All News

September 2, 2022

In and around the Department of Linguistics in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Sept 7 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom (password: fforum) - 3:10-4pm
    Keren Rice (Toronto): "Ethics in linguistic work with Indigenous communities in Canada."
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 2 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4:30pm
    CJ Brickhouse (Stanford): "Revisiting California's apparent low-back merger: A lot of thoughts about LOT and THOUGHT."
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 9 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Emily Grabowski (Berkeley): "Exploring phonetic time series analysis and representations."
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 2 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Round robin.

August 31, 2022

Calques is sharing the following announcement from Amber Galvano, one of the co-organizers of the Sociolinguistics Lab at Berkeley:

Our first SLaB meeting will be Monday, September 12th, 2-3pm, in 5125 Dwinelle (Spanish & Portuguese Library) and on Zoom. The deadline to vote here on this semester's readings, the first of which will be discussed on the 12th, is next Wednesday, September 7th.

August 30, 2022

Congratulations to Andrew Garrett and Alice Harris on the publication of their article "Assessing scholarship in documentary linguistics" in Language!

August 29, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Jack Merrill (PhD 2018) has archived a new collection of materials related to Sereer (Senegambian; Senegal, The Gambia). The materials are audio recordings of elicitation sessions, and a FLEx database with over 5,000 lexical entries and scores of texts! The work is primarily in collaboration with speakers Maryama Diouf and Malick Loum, and Nico Baier (PhD 2018). It began in Berkeley in 2013 (Loum, Merrill, Baier), following the 2012-2013 field methods course for which Mr. Loum was the consultant; it continued in Senegal in 2015 (Diouf, Merrill). The FLEx database is a continuation of the one developed by class participants.

August 26, 2022

In and around the Department of Linguistics in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Aug 31 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3:10-4pm
    Round robin.
  • Phorum - Friday Aug 26 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4:30pm
    Round robin.
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 2 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4:30pm
    CJ Brickhouse (Stanford): "Revisiting California's apparent low-back merger: A lot of thoughts about LOT and THOUGHT."
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 2 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Round robin.

August 23, 2022

Congrats to Hannah Sande, who just published an article "The phonology of Guébie" with Language and Linguistics Compass!

August 22, 2022

Zachary O'Hagan is in Bucharest, Romania this week giving a presentation on "Nominalizers in Caquinte" as part of a workshop on nominalizations in Arawak languages, at the annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (August 24-27). He will be working remotely from Europe until October 10.

August 19, 2022

Berkeley linguists have been very busy this summer! We're happy to share the stories that were submitted to Calques during the break:

  • Cecilia Elena Bachmann took part in the McNair Scholars Program, conducting her own research on "Language: A Multidimensional Tool in Higher Education Between Achievement and Oppression" under the mentorship of Isaac Bleaman and Justin Davidson. In July, she presented her research at the annual McNair Symposium at UC Berkeley. She was selected as the Symposium's Plenary Speaker due to her dedication to her research project and community involvement. In July, she also presented her findings at UCLA's annual Ronald E. McNair Conference.
  • Gašper Beguš received a Hellman Fellowship and a Social Science Matrix Fellowship. Berkeley News published an article featuring him, the Berkeley Speech and Computation Lab, and Project CETI. The Project CETI collaborator team published a paper in iScience titled "Toward understanding the communication in sperm whales," available in Open Access here. Finally, Gašper gave an invited keynote talk at the SIGMORPHON 2022 conference (co-located with NAACL in Seattle, WA). A video recording is available here.
  • Chris Beier and Lev Michael began an exciting sabbatical year in Peru in June, which is primarily focused on grammar writing and text work with speakers of Iquito, a highly-endangered Zaparoan language. In early August, they were also able to spend some time working with elderly rememberers of Chamikuro (Arawak) and Muniche (isolate). They look forward to being back at Berkeley for a visit in late November.
  • Methods in Dialectology XVII, which took place on August 1-5 at Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, featured two talks by Berkeley linguists. Isaac Bleaman spoke on his project "A computational approach to detecting the envelope of variation" in collaboration with Cal undergrad Rhea Kommerell, and Chaya Nove spoke on "Minimal minimal pairs: Phonetic contrast in Unterland Yiddish vowels" in collaboration with Ben Sadock.
  • Isaac Bleaman is also giving a community-oriented talk (this weekend!) at Yidish-vokh 'Yiddish Week' in Copake, NY on his work with Jacob J. Webber and Samuel Lo (Centre for Speech Technology Research, University of Edinburgh) to develop text-to-speech support for Yiddish.
  • Maksymilian Dąbkowski presented a remote poster A Q-Theoretic solution to A'ingae postlabial raising at 29mfm (29th Manchester Phonology Meeting); presented a paper A diachronic look at the A'ingae high fronting diphthong at the Borderlands, Minorities, Migrations conference at the Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland; authored a proceedings paper Prosody drives Paraguayan Guaraní suffix order published in the Supplemental Proceedings of the 2021 Annual Meeting on Phonology; and archived A'ingae elicitation data in the CLA collection A'ingae field materials, including fieldnotes and over 70h of audio recordings.
  • Susanne Gahl gave a talk about the overdiagnosis of stuttering in bilingual children at the "Symposium on Diversity in Language and Cognition" held in Freiburg, Germany.
  • Andrew Garrett began the summer with a very stimulating May week at this year's Breath of Life Archival Institute for California Indigenous Languages, learning from language activists, learners, and teachers from two dozen California communities. Then he spent most of the rest of the summer finishing the revision of his forthcoming book, The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall (MIT Press, 2023). Life events outside academia included a week with family, two half marathons (in Eureka and San Diego), and the 5th birthdays of two cats.
  • A conference paper by Shan Gao (visiting student) and Terry Regier appeared in the Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, and was presented by Shan Gao at the conference: Culture, communicative need, and the efficiency of semantic categories.
  • Mairi McLaughlin has just published a digital edition of the first periodical devoted to the French language, namely François-Urbain Domergue’s Journal de la langue françoise, soit exacte soit ornée which was published in France between 1784 and 1795. The periodical can now be accessed via Garnier’s new Corpus des remarques et des traités sur la langue française (XVIIIe siècle) (see here).
  • Zachary O'Hagan co-organized the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous California Languages May 22-28, followed by six weeks of field-based and archival research in Peru, where he worked with speakers of Chamikuro (Arawak), Urarina (isolate), and Caquinte (Arawak). With anthropologists Emanuele Fabiano (Universidade de Coimbra) and Joshua Homan (Universidad San Francisco de Quito), he also carried out an oral history project on language shift from Omurano (isolate) to Urarina on the Urituyacu River.
  • Ben Papadopoulos presented a panel at Lavender Languages and Linguistics 28 at the University of Catania, Italy with eleven of his current or former LRAPs (Cooper Bedin, Carmela Blazado, Sol Cintrón, Sebastian Clendenning-Jimenez, Keira Colleluori, Jesus Duarte, Julie Ha, Zaphiel Kiriko Miller, Serah Sim, Chelsea Tang, and Irene Yi). He also spoke at the University of Augsburg (Germany) and gave a panel with Jennifer Kaplan (organized by Uri Mor) at the 20th Meeting of the Israeli Association for the Study of Language and Society. He was also asked to write a pride month blog post for the LSA; he wrote an essay for the Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, and he had a paper come out in Hesperia: Anuario de Filología Hispánica in which he argues for a reconceptualized theory of linguistic gender. Finally, he got to spend most of his summer in Greece (including the town his family is from) relaxing and getting ready to teach in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, write a qualifying paper, and take his qualifying exams this year.
  • Miriam R. L. Petruck (ICSI; PhD 1986), as a Fulbright Specialist and visitor to Omri Abend's NLP lab, gave a six-week lecture series at the Hebrew University (Jerusalem) on Frame Semantics, FrameNet, and Natural Language Processing. Together with Collin Baker and Michael Ellsworth, Miriam organized a workshop called "Dimensions of Meaning: Distributional and Curated Semantics," held in conjunction with NAACL 2022 in Seattle/online. Chris Potts was the invited speaker. The proceedings feature their paper (co-authored with Arthur Lorenzi Almeida) titled "Comparing Distributional and Curated Approaches for Cross-lingual Frame Alignment." Finally, the four of them presented a tutorial called "Semantic Alignment across Frames" at the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2022) in Marseille/online.
  • In July, four Berkeley linguists participated in the 6th African Linguistics School, held in Porto Novo, Benin. Hannah Sande taught a morphophonology course, and Rebecca Jarvis, Julianne Kapner, and Katherine Russell attended as students.
  • Rebecca Jarvis, Julianne Kapner, and Katherine Russell spent three weeks of July in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, where they conducted their first in-person summer of fieldwork with speakers of Atchan (also called Ébrié; Kwa). Julianne and Becky continued with two more weeks of fieldwork on Atchan in August.
  • Rebecca Jarvis gave a virtual talk entitled "A low relative future marker in Atchan" at TripleAFLA and a talk entitled "Relative-clause-internal topicalization in Atchan" at the Cross-disciplinary Workshop on Information Structure in African Languages at the 6th African Linguistics School.
  • Hannah Sande and Katherine Russell spent the first two weeks of August in the village of Gnagbodougnoa, Côte d'Ivoire, where they continued their long-term documentation project of the Guébie (Kru) language. Recorded materials will be available in the California Language Archive (here).
  • Eve Sweetser gave two conference talks this summer: "Gesture meaning and its basis in bodily space" at the 4th conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (online from the University of Aachen, June 15-18) and "Gestural meaning is in the (body)-space as much as in the hands" at the International Gesture Studies Conference at Loyola University in Chicago (July 12-15).
  • Eric Wilbanks spent this summer finishing data collection and writing his dissertation, which is in the final revision stage. At the end of the month he'll be moving to the next stage of his career as a Language Engineer at Amazon Alexa.

Congrats, all!

Berkeley alumni reunion at the International Gesture Studies conference

Berkeley alumni reunion at the International Gesture Studies Conference at Loyola University in Chicago, July 15, 2022. 
The attached photo taken by Emily Shaw shows Eve Sweetser reuniting with old advisees from the ASL research community:
Paul Dudis (PhD 2002, UCB Linguistics, now Professor at Gallaudet)
Jennie Pyers (PhD 2004, UCB Psychology, now Professor at Wellesley)
Terra Edwards (PhD 2014, UCB Anthropology, now Professor at UChicago)

Photo from Lavender Languages and Linguistics 28
Photograph from Lavender Languages and Linguistics 28 panel presented by Ben Papadopoulos and LRAP team

August 17, 2022

Sinn und Bedeutung 27 is taking place in Prague on September 14-16. Congrats to Madeline Bossi, who will be presenting a talk entitled "Higher order ignorance in Kipsigis epistemic indefinites"!

Congratulations to Schuyler Laparle, who has accepted a position as Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Cognition at Tilburg University, beginning January 2023.

August 16, 2022

Congratulations to Isaac Bleaman, who has received a 5-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation! His project is entitled "Documenting and Analyzing Sociolinguistic Variation in the Speech of Holocaust Survivors," and it will involve developing a large corpus of conversational Yiddish for language research and community engagement. The project was described in a recent announcement to LSA members and publicized in the Forward (first in Yiddish and then in English translation).

August 15, 2022

Congratulations to Leanne Hinton on the publication of Flutes of Fire: An Introduction to Native California Languages, Revised and Updated! This is a newly expanded edition of her 1994 book -- "an approachable, entertaining, and informative classic on Native culture-keeping." Read all about it here!

August 14, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • In late May we received a very generous grant of $500,000 from the Arcadia Fund! Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, "supports work to preserve endangered cultural heritage, protect endangered ecosystems, and promote access to knowledge." This grant will provide needed support for our operations over a five-year period, including support to bring Indigenous community researchers to the Berkeley campus for visits to our archive.
  • For the first time since 2019, we co-hosted in-person the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous California Languages, organized by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS). From May 22-28, 15 faculty members, graduate students, and alumni volunteered as linguistic partners supporting Indigenous Californians working with some 25 languages.
  • We published Report 20 of the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, Mutsun Text Collection: mutsun riicakma hummen. It's a monumental 7,175-page philological work by Natasha Warner (PhD 1998), Lynnika Butler, Heather Van Volkinburg, and Quirina Geary, "24 years after starting it as an Excel spreadsheet," as Natasha puts it, based on relationships that formed at Breath of Life in the 1990s.
  • We accessioned the following new archival collections, most documenting the history of field methods instruction in the department:
  • We added materials to the following extant archival collections:
    • Guébie Fieldwork Collection (2014-15): sound recordings of elicitation and texts, field notes, and typed transcripts from Hannah Sande and Katie Russell's nearly 80 (mostly remote) work sessions 2020-2022 (see 2014-15.145 through 2014-15.223). Archiving was aided by Julianne Kapner.
    • Nukuoro Field Materials (2019-24): videos and typed notes from grammatical elicitation conducted on Zoom in 2021 with speakers Mina Lekka and Johnny Rudolph (see 2019-24.157 through 2019-24.187).
    • Documentary Materials on Chamikuro (2019-31): new and updated Praat TextGrids for previously archived sound recordings (see 2019-31.043).

May 13, 2022

We wrote to our soon-to-be and recent undergraduate alumni (from 2022 and 2021) for updates on their plans after graduation. Here are the stories they shared with us:

  • Nicholas Ngai (BA 2022) will be starting his master's degree in computer science at UC Berkeley.
  • Dara Gaeuman (BA, fall 2022) will be applying to grad school for Speech Language Pathology programs.
  • Cynthia Zhong (BA 2022) will be starting her Ph.D. in linguistics at MIT this fall.
  • Anjali Kantharuban (BA 2022) will be beginning an MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Cambridge in October 2022. Afterwards, she will do her PhD in Language and Information Technology at Carnegie Mellon University, studying ways to make natural language computer systems functional on a wider variety of languages and dialects.
  • Irene Yi (BA 2021) will be starting in the Linguistics PhD program at Stanford in the fall.
  • Ivori White (BA 2022) will be moving to Japan in August to teach English. Before she moves she will be practicing her Japanese and napping her days away.
  • Charles Zhang (BA 2021) started a job working on quantum computers in September 2021 and will pursue a further degree in comparative linguistics.
  • Margaret Asperheim (BA 2022) will be starting an MA at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in August.
  • Noah Usman (BA, fall 2021) has started a job as an Insights Associate at Pakistani-American investment firm i2i Ventures, the sister company of startup accelerator Invest2Innovate.
  • Jesus Duarte (BA 2022) will be starting his PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at UCLA in the fall.
  • Carmela Blazado (BA 2021) will begin the Master’s Program for Speech-Language Pathology at University of the Pacific in August 2022.
  • Anna Shim (BA 2022) will be starting at UC Berkeley's BE3 graduate program in education starting June 2022.
  • Tegan Lakshmanan (BA 2022) will be starting her PhD in Math at UC Berkeley in the fall.
  • Grant Brooks Goodman (BA 2022) will be working at SiriusXM/Pandora as a software engineer in August 2022.
  • Cooper Bedin (BA 2022) will be beginning a PhD program in linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in September.
  • Kevin Yu (BA 2021) will be starting his PhD in linguistics at the University of Florida in fall 2022.

Congratulations, everybody!

May 12, 2022

Peter Jenks will be giving a plenary at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS) hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa next Thursday, May 19, 3:30-4:30pm Hawaii Time (virtual). The title of the talk is "Semantic Distinctions in the Thai Pronominal System."

May 11, 2022

The Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley has awarded Samba Kane its Best Undergraduate Thesis award (with a $250 prize) for his honors thesis in Linguistics titled "Perfective Aspect and Order of Affixation in Pulaar." Samba completed his thesis in December 2021, and his readers were Peter Jenks and Harold Torrence (UCLA). Congrats, Samba!

May 10, 2022

The 40th meeting of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 40) will take place virtually this weekend, May 13-15, 2022, and features work by a number of Berkeley linguists!

  • Himidan Hassen (Independent scholar), Peter Jenks, Sharon Rose (UC San Diego): "A'-satisfaction with φ-interaction in Tira"
  • Emily Drummond: "Argument-extraction restrictions do not constrain sluicing"
  • Line Mikkelsen: "Same and different are additive presupposition triggers" (invited talk; joint work with Dan Hardt, Copenhagen Business School)

The full program is available here.

Congrats to the following Berkeley linguists, who will be presenting at the 29th Manchester Phonology Meeting, taking place online from May 25 to 27. More information is available here.

  • Maks Dąbkowski: "A Q-Theoretic solution to A'ingae postlabial raising"
  • Julianne Kapner: "Affixal and default fixed segmentism: New categories for fixed elements in reduplication"
  • Katie Russell: "Nasalization in Atchan: Morpheme-specific harmony"

Additionally, Charles Chang (PhD 2010) will be featured as an invited speaker at a special session on "Second Language Phonology and Phonological Theory."

Katherine Russell will be presenting on "Nasalization in Atchan: Sensitivity to morpheme identity" at the 19th meeting of the Réseau Français de Phonologie - French Phonology Network, which is taking place at the University of Porto, Portugal, June 7-9. A provisional program can be found here.