All News

September 27, 2022

The two linguistics undergraduate majors who are finishing theses this semester will be giving practice talks on Thursday morning, October 6, from 11:10am-12pm in Dwinelle 1303. These will be 20 minute talks followed by 5 minutes for questions. The titles and authors are:

  • Jasper Talwani: "Argument indexing in lajltayki- tsome / Highland Chontal"
  • Chelsea Tang: "A description and theoretical analysis of Lobi STAMP morphs"

September 26, 2022

The 2022-2023 colloquium series continues on Monday, October 3, with a talk by our very own Alexandra Pfiffner, taking place in Dwinelle 370 and synchronously via Zoom (passcode: lxcolloq) from 3:10-5pm. Her talk is entitled "Features, cues, and phonological contrast: A look at plosive voicing in Afrikaans," and the abstract is as follows:

Phonological voicing in obstruents is signaled by numerous acoustic cues, both spectral and temporal. Voicing contrasts have been featurally described as [±voice], [±spread glottis], fortis versus lenis, or a combination of features such as [±spread] and [±slack] vocal folds, depending on the cues utilized in a particular language. The problem that arises is that describing obstruent voicing contrasts with only cues or features, to the exclusion of the other, misses larger cross-linguistic patterns.

In this talk, I examine plosive voicing contrasts and positional neutralization in Afrikaans. Using data from perception and production experiments with native speakers, I show that acoustic cues (that are not necessarily linked to the definition of a distinctive feature) are integral to the realization of phonological contrast. To account for this data and unite the two views on describing voicing contrasts, I propose a new framework of cue-based features.

September 23, 2022

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

  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Sept 28 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom (password: fforum) - 3:10-5pm
    Anna Macknick (UC Berkeley) leads "A discussion on relationships, positionality, and accountability in collaborative language work."
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 23 - Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Scott Borgeson (Michigan State): "Long-distance compensatory lengthening."
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 30 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4:30pm
    Noah Hermalin (UC Berkeley): "An introduction to phonographic writing systems."
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 23 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Frances Sobolak (Cornell): "Light verbs, Case, and Voice head functionality."
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 30 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Tzintia Montaño Ramírez (UC Berkeley): "Status of the patient subject in the Garifuna passives."

September 20, 2022

Congratulations to Gašper Beguš, Isaac Bleaman, and Alan Zhou (BA 2021), who were just published in Proceedings of Interspeech 2022!

  • Beguš, Gašper and Alan Zhou. 2022. Modeling speech recognition and synthesis simultaneously: Encoding and decoding lexical and sublexical semantic information into speech with no direct access to speech data. Proc. Interspeech 2022, 5298-5302. [article] [asynchronous talk]
  • Webber, Jacob J., Samuel K. Lo, and Isaac L. Bleaman. 2022. REYD – The first Yiddish text-to-speech dataset and system. Proc. Interspeech 2022, 2363-2367. [article]

September 19, 2022

Gašper Beguš commented on a recent whale study that was covered by NBC News. Click here to read it!

Andrew Garrett will be one of four panelists at the LSA's September 28 webinar on "Tenure, promotion, and academic review in documentary linguistics." The other panelists are Kayla Begay (PhD 2017), Alice Harris, and Jorge Rosés Labrada. Click here to register.

September 16, 2022

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

September 15, 2022

The 2022-2023 colloquium series begins on Monday, September 19, with a talk by our very own Amy Rose Deal, taking place in Dwinelle 370 and synchronously via Zoom (passcode: lxcolloq) from 3:10-5pm. Her talk is entitled "On ditransitive person restrictions in primary object languages," and the abstract is as follows:

When a ditransitive is expressed with clitic pronouns or agreement for both objects, oftentimes restrictions are in place on the relative person of the two objects. A typical pattern is that the theme object must be 3rd person. This pattern has been the subject of intensive study by syntacticians over the last two decades. In this talk I investigate the implications of this work for primary object languages, where the "object markers" controlled by the patient in a monotransitive are controlled by the goal/recipient in a ditransitive. Various prominent syntactic analyses of person restrictions, when put together with commonly assumed ideas about the syntax of primary object languages, lead to the prediction that person restrictions should be absent in ditransitives in languages of this type. This prediction is wrong: in fact, it has proven hard to find a primary object language that LACKS a person restriction in ditransitives. I critically review two lines of analysis that have been pursued regarding these person restrictions, and propose a new approach grounded in my recent work on the person-case constraint (Interaction, Satisfaction, and the PCC).

September 13, 2022

Debbie Anderson will be participating in a webinar on September 28, 2022, from 10:30-12:30 that will discuss Unicode and internationalization. Her brief talk will focus on the process of adding characters and scripts into the Unicode Standard, so that the letters/symbols can (eventually) be used on computers and devices — important for those working with "lesser-used" languages. Other talks will discuss other ongoing projects of the Unicode Consortium.

The event is free but registration is required. There will be a live Q&A session afterwards.

September 12, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Allegra Robertson has archived a new collection of materials related to her first summer of fieldwork with speakers of Yánesha' (Arawak; Peru) in June and July of this year. Many speakers are represented, in sound recordings of traditional stories, explanatory texts, grammatical and lexical elicitation, and transcription sessions, together with scanned field notes and photographs.

September 9, 2022

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

  • Talk for Linguistics Graduate Students - Monday Sept 12 - Dwinelle 370 - 3:10-4pm
    Amy Honigman (Sr. Clinical Psychologist, Counseling and Psychological Services; Graduate Assembly Wellness Specialist)
  • Language Revitalization Working Group - Wednesday Sept 14 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom (password: LRWG) - 3:10-4pm
    Opening meeting: This first session will be an opportunity to introduce the new organizers and get to know each other.
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 9 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Emily Grabowski (Berkeley): "Exploring phonetic time series analysis and representations."
  • Phorum - Friday Sept 16 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4:30pm
    Rachel E. Weissler (Oregon): "What is incorporated in emotional prosody perception? Evidence from race perception studies and analysis of acoustic cues."
  • Sociolinguistics Lab at Berkeley - Monday Sept 12 - Dwinelle 5125 and Zoom - 2-3pm
    Welcome meeting and discussion of Papadopoulos 2021.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Sept 9 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Sana Kidwai (Cambridge): "Marked Anticausatives in Urdu."

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"!