News

October 18, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 18 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    NELS practice talks, featuring: Emily Clem (UC San Diego), Nicholas Rolle (Princeton) & Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley): Post-syntactic altruism; Emily Drummond & Zachary O'Hagan: Morphological person restrictions and the pressure to realize local persons; Tessa Scott: Pronominal licensing in Mam (Mayan)

  • Phorum - Monday Oct 21 - 1229 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Andrew Cheng (UC Berkeley): A cross-linguistic comparison of back vowels in English-Korean bilinguals
  • Linguistics Dept Colloquium - Monday Oct 21 - Dwinelle 370 - 3-4pm
    Seth Cable (UMass Amherst): Two Paths to Habituality: Imperfective Mode vs. Habitual Mode in Tlingit (and Simple Present in English)
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 24 - 1303 Dwinelle - 3:40-5pm
    Sandy Chung (UC Santa Cruz): Getting beyond dissonance in fieldwork

Terry Regier will be giving an invited talk in December at the 2019 Amsterdam Colloquium, in a workshop on semantic universals. Shortly thereafter, a talk entitled "Semantic categories of artifacts and animals reflect efficient coding", by Noga Zaslavsky, Terry Regier, Naftali Tishby, and Charles Kemp, will be presented at the 2020 meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL), co-located with the LSA in New Orleans this coming January. Terry also wishes to share the good news that Noga Zaslavsky, who was a visiting graduate student in the Language and Cognition Lab for the past two years, is now a postdoctoral Fellow in Computation at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

October 17, 2019

The 2019-2020 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, Oct 21, with a talk by Seth Cable (UMass). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Two Paths to Habituality: Imperfective Mode vs. Habitual Mode in Tlingit (and Simple Present in English), and the abstract is as follows:

Despite its morpho-syntactic simplicity, the English sentence in (1) expresses an especially complex and still deeply puzzling meaning, one having to do with the subject’s habits, propensities, dispositions, duties, etc.

(1) My father eats salmon.

Interestingly, in the Tlingit language (Na-Dene; Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon), there seem to be two means for expressing the general meaning of (1). The first is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Imperfective Mode’ (2a); the second is to use a verb in the so-called ‘Habitual Mode’ (2b).

(2) a. Ax̱            éeshch        tʼá                   ax̱á.
          1sgPOSS father.ERG king.salmon 3O.IMPRV.3S.eat
My father eats king salmon (MD)

b. Ax̱            éesh    x̱áat      ux̱áaych.
    1sgPOSS father salmon 3O.HAB.3S.eat
My father eats salmon. (SE)

This of course raises the following questions: (i) What exactly is the morpho-syntactic and semantic difference (if any) between the two Tlingit verbal forms in (2)? (ii) How do either of these verbal forms relate syntactically or semantically to the English simple present verb in (1)? In this talk, I will principally address the first of these questions. We will see that there are indeed some important semantic and (morpho-)syntactic differences between ‘imperfective habituals’ in Tlingit (2a) and ‘habitual-marked habituals’ (2b). In particular, I will argue that imperfective habituals have the general structure in (3a), where the ‘habituality’ in the semantics is contributed directly by the imperfective aspect (Deo 2009, Arregui et al. 2014). On the other hand, habitual-marked habituals have the structure in (3b). Under this proposal, the Habitual Mode morphology is the realization T(ense), when the T-head is bound by a temporal quantifier (e.g. tlákw ‘always’, wáa ng̱aneen sá ‘sometimes’). Furthermore, it is this temporal quantifier – which in some sentences may be implicit/covert (2b) – which contributes the understood ‘habituality’, and not the Habitual Mode morphology itself.

(3) a. Syntax of (2a): [TP T [AspP IMPRVGEN [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

b. Syntax of (2b): [TP TempQuant [TP T [AspP ASP [VP my father eat salmon ] … ]

Finally, I will begin to outline a defense of the claim that English sentences with simple (present) verbs, like (1), are syntactically ambiguous, and can in principle receive either of the structural analyses in (3).

October 16, 2019

Graduate students are invited to apply for the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization, for which the application period is now open. A Designated Emphasis is like a graduate minor. As detailed here, the DE in Indigenous Language Revitalization creates an interdisciplinary course of study, drawing together an intellectual cohort that will equip graduate students from various departments with knowledge of the methods, histories, and goals of indigenous language revitalization and reclamation. The DE emphasizes interdisciplinary coursework and hands-on experience (through practicum or fieldwork credits) that center on the critical methods and histories of the attempted eradication, the persistence, and the revitalization of indigenous languages in the context of colonization. While the content of the DE primarily focuses on indigenous contexts in the Americas, it is relevant to indigenous settings elsewhere.

Applications are due on November 2! See application information here.

October 11, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 11 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Round 1 of NELS practice talks, featuring: Virginia Dawson: Disjunction is not Boolean: novel evidence from Tiwa; Schuyler Laparle: At the syntax-pragmatics interface: a quantitative study of aspect in locative inversion; Amy Rose Deal: Interaction, satisfaction, and the PCC
  • Phorum - Monday Oct 14 - 1229 Dwinelle - 12-1pm
    Alice Shen (UC Berkeley) - Switch costs in Mandarin-English bilingual auditory comprehension
  • Special information session - Monday Oct 14 - Dwinelle 370 - 3-4pm
    Adam Politis (NIH): Careers in Speech Language Pathology
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 17 - 1303 Dwinelle - 3:40-5pm
    Zachary Wellstood (UC Berkeley): Developing the next generation of researchers investigating Khoisan languages
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 18 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Round 2 of NELS practice talks, featuring: Emily Clem (UC San Diego), Nicholas Rolle (Princeton) & Virginia Dawson (UC Berkeley): Post-syntactic altruism; Emily Drummond & Zachary O'Hagan: Morphological person restrictions and the pressure to realize local persons; Tessa Scott: Pronominal licensing in Mam (Mayan)

October 10, 2019

The 2019 Annual Meeting on Phonology is taking place this weekend at Stony Brook. Berkeley is represented by two talks by current dept members and recent alumni:

  • Karee Garvin, Myriam Lapierre , Martha Schwarz and Sharon Inkelas: Modeling Vowel Quantity Scales in Q Theory
  • Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18) and Florian Lionnet (PhD '16): Phantom structure: A representational account of floating tone association

Congrats all!

The program has just been released for the upcoming Acoustical Society of America (ASA) meeting in San Diego. The department will be represented by the following talks (thanks to Emily Remirez for compiling these):

  • Andrew Cheng - 'No' versus 'Aniyo': Back vowel diphthongization in heritage Korean
  • Meg Cychosz - Novel acoustic measures of coarticulation reveal morphological planning in child speech
  • Emily Grabowski - Effects of pitch height and contour on duration perception
  • Emily Remirez - Phonetic cues influence judgment of syntax

Congrats all!

October 9, 2019

Berkeley Linguistics graduate students were recently awarded a campus GROW grant, in support of wellness activities for grad students, and participated in a screen printing workshop last Friday. Students printed posters, tote bags, and t-shirts with designs by Julia Nee and Emily Remirez. Pictured at the workshop and with its results are Allegra Robertson, Edwin Ko, Meg Cychosz, Julia Nee, and Emily Remirez.

Allegra Robertson, Edwin KoMeg Cychosz, Julia Nee, Emily Remirez

October 5, 2019

Congrats to Ruth Rouvier, who has recently received two grants in support of her dissertation fieldwork -- one from the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research and one from the The International Research Foundation for English Language Education under their Research Priority on Revitalization of Endangered Indigenous Languages. In June Ruth also co-presented a paper at the Linguistic Research With Diaspora Communities workshop (associated with the LSA institute at UC Davis) entitled "Ideologies of language purity in healthcare interpreting", with co-presenters  Alma Caravarin (Southeast Asian Assistance Center) and Sanam Janamian (Language World Services).

October 4, 2019

The 2019 Annual Meeting on Phonology is taking place this weekend at Stony Brook. Berkeley is represented by two talks by current dept members and recent alumni:

  • Karee Garvin, Myriam Lapierre , Martha Schwarz and Sharon Inkelas: Modeling Vowel Quantity Scales in Q Theory
  • Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18) and Florian Lionnet (PhD '16): Phantom structure: A representational account of floating tone association

Congrats all!

October 3, 2019

The program for the upcoming 2020 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America has been released, promising at least the following presentations by current department members (apart from those in special sessions):

Congrats all!

Congrats to Sharon Inkelas, who has been named a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America! Fellows are chosen in reflection of distinguished contributions to the discipline. Sharon and her fellow new LSA fellows will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the upcoming LSA Annual Meeting.

September 26, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

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.

The 2019-2020 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, Sept 30, with a talk by Beth Piatote (Berkeley). Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled Nez Perce word for shark, and the abstract is as follows:

In this talk Prof. Piatote will share some pieces of an essay collection that she is working on that deals with translation and language revitalization. The title of the manuscript (and the talk) is Nez Perce Word for Shark. She will also share excerpts from her forthcoming short story collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint 2019), that engage Nez Perce language and aesthetics, and discuss movements within Indigenous Language Revitalization to use creative writing in language work.

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 blsworkshop@berkeley.edu.

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

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)