All News

February 4, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

January 31, 2022

The 2021-2022 colloquium series continues on Monday, February 7, with a talk by Anna Belew (Endangered Languages Project & University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa), held via Zoom (passcode: 956577) at 3:10pm. The talk is entitled "Ten Years Beyond the Ancestral Code: Growing Into a Model for Sociolinguistic Documentation," and the abstract is as follows:

Reflecting on the ten years since the 2012 Workshop on Sociolinguistic Documentation in Sub-Saharan Africa, this talk will explore work and ideas at the intersection of language documentation, revitalization, and sociolinguistics. Documentary linguistics has traditionally focused on describing and recording the structure of a single lexico-grammatical code (or bounded "language"). However, as argued by Childs, Good, and Mitchell (2014), in their report on the aforementioned 2012 workshop, the documentation of sociolinguistic contexts is equally crucial - especially since these contexts are generally more fragile, and more endangered, than languages themselves. This talk will share findings from the author's sociolinguistic documentation work in Iyasa-speaking communities in Cameroon; explore the challenges of forging viable, useful, and ethical paths in this relatively new field of study; reflect on how sociolinguistic documentation can lead to better language revitalization planning; and share lessons learned and suggestions for others interested in this type of work. Finally, this talk will touch on how the skills and knowledge of documentary and/or sociolinguists can be applied to career paths outside of academia.

January 28, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Phorum - Friday Jan 28 - Zoom - 1-2pm
    Anna Björklund (UC Berkeley): Nomlaki Vowel Quality and Duration: An Archival Examination.
    Note: Due to scheduling conflicts in the department, the organizers have decided to move Phorum to Fridays at 1pm for the rest of the semester.
  • Phorum - Friday Feb 4 - Dwinelle 1303 and Zoom - 1-2pm
    Richard Bibbs (UC Santa Cruz): Perceptually-grounded contrast licensing by laryngeals in Chamorro.
  • Sociolinguistics Lab at Berkeley - Wednesday Feb 2 - Dwinelle 5125 and Zoom - 3-4pm
    Spring organizational meeting
    Please contact Ben Papadopoulos for more information or to be added to the SLaB mailing list.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Jan 28 - Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Tatiana Bondarenko (MIT): Two paths to clausal embedding.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 4 - 1303 Dwinelle and Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Round Robin

January 27, 2022

January 26, 2022

Wesley dos Santos presented at the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) last Sunday, January 23. The slides for his talk, "For a Realis and Irrealis Account of Ko and Po in Kawahíva," are available here.

January 25, 2022

A chapter by Christine Beier and Lev Michael entitled "Managing Lexicography Data" appears in the new Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management (MIT Press). All 56 chapters of the handbook, which span a tremendous range of topics, are available free online. Check it out!

January 21, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

January 17, 2022

The 2021-2022 colloquium series continues on Monday, January 24, with a talk by Melissa Baese-Berk (University of Oregon), held via Zoom (passcode: 660588) from 3:10-5pm. The talk is entitled "Factors influencing non-native perception and learning," and the abstract is as follows:

Learning a second language is a complex task, requiring acquisition of syntactic structure, lexical items, and phonological structure, among other things. Speech perception and learning phonological categories are notoriously difficult for non-native speakers because sensitivity to non-native contrasts by adult listeners is typically quite poor. Previous research has hypothesized that a relationship between the structure of the first and second languages predicts perception and acquisition of contrasts in the second language. My research examines a number of other factors that may influence perception and learning of non-native contrasts. The work I will present addresses several factors including: the relationship between perception and production during learning and how this relationship might shift both over time and across contrasts, the role of variability during training, and the role of active vs. passive exposures during training. I will discuss the implications of the results of these studies for our understanding of speech perception and production more broadly.

Thank you to Hannah Sande for sharing this information from the Center for African Studies:

We are offering Summer 2022 funding through the Department of Education for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. In addition to the Arabic language offered at Berkeley, there are other African Languages offered at various other FLAS-funded programs in the US. We can possibly fund African languages that are not being taught at Berkeley or other programs this summer through the Intensive Summer Multilanguage Seminar, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Contact us for more information.

The application deadline is Monday, 14 February, 2022.

January 16, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

  • Anna Lewington has archived two cassettes of sound recordings of stories, songs, and music in Matsigenka (Arawak; Peru), from fieldwork conducted for her (1985) MA thesis "The Implications of Manioc Cultivation in the Culture and Mythology of the Machiguenga of South Eastern Peru" (St. Andrews).
  • Justin Spence (PhD 2013) has added over 220 new file bundles to the collection Materials of the Hupa Language Documentation Project (see items 821-1044, from 2009-2010; and 1484-1497, from October to December 2021). The materials stem from a longtime collaboration with speaker Verdena Parker. See Calques from October 8, 2021 for more details!

January 14, 2022

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

January 12, 2022

Congratulations to Jennifer Kaplan and Cecelia Cutler (CUNY Graduate Center), whose presentation "I’m Tawkin’ Here: Why don’t New Yorkers sound like Noo Yawkas anymore?" won first prize in the Five Minute Linguist competition at this year's meeting of the Linguistic Society of America! Read all about it here.

Eric Wilbanks is joining UC Berkeley Research IT this spring as a domain consultant, where he will provide consultation and training on research data and computing to the campus research community. Congrats, Eric!

January 11, 2022

Congratulations to Larry Hyman on the publication of a new article in Africana Linguistica:

January 10, 2022

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships fund graduate students to study critical and less commonly taught foreign languages, in combination with area and international studies. FLAS awards are offered by the Center for African Studies; the Institute of East Asian Studies; the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; the Center for Latin American Studies; the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; the Institute for South Asia Studies; the Center for Southeast Asia Studies; and the Institute of European Studies. Summer and academic year applications are due Monday, 1/31, and more information is available here.

January 9, 2022

Congratulations to Myriam Lapierre, who filed her doctoral dissertation last month:

"Towards a Theory of Subsegmental and Subfeatural Representations: The Phonology and Typology of Nasality"
Committee: Sharon Inkelas, Lev Michael (co-chairs), Larry Hyman, Darya Kavitskaya, Susan Lin

Congratulations to Karee Garvin, who filed her doctoral dissertation last month:

"Word-medial syllabification and gestural coordination"
Committee: Keith Johnson, Sharon Inkelas (co-chairs), Darya Kavitskaya

December 17, 2021

Calques is happy to share this message from our departmental Climate Committee:

Hello all:

As the Fall semester draws to a close, we thought it fitting to offer here in Calques a brief summary of the positive outcomes of our weekly climate meetings on behalf of our departmental community:

  • We issued a report to the department which included our analysis and visualization of the results of the most recent department Climate Survey, which was carried out in May 2021. This report also contained a set of recommendations, including concrete responses to several key concerns raised in past surveys, which we hope will continue to improve our departmental climate.

  • In response to concerns about desk/office space assignments for graduate students that were brought to our attention early on in the semester, we solicited information that enabled us to improve desk/office assignments for students in the coming spring semester. In addition, based on feedback we received via a topical survey that we sent to all graduate students, we developed a set of recommendations and criteria regarding management of graduate student desk/office assignments in the future.

  • In response to recurring concerns about opacity in department policies and procedures that have been voiced in past departmental climate surveys, we are developing an FAQ resource for our departmental website, to be launched early next semester, that will address a wide range of questions. To solicit input to the development of this resource, we created a living document where members of the department can contribute their own questions.

  • Through various channels (including regular office hours) we were available to discuss climate-related topics with our peers — and we will continue to be available next semester!

With best wishes for winter break,

Tzintia Montaño Ramírez, Raksit Lau-Preechathammarach, Noah Hermalin, Line Mikkelsen, and Christine Beier

AY 2021-2022 Climate Committee

December 16, 2021

The Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization is delighted to announce its new cohort, representing five departments and multiple languages. The DE has now grown to a community of 13 graduate student scholars and three recent graduates from nine departments, and is supported by core faculty Line Mikkelsen, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Chris Beier, Leanne Hinton, Andrew Garrett, Lev Michael, and Beth Piatote. Belén Flores provides critical staff support.

The new cohort includes Lisett Bastidas, History, who extends her previous work with Breath of Life to support California Indigenous languages; Jesus Nazario, Ethnic Studies, who focuses on his heritage language of Nahuatl, which will support his dissertation work on two Nahua communities in Mexico and Texas; Tzintia Montaño-Ramirez, Linguistics, who is working in her Mixtec heritage language of Dà’àn Davi of Mexico; Pa Vue, Education, whose work centers on her heritage language of Hmong and Hmong communities in the United States; and Alan Waxman, Landscape Architecture, whose work in land stewardship is shaped by his study of Ichishkiin/Yakama of the Pacific Northwest.

The Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization has awarded $250 mini grants for language revitalization materials to three outstanding projects. The awards will go to: Nate Gong, Education, for textiles and art supplies by Pacific Islander youth involved in language and cultural revitalization through the Oakland-based organization, IKUNA; Pa Vue, Education, for a two-year subscription to Canva for the development of multimodal materials in Hmong to be disseminated through Instagram; and Katherine Russell, Linguistics, for 20 sets of 50 picture cards and 15 20-page picture story books in Guébie, a spoken language of Côte d'Ivoire that currently does not have a standard orthography.

The mini-grants are awarded twice a year to support the cost of producing language revitalization materials. The next cycle will be in the spring.