News

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

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.

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.

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.

April 5, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 5 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm 
    Amy Rose Deal (Berkeley): Interaction, satisfaction, and the PCC
  • Phonetics and Phonology Research Weekend (PHREND) - Saturday April 6 - Dwinelle 370 
  • Phorum - Monday Apr 8  - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Junko Ito & Armin Mester (UCSC): Syntax-Prosody Faithfulness
  • Linguistics Colloquium - Monday April 8 - 370 Dwinelle - 3-5pm  
    Elizabeth Closs Traugott (Stanford): On the Rise of the Dative and Benefactive Alternations in English: The Intertwining of Differentiation with Attraction
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday April 10 - 1303 Dwinelle - 11-12:30PM 
    Beth Piatote (Berkeley): TBA
  • SLUgS - Thursday April 11 - 1229 Dwinelle - 5-6pm 
    Meeting about the research of Cal Linguistics professors and graduate students -- we will be hosting a few professors and graduate students who will be sharing about their research. 
  • 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

April 4, 2019

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Emily Clem, who has just accepted a tenure-track position in the linguistics department at UC San Diego! 

The 2018-2019 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, April 8, with a talk by Elizabeth Closs Traugott (Stanford). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled On the Rise of the Dative and Benefactive Alternations in English: The Intertwining of Differentiation with Attraction, and the abstract is as follows:

The rise of the ‘dative’ alternation (e.g. She gave her neighbor birthday presents ~ She gave birthday presents to her neighbor) has been shown to develop in later Middle English, around 1400 (Zehentner 2018). Building on Zehentner and Traugott (Forthcoming), I outline the rise of the benefactive alternation (e.g. build her a house ~ build a house for her) after 1600 from a historical constructionalist perspective and compare it with the rise of the dative alternation. My focus is on what evidence these developments provide for De Smet et al.’s (2018) discussion of attraction and differentiation. De Smet et al. propose that when functionally similar constructions come to overlap analogical attraction may occur. So may differentiation, but this process involves attraction to other subnetworks and is both “accidental” and “exceptional”. I show that in the histories of the dative and benefactive alternations functionally similar constructions come to overlap, and differentiation from each other plays as large a role as attraction to each other. Both attraction and differentiation occur at different levels: the verb and its distribution, the alternation subtype, and the larger system. Differentiation plays a considerably more significant role than De Smet et al. propose.

April 3, 2019

Coming up this weekend is the Phonetics and Phonology Research Weekend, a.k.a. (PHREND). The workshop will be held Saturday, April 6, in Dwinelle 370, with a poster session to be held in the department hallway on Level A. Berkeley will be represented by Meg Cychosz, Karee Garvin, Emily Grabowski,  Sharon InkelasKeith JohnsonMyriam LapierreYevgeniy MelguyEmily Remirez,  Martha Schwarz, Alice Shen, and Jesse Zymet. The full program is available here.

April 2, 2019

Zach O'Hagan writes with the following news from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

Terry Regier visited Sweden and Germany March 2-13 for a series of talks: An invited keynote at the kickoff event for the Chalmers AI Research Center in Gothenburg, followed by talks at the University of Gothenburg, Uppsala University, and Leipzig University.

April 1, 2019

Alumnus Len Talmy (Ph.D. 1972) writes to share the news that he has just returned from the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL), near Tokyo, where he gave two talks on his recent Targeting book and consulted with the group there researching his motion typology.

March 29, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week or so:

  • Phorum - Monday Apr 1 - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Rachel Arsenault (UCB): Ultrasound training does not improve children's non-native contrast perception
  • Psycholinguistics Guest Lecture - Tuesday April 2 - Dwinelle 1303 - 12:30-2pm
    Steve Piantadosi will be speaking about his work on Tsimane (specifically: how Tsimane children learn to count), among other topics.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday April 3 - 1303 Dwinelle - 11-12:30PM
    Lance Twitchell (University of Alaska): Haa Dachxánxʼi Sáani Kagéiyi Yís: Haa Yoo Xʼatángi Kei Naltseen – For Our Little Grandchildren: Language Revitalization Among The Tlingit
  • Group in American Indian Languages - Thursday April 4 - 6pm  [note rescheduled date]
    Tasha Hauff (Berkeley): The Product of all our Hard Work: a Case Study in improving Lakota Language Education in K-12 Classrooms
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday April 5 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm 
    Amy Rose Deal (Berkeley): Interaction, satisfaction, and the PCC
  • Phonetics and Phonology Research Weekend (PHREND) - Saturday April 6 - Dwinelle 370 

March 25, 2019

The 4th volume of the Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America has just been published, showcasing research presented in January at the 2019 Annual Meeting. In the collection are three papers by students and faculty: 

Congrats all!

Congrats to alumna Elise Stickles (PhD '16), who has just accepted a tenure-track position in the English department at the University of British Columbia!