All News

September 26, 2019

We are sad to report that emeritus professor Gary Holland passed away earlier this week. Gary earned his PhD in Linguistics from Berkeley in 1980 and spent the rest of his career here. He became an Emeritus Professor just last year. One of the world’s foremost experts on the Rig Veda, he was a remarkably interdisciplinary scholar, with connections (teaching or research) in Scandinavian Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Celtic Studies, and Classics, among others.  He was also a remarkable servant of the Department of Linguistics and of the University of California.  He served as the Head Graduate Advisor in Linguistics, and in many campus-wide positions in the Academic Senate.  In fact, just this semester he was recalled to work in the Division of Undergraduate Studies.  He won the College of Letters and Sciences “Distinguished Service Award” in 2014.  He shared his love of music and good cheer with many friends in the department and the wider Berkeley community, and will be missed by all.

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

September 22, 2019

Postdoc Bernat Bardagil has had a busy few months. This week he is serving as an external examiner in the doctoral qualification for Edson de Freitas Gomes at the UFPA (Universidade Federal do Pará), for the dissertation Aspectos morfossintáticos em mẽbengokre: transitividade e marcação de argumentos. Earlier in September, he took part in the AGGREGATION Working Meeting at the University of Washington, with Emily Bender's project. Over the summer, he ran the first Escola de Língua Manoki Watjuho Ja'a in the village of Cravari, where a team kick-started a process to revitalize Manoki among a large group of young people in the community. He also more generally did fieldwork over the summer with Mỹky-Manoki, will continue to do some more with the same language and with Panará during the fall.

The Proceedings of WSCLA 23 (Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas) have recently been published, containing the following papers by department members and recent alumni:

Congrats all!

September 21, 2019

Calques is pleased to note that the call for papers for the 2020 Berkeley Linguistic Society Workshop has now been issued and abstracts are now being accepted! The workshop will take place February 7-8, 2020, with the theme of  "Phonological Representations: At the Crossroads of Gradience and Categoricity".

Abstract submission info be found here. Abstracts are due November 1, 2019.

Describing the nature and behavior of the sounds of language is a central concern in linguistics. Topics such as categoricity vs. gradience, the information included in representations, and the place of abstraction in the larger linguistic system are central to many theoretical debates. This workshop aims to bring together different approaches to capturing the behavior of speech sounds by fostering discussion among researchers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Invited Speakers:

Katie Drager (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa)
Bruce Hayes (University of California, Los Angeles)
Stephanie Shih (University of Southern California)

For questions, please email

September 20, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Phorum - Monday Sept 23 -  1229 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Khalil Iskarous (USC): The Space of Optimality Theories
  • Linguistics Dept Colloquium - Monday Sept 23 - 370 Dwinelle - 3:10-5pm 
    Khalil Iskarous (USC): The Dynamics of Linguistic Development: The Unfolding of Skill Interaction
  • Sociolinguistics Lab at Berkeley (SLaB) - Tuesday, Sept 24 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3:30-5PM
    Practice talk(s) for NWAV 48
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Sept 26 - 1303 Dwinelle 
    Edwin Ko (UC Berkeley): Northern Pomo language revitalization: The function of digital technology
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 27 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Emily Drummond (UC Berkeley) & Line Mikkelsen (UC Berkeley): Secondary number agreement in Karuk

September 19, 2019

Berkeley sociolinguistics will be represented at the upcoming conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation 48 by:

  • Isaac Bleaman: Linguistic prescriptivism, social conservatism, and phonetic drift in language maintenance communities
  • Justin Davidson, Joseph Roy, and Gyula Zsombok: Workshop: Creating interactive shiny dashboards to showcase sociolinguistic research: Seeing the forest and the trees

Congrats all!

The 2019-2020 colloquium series kicks off this coming Monday, Sept 23, with a talk by Khalil Iskarous (USC). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled The Dynamics of Linguistic Development: The Unfolding of Skill Interaction, and the abstract is as follows:

Recent work on the development of production, perception, and phonological skills in children has shown a remarkable amount of interaction between these skills, so that it is difficult to understand each separately from its relation to the others. This talk will introduce a predictive dynamical systems-based model of linguistic development that tries to capture these fundamental interactions between the skills. The goal is not to partake in the seemingly eternal zero-sum theoretical debate between nativist and empiricist outlooks, but to show how an explicit dynamical account can integrate linguistic input, architectural properties of a learning system, and a developing grammar, together with an articulatory action system and a perceptual system that allow a child to participate in their world through language. Some of the phenomena to be accounted for are Vihman’s articulatory filter and templatic regression, as well as the influence of phonetic practice on early phonological/lexical patterning.

The program for the upcoming 2020 winter meeting of SSILA, the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, has just been released. SSILA will meet concurrently with the LSA. The program promises the following presentations by current department members and recent alumni:

  • Brady Dailey (Boston University), Ethan Rimdzius (Boston University), Julia Nee (Berkeley), Edwin Ko (Berkeley), Jimmy Sbordone (Boston University), Erica Carson Jr. (Redwood Valley Rancheria; Pomo/Wappo), Catherine Connor (Boston University): Web-based Stories and texts promote learning engagement in language revitalization
  • Zachary O'Hagan: Complex Temporal Relations in Caquinte: The Case of =ta and =ja
  • Richard Rhodes: On the phonetic nature of Proto-Algonquian *θ
  • Emily Clem (PhD '19): Distinguishing switch-reference and relativization in Amahuaca
  • Amalia Skilton (PhD '19): Co-speech pointing gestures by Ticuna speakers: A corpus study

Congrats all!

In the days ahead Amy Rose Deal will be traveling to the University of Toronto to give a colloquium talk entitled Interaction, satisfaction, and the PCC, as well as a semantics talk on a recent manuscript entitled Uncentered attitude reports.

Calques is pleased to announce the colloquium schedule for spring 2020 -- mark your calendars! All talks are 3:10-5pm in Dwinelle 370.

  • Monday, March 16, 2020:  Johanna Nichols (Berkeley)
  • Monday, March 30, 2020: Kristen Syrett (Rutgers)
  • Monday, April 13, 2020:  Zenzi Griffin (UT Austin)
  • Monday, April 20, 2020:  David Goldstein (UCLA)
  • Monday, April 27, 2020:  Juliet Stanton (NYU)

September 13, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Phorum - Monday Sept 16 - 1303 Dwinelle  - 3p  *Note special time and place*
    Katherine Demuth (Macquarie University): Resolving Variation: Listeners, Learners & Grammar
  • On the same page talk series - Wednesday Sept 18 - Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall - 4p 
    Indigenous Bay AreaLine Mikkelsen will moderate a discussion with panelists Vincent Medina (Chochenyo Ohlone, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe), Peter Nelson (Coast Miwok, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria; SDSU), and Linda Yamane (Rumsien Ohlone)
  • Meaning Sciences Club - Thursday Sept 19 - Moses Hall 234 - 12:30-2p
    Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford): Ad-nominal Epistemic Adverbs Without Hidden Structure
  • Language Revitalization Working Group - Thursday Sept 19 - 3401 Dwinelle - 1-2p
    Conversation about the role of universities in language revitalization (led by Julia Nee, readings available on our bCourses page)
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Sept 19 - 1303 Dwinelle  - 3:40-5p
    Line Mikkelsen will lead a round table discussion of publishing based on fieldwork data. 
  • SLUgS - Thursday Sept 19 - Victory Point Cafe - 5p
    Linguistics Game Night: We will be meeting at Victory Point (a board game cafe) to play linguistics-themed board games. Please RSVP at so we can make a reservation! (Event will be paid for by SLUgS funds.)
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 20 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Ksenia Ershova (Stanford): Finding configurationality in polysynthesis: Wh-agreement as a diagnostic for clause structure in West Circassian

September 12, 2019

The Department of Linguistics will be searching this year for a new Assistant Professor of Phonology!

The deadline for applications is Nov. 15, 2019. Apply at

September 9, 2019

The program for the 9th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA IX) has just been released, promising the following presentations by current department members and recent alumni:

  • Zachary O'Hagan: Complex Temporal Relations in Caquinte: The Case of =ta and =ja
  • Wendy Liz Arbey López Marquez: Los aplicativos en el popoluca de la Sierra
  • Myriam Lapierre, Tessa Scott, Karee Garvin: Morphologically conditioned (sub)segmental subtraction in Mam
  • Kelsey Neely (PhD '19): Metrical phonology in the verbal domain in Yaminawa (Pano, Peru)
  • Amalia Horan Skilton (PhD '19): Demonstratives and reaching space in Ticuna

Congrats all!

September 6, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 6 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Round robin -- bring us a short update on your syntax/semantics related recent thinking!
  • Experimental Phonology Working Group - Monday Sept 9 - Dwinelle 1226 - 10:30-11:30am
    Contact Jesse Zymet for more information.
  • Phorum - Monday Sept 9 - 1229 Dwinelle  - 12-1p
    Santiago Barreda-Castanon (UC Davis): Speech perception and apparent-speaker characteristics
  • Sociolinguistics lab -- Tuesday Sept 10 - 1229 Dwinelle - 3:30-5pm
    Contact Isaac Bleaman for more information.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Sept 12 - 1303 Dwinelle  - 3:40-5p
    Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley):
    Documenting Tiwa kinship terms
  • SLUgS - Thursday Sept 12 - 1229 Dwinelle - 5p
    PhonLab tour: we will be meeting at 1229 Dwinelle at our normal time (5 pm) before going to the Phon Lab to meet with Keith Johnson, learn about phonetic tools, and ask questions

September 5, 2019

Zach O'Hagan sends the following report from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

If you have questions about the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages and its digital catalog the California Language Archive (CLA), don't hesitate to email us at, or talk to Andrew Garrett (Director), Ronald Sprouse (IT), or Zachary O'Hagan (GSR). We collect analog and digital materials on languages of the Americas, as well as from all Berkeley-affiliated researchers, irrespective of region of the world. Our holdings include over 450 collections, with approximately 19,000 items and 32,500 digital files, consisting of paper materials (field notes, file slips, etc.), audio and video recordings, photographs, a stuffed American goldfinch, and more! Much of it is born-digital or has been digitized. You can take the initiative with your own archiving, using our pre-archive interface. Here are some other news items since we last reported in April.

  • The Survey/CLA is now on Instagram! Follow us @surveycla. Our account profiles the speakers of indigenous languages represented in our collections. (You can also follow us on Facebook at Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, where announce new collections and other pertinent news.)
  • We hosted visits to the archive from people representing Karuk, Nez Perce, Northern Paiute, Pomo, Salinan, and Washo language groups.
  • We rescued from a book giveaway a reel-to-reel tape from the graduate linguistic field methods course on Mongolian taught in 1967-1968 by Karl Zimmer (1927-2019). The recording was produced in what is now the Berkeley Language Center Recording Studio. If you can help us identify the speaker of Mongolian heard on the recording, please email us at
  • We made public three short recordings of Newari (Tibeto-Burman; Nepal) from Mary Haas's 1961-1962 field methods course with speaker Sushila Joshi.
  • Emily Clem (PhD 2019) archived audio recordings and slides from her dissertation defense from May 2019, available here.
  • We accessioned the collection Time-aligned Annotations of Bodega Miwok Sound Recordings (Miwokan; CA). These annotations, transcription with glossing, were made in ELAN by Andrew Cowell (CU Boulder) based on Catherine Callaghan's (PhD 1963) recordings of the language with speaker Sarah Ballard (1881-1978) in 1960.
  • We accessioned a collection of sound recordings and field notes from the LSA Linguistic Institute's field methods course on Kashaya (Pomoan; CA), taught by Pamela Munro (UCLA) at Berkeley 10 years ago. The language consultant was Anita Silva.
  • We accessioned a collection of four recordings (with transcription) of lexical elicitation of Bodega Miwok, made by Richard Applegate (PhD 1972) with Sarah Ballard in 1974.
  • We digitized and made public new materials related to Nez Perce (Sahaptian; northwest US). Most are digital images of Series 2 and Series 4 of the Haruo Aoki Papers on the Nez Perce Language, consisting of the original transcriptions, translations, and annotations of the stories that feature in Aoki and Walker's (1989) "Nez Perce Oral Narratives." Also available are Marcus Ware's (1959) recordings with speaker Corbett Lawyer, which include lists of words, phrases, and sentences.
  • Kelsey Neely (PhD 2019) archived audio and video recordings and slides from her dissertation defense from October 2018, available here. She also added 50 ELAN annotation files (transcription with Spanish translation) to her collection Materials of the Yaminawa Documentation Project.

Here are some late-breaking additions to our file of linguists' summer updates:

  • With the funding provided by the Sawyer Fellowship, undergraduate students Teela Huff and Nicholas Carrick under the guidance of graduate student Myriam Lapierre went to Mato Grosso, Brazil and conducted linguistic fieldwork with the Xavante community of Etenhiritipa. The Xavante language, or A’uwẽas it is called by native speakers, is a Central Jêlanguage spoken in west-central Brazil. During their time in the community, they elicited approximately 12 hours of Swaedish list data and gathered a sizeable amount of vocabulary from participant observation with the community. In the upcoming semester, the goal of this project is to input all of this fieldwork data into a FLEx database that then can be archived in the California Language Archive as well as be utilized to create a dictionary for the Xavante community. Alongside the dictionary, pedagogical materials that the community desires will be created. The project will then focus on the creation of a preliminary phonological analysis as well as incorporating Xavante lexical items into a pre-existing database to perform historical reconstruction of Macro-Je.
  • Miriam R L Petruck participated in The First Designing Meaning Representations Workshop held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Florence, Italy, presenting her work on Meaning Representation of Null-Instantiated Semantic Roles in FrameNet, and a Special Theme Session at the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference on Cross-theoretical Perspectives on Frame-based Lexical and Constructional Analyses: Bridging Qualitative and Quantitative Studies, presenting work with Lori Levin entitled Frame Semantic Parsing Needs Constructions.
  • Jesse Zymet presented work with Margit Bowler on so-called majority rules vowel harmony in Warlpiri at the Manchester Phonology Meeting, in Manchester, UK. He also participated in UCLA's Doctoral Hooding Ceremony (almost a year after filing the dissertation!), and had a paper with Jeff Adler (co-first author) accepted with minor revisions to Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. The paper is entitled "Irreducible parallelism in phonology: evidence for lookahead from Mohawk, Maragoli, Sino-Japanese, and Lithuanian"; here's a link to the most recent version. Finally, this summer Jesse has been working with Peter Jurgec (University of Toronto) to put together an experiment that assesses speaker knowledge of patterns of morphophonological variation in Slovene. Jurgec is currently conducting this experiment in Slovenia.
    Jesse Zymet and Margit BowlerZymet graduation

Tessa Scott sends the following report:

Henry Sales worked as the Mam language consultant for the graduate field methods class two years ago and has continued to work with graduate students in the department on research on Mam. Henry is teaching a Mam language class at Laney College in Oakland, with assistance from Tessa Scott and recent alumna Emily Clem. The class meets every Saturday from 9:30-11:30am in room E207 at Laney College in Oakland. The link to the class website is here. All are welcome to come; the class is unofficial and free. If people want to be added to the mailing list they can email Tessa ( This class had spring and summer iterations as well -- check out this KQED story about efforts to teach Mam in Oakland.

Calques has been made aware of the following research groups and talk series meeting this semester:
  • Experimental Phonology Working Group  --  meeting on Mondays, 10:30-11:30am, in Dwinelle 1226. The first meeting will be Monday, September 9. Contact Jesse Zymet for more information.
  • Fieldwork Forum  -- meeting on Thursdays, 3:40-5:00pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Edwin Ko, Emily Drummond and Wesley dos Santos. More info on the website: Fieldwork Forum
  • Gesture and Multimodality Group -- meeting certain Fridays, 9-11am. Contact Eve Sweetser for more information.
  • Group in American Indian Languages -- meeting dates and times TBD; contact Zach O'Hagan for more information.
  • Language Revitalization Working Group  -- meeting Thursdays 1-2pm, in Dwinelle 3401. More info on the website: Language Revitalization Working Group
  • Metaphor Group -- meeting times TBD; contact Eve Sweetser for more information.
  • Phorum  -- meeting Mondays 12-1pm, in 1229 Dwinelle. Organized by Emily Grabowski and Yevgeniy Melguy. More info on the website: Phorum
  • Society of Linguistics Undergraduates Students (SLUgS) -- meeting certain Thursdays 5pm
  • Sociolinguistics lab -- meeting on certain Tuesdays, 3:30-5pm, in Dwinelle 1229. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 10. Contact Isaac Bleaman for more information.
  • Syntax & Semantics Circle  -- meeting on Fridays, 3-4:30pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Tessa Scott & Schuyler Laparle. More info on the website: Syntax and Semantics Circle