. At the Harvard School of Engineering (Soft Math Lab): "Approaching unknown communication systems with unsupervised deep neural networks trained on speech." Link to the event description.

2. At École Normale Supérieure (Cognitive Machine Learning Team): "Deep Learning, Language Acquisition, Auditory Brainstem Response, and Phonology"

This Friday's talk:

3. At the UC Berkeley NLP seminar (hybrid): "Cognitive modeling, neural network interpretability, and GANs"
Friday, April 1, from 11-12 Pacific. This talk will be held in-person in South Hall 202.

March 30, 2022

Jasper Talwani (class of 2023) was just selected as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. This grant awards $5,000 for his proposed 8-week summer research project that will describe and analyze valency-changing suffixes in Highland Chontal, a language isolate of Oaxaca, Mexico, including a language revitalization workshop with Chontal collaborators in Santa María Zapotitlán. These funds will go to research expenses including equipment for community auto-documentation projects and the production and printing of pedagogical materials. He will produce his senior thesis on the basis of this collaborative research.

March 27, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Madeline Bossi has archived 51 new file bundles of recordings and notes from elicitation sessions on Kipsigis (Southern Nilotic; Kenya) with speakers Linus Kipkoech, Victor Mutai, and Kiplangat Yegon. See file bundles 2019-26.102 through 2019-26.152 here. The work dates from June 2021 through March 2022, and the bundles include useful descriptive titles (e.g., "Grammatical elicitation: Converbial phrases and complementation") and descriptions.

March 25, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

March 24, 2022

The Fourth Symposium on Amazonian Languages (SAL 4) will be held at UC Berkeley during the weekend of April 2-3.

All talks will take place in Dwinelle 370. The full program is available here.

More information from the conference organizers, Allegra Robertson and Wesley dos Santos:

What is SAL 4?
The conference consists of 24 talks by scholars working in different subfields of linguistics – from phonetics to typology to semantics – on the following languages: A’ingae, Caquinte, Chamikuro, Enlhet-Enenlhet, Guaraní, Guató, Iskonawa, Iquito, Ka’apor, Kawahíva, Kichwa, Panará, Maropa, Mʉteã, Nadëb, Nheengatu, Secoya, Shiwilu, Siriano, Tuparí, Wari’, and Yanesha’.

Do I need to register?
No! Attendance is open to all, and there is no registration fee. Please feel free to circulate this message.

How can I stay in the loop?
If you are interested in receiving future communications about the conference, please email to be added to the mailing list.

March 23, 2022

An article by Gašper Beguš titled "Distinguishing cognitive from historical influences in phonology" has just been published in Language. Click here to read it. Congratulations, Gašper!

March 18, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Spring Break!
  • Zoom Phonology - Friday Mar 18 - Zoom - 9am
    Phonology problem set show-and-tell.
    For the Zoom link or to be added to the Zoom Phonology mailing list, contact Karee Garvin.

March 15, 2022

Katie Russell's article "Interactions of Nasal Harmony and Word-Internal Language Mixing in Paraguayan Guaraní" was just published in the journal Languages as part of a special issue on "Word Formation and Language Contact: A Formal Perspective." Congratulations, Katie!

March 14, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Hannah Sande, with the assistance of Julianne Kapner, has added 63 file bundles of audio and video recordings of elicitation, texts, and other activities related to work with speakers of Guébie (Kru; Côte d'Ivoire). The new bundles -- see 2014-15.081 through 2014-15.144 -- stem from in-person and virtual fieldwork done in 2018 and 2019, and also include other activities such as translation.

March 11, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

March 8, 2022

We are saddened to learn of the recent deaths of Haruo Aoki (PhD Berkeley 1965), Professor Emeritus of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley; and Terrence Kaufman (PhD Berkeley 1963), Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Aoki was an authority on Nez Perce, the author of a grammar and dictionary of the language and the editor of two Nez Perce text volumes. Kaufman was one of the foremost specialists in Mesoamerican Indigenous languages and a significant historical linguist. For more information about their lives and accomplishments see this Facebook post.

March 6, 2022

Congratulations to Mairi McLaughlin who just guest edited a special issue of L2 Journal on the Future of Translation in Higher Education.

March 4, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

March 2, 2022

Congratulations to Martha Schwarz, who successfully applied for a departmental Graduate Diversity Pilot summer grant to become certified in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)!

March 1, 2022

February 27, 2022

Annie Helms's article "Bay Area Spanish: Regional sound change in contact languages" has been published in Isogloss: Open Journal of Romance Linguistics, as part of the special issue Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 17 with selected papers from the Going Romance conference in 2020. Congratulations, Annie!

Zachary O'Hagan published a new article in Cadernos de Etnolingüística, "Morphosyntax and Semantics of Psych-predicates in Caquinte." Congratulations, Zachary!

February 25, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Mar 2 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom (p/w fforum) - 3:10-4pm
    Peter Jenks (UC Berkeley): Interrogating the "field" -- a discussion on the term "fieldwork," critique, and its future.
  • Phorum - Friday Feb 25 - Zoom only - 1-2pm
    John Starr (Cornell): A first look at mind rhymes.
  • Phorum - Friday Mar 4 - Zoom only - 1-2pm
    Andrew Cheng (Simon Fraser University; PhD 2020): Measuring creak in novel words in Infant- and Adult-Directed Speech.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 25 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Márta Abrusán (Institut Jean Nicod): Varieties of Perspective Shift: Protagonist Projection vs. Free Indirect Discourse.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Mar 4 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Wesley dos Santos (UC Berkeley): Reassessing Tupí-Guaraní "nominalizers" through Kawahíva.
  • Zoom Phonology - Friday Mar 4 - Zoom - 9am
    Karee Garvin (University of Delaware; PhD 2021): Constraining place of articulation effects in phonotactic distribution.
    For the Zoom link or to be added to the Zoom Phonology mailing list, contact Karee Garvin.