February 15, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • We released a new collection of materials on Tswefap (Grassfields Bantu; Cameroon), from the 2015-2016 graduate field methods course. The consultant was Guy Tchatchouang, the instructors were Larry Hyman and Steven Bird, and students were Geoff Bacon, Andrew Cheng, Emily Clem, Ginny Dawson, Anna Jurgensen, Erik Maier, and Alice Shen.

February 12, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Language Revitalization Working Group and Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Feb 17 - Zoom - 3:40-5pm (note special time and link)
    Presentations from some of the students in Language Revitalization in fall 2020: Ash Cornejo, Alex Chang, Irene Yi, Ellis Miller, and Sharon Marcos, who will each present about their language revitalization work, along with some time for questions and conversation.
  • Phorum - Friday Feb 12 - Zoom - 3-4pm
    Florian Lionnet (Princeton): Downstep in Paicî: between accent and tone.
  • Phorum - Thursday Feb 18 - Zoom - 6-8pm (note special date, time, and link)
    Myriam Lapierre (UC Berkeley): Practice job talk.
  • Phorum - Friday Feb 19 - Zoom - 3-4pm
    Check-in meeting facilitated by Hannah Sande: come share current and upcoming projects and get to know our newest faculty member!
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 12 - Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Suzana Fong (MIT): A dependent case analysis of pseudo noun incorporation in Wolof.
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 19 - Zoom - 3-4:30pm
    Andrew McKenzie (Kansas): TBA.
  • Zoom Phonology - Wednesday Feb 17 - Zoom - 11am-12pm
    Gašper Beguš (UC Berkeley): Tonal wugs in Žiri Slovenian: Floating tones, vowel quality, quantity, and stress.
    For the Zoom link or to be added to the Zoom Phonology mailing list, contact Karee Garvin.

February 10, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

February 5, 2021

Julia Nee will be giving a talk at the Berkeley Language Center's Found in Translation (FIT) working group on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 2 to 3pm:

Using Long-Format Speech Environment Recordings to Understand the Full Range of Zapotec Learners' Language Abilities

Zoom link (Meeting ID: 961 6335 9441, Passcode: 555992)

In addition to requiring exposure to the language, one common barrier to language revitalization is the presence of an “ideology of contempt” towards a language (Dorian, 1998), and language revitalization projects will not be successful in the long run if negative language attitudes are not addressed (Dauenhauer & Dauenhauer, 1998). In Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico, ~35 children participate in Zapotec language revitalization camps for children 6-12 promoting positive Zapotec language ideologies and encouraging Zapotec use at home. This study addresses the gap in our understanding of naturalistic language use and development of language attitudes in such an endangered language context by addressing three key questions: (1) What do long-format speech environment (LFSE) recordings suggest about children's language use and attitudes in Teotitlán?; (2) How do patterns in LFSE data compare to other measures of language use?; and (3) What methodological challenges are presented in collecting LFSE data from children ages 6-12? I show that LFSE recordings provide evidence that Zapotec learners’ exposure to and abilities in Zapotec are greater than suggested by other measures, including reported language use and observations of classroom language use. Furthermore, participants’ recordings suggest that learners have acquired significant abilities in Zapotec, and that providing supportive contexts for language use can increase learner investment and result in greater Zapotec use (cf. Riestenberg & Sherris, 2018).

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

February 2, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Emily Drummond has added the first Zoom-based documentary materials in our holdings to her growing collection on Nukuoro (Polynesian-Outlier, Micronesia; see items 2019-14.129 and higher), video recordings of elicitation on grammatical topics and of work editing a phrasebook, and typed field notes.
  • Kenny Baclawski, Jr. (PhD 2019) has added some 70 new file bundles to his collection on Eastern Cham (Chamic, Vietnam; see items 2014-20.069 and higher), audio recordings and notes of grammatical and sociolinguistic elicitation conducted during fieldwork in Vietnam in 2016 and 2018.
  • We archived a new collection of sound recordings of Lulamogi (Bantu, Uganda), which derive from the fall 2013 undergraduate field methods course (Linguistics 140) taught by Larry Hyman, with language consultant Andrew Mukacha.

January 29, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

January 28, 2021

Beth Piatote writes to announce a new DE cohort in Indigenous Language Revitalization and a welcome event on February 19. Congrats, all!

We are delighted to welcome a new cohort of outstanding graduate students into the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization. We are especially excited about the diversity of fields represented and the dynamic growth of the DE. We welcome Emily Drummond, Linguistics, working with Nukuoro, a Polynesian-Outlier language spoken in Micronesia; Cristina Mendez, Education, working with Mam-speaking diasporic Guatemalan communities in Oakland; Everardo Reyes, Music, interested in creating music- and arts-based materials for language revitalization, with background in Raramuri and Nahuatl; Tessa Scott, Linguistics, teaching Mam as a second language in Oakland; Gabriel Trujillo, Integrative Biology, focusing on STEM-related Indigenous knowledge, particularly related to plants and environment; Oliver Whitmore, Romance Languages—French, working with Occitan, an endangered minority language of regions in France, Spain, and Italy. This group joins Julia Nee, Linguistics; Edwin Ko, Linguistics; Esther Ramer, Classics; Nate Gong, Education; Ataya Cesspooch, Environmental Studies, Policy, and Management.

We invite all to join us in a celebratory gathering to share more about our Language Revitalization goals and joys at 4 p.m. on February 19. Come and be inspired! For a link to the party contact Line Mikkelsen.

Many thanks to Belén Flores for her valuable administrative support of the DE.

Stay tuned for future DE events this spring, co-sponsored with the Language Revitalization Working Group.

— Beth Piatote on behalf of the DE Core Faculty: Line Mikkelsen, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Christine Beier, Lev Michael, Andrew Garrett, Leanne Hinton

January 27, 2021

A new article by Lev Michael, "The classification of South American languages," has just appeared in the Annual Review of Linguistics. Congrats, Lev!

January 26, 2021

Calques is saddened to report the passing of colleague and Berkeley Linguistics PhD alumnus Tucker Childs. We are forwarding the announcement sent out to students in Applied Linguistics at Portland State:

With heavy hearts, we are writing to tell you that Professor Tucker Childs passed away yesterday, January 26, 2021. As many of you know, he was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of January. Unfortunately, Tucker was not able to overcome the complications of legionella. He passed away peacefully with his wife and daughter at his side.

If you would like to offer Tucker's family your condolences or help celebrate Tucker's life by sharing a fond memory of your time with him , please visit his memorial page:

We will be in touch about memorial events for the department community soon. Even before that, please don't hesitate to reach out to each other and to faculty as we all grieve the loss of our professor, mentor, and colleague. This sad time is even harder since we can't come together physically, but we can still be a community. [...]

In lieu of sending flowers, please consider donating to the Sherbro Foundation—a non-profit dear to Tucker, which empowers rural Sierra Leone through education and agriculture development. Tucker was also a great supporter of the Nattinger Scholarship in our department. You can make a donation in his memory through the PSU Foundation.

Our hearts go out to Tucker's family and to all who knew Tucker. He will be greatly missed.

The Faculty and Staff of Applied Linguistics

Tucker Childs

January 22, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

January 20, 2021

Congrats to Wendy López Márquez, whose paper 'Headless Relative Clauses in Sierra Popoluca' has appeared in the new Oxford University Press book Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages!

January 19, 2021

Congrats to Gašper Beguš on the publication of his chapter "Segmental Phonetics and Phonology in Caucasian Languages" in the new Oxford Handbook of Languages of the Caucasus, edited by Maria Polinsky. (A free preprint is available here.)

January 15, 2021

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Linguistics Department Colloquium - Friday Jan 22 - Zoom - 8-10am [note special time and day]
    Martin Haspelmath (MPI-EVA Leipzig): Variable argument marking and the difference between general and particular linguistics.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Jan 20 - Zoom - 3:10-4pm
    Andrew Garrett (UC Berkeley): Roundtable discussion: Legacies of colonialism in fieldwork.

January 14, 2021

The 2020-2021 colloquium series continues on Friday, Jan 22, with a talk by Martin Haspelmath (MPI-EVA Leipzig), held via Zoom from 8-10am. The talk is entitled "Variable argument marking and the difference between general and particular linguistics," and the abstract is as follows:

In this presentation, I will discuss a range of variable argument marking patterns, such as inverse marking in Ojibwe (Rhodes 1994), variable dative marking in Wolof (Becher 2005), person-based split ergativity in Nez Perce (Deal 2016), variable accusative case marking in Moro (Jenks & Sande 2017), among others.

In a recent paper (Haspelmath 2021a), I have proposed that many argument-marking splits fall under the following high-level generalization:

   The role-reference association universal
   Deviations from usual associations of role rank and referential prominence tend to be coded by longer grammatical forms if the coding is asymmetric.

We will see how many of the well-known patterns of variable argument marking are instances of this, and I will summarize the explanation that I propose, in terms of the efficiency theory of asymmetric coding (Haspelmath 2021b). One of the earliest general statements of (a version of) this explanation is found in Hawkinson & Hyman (1974).

In a second step, I will highlight the importance of the distinction between g-theories and p-theories (general theories of Human Language and of particular languages, respectively), which has often been neglected (Haspelmath 2021c). I will argue that if we make this distinction, we will gain a much better understanding of some of the persistent disparities between different methodological orientations in the field of general grammar. My claims are restricted to g-theories, and I make no p-theoretical claims, so there may be less tension between my proposals and those of others than might appear initially.


Becher, Jutta. 2005. Ditransitive Verben und ihre Objekte im Wolof: Positionsregeln und Kombinierbarkeit. Hamburger afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere (HAAP) 3. 13–27.

Deal, Amy Rose. 2016. Person-based split ergativity in Nez Perce is syntactic 1. Journal of Linguistics. Cambridge University Press 52(3). 533–564. (doi:10.1017/S0022226715000031)

Haspelmath, Martin. 2021a. Role-reference associations and the explanation of argument coding splits. Linguistics (ahead of print) doi: 10.1515/ling-2020-0252 (

Haspelmath, Martin. 2021b. Explaining grammatical coding asymmetries: Form-frequency correspondences and predictability. Journal of Linguistics, to appear (

Haspelmath, Martin. 2021c. General linguistics must be based on universals (or nonconventional aspects of language). Theoretical Linguistics, to appear (

Hawkinson, Annie K. & Hyman, Larry M. 1974. Hierarchies of natural topic in Shona. Studies in African Linguistics 5(2). 147–170.

Jenks, Peter & Sande, Hannah. 2017. Dependent accusative case and caselessness in Moro. Proceedings of NELS, vol. 47.

Rhodes, Richard A. 1994. Agency, inversion, and thematic alignment in Ojibwe. Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, vol. 20, 431–446.

January 13, 2021

The Survey of California and Other Indian Languages is very happy to announce that Zachary O'Hagan (PhD, 2020) is joining the Survey, effective immediately, for a two-year stint as a Postdoctoral Scholar (and de facto Archive Manager) working on a project to archive language materials from the work of Leanne Hinton, Margaret Langdon, Frank Lobo, and Pamela Munro with a variety of California (and other) Indigenous communities. (The project is funded by an NEH grant through the NEH-NSF Documenting Endangered Languages program.) Congrats, Zach!

January 12, 2021

Congratulations to Amalia Skilton (PhD, 2019), who will begin a 3-year Klarman Fellowship at Cornell University in July 2021. Klarman Fellowships "provide postdoctoral opportunities to early-career scholars of outstanding talent, initiative and promise. Among the most selective of its kind in the country, the program offers independence from constraints of particular grants, enabling the recipients to devote themselves to frontline, innovative research without being tied to specific outcomes or teaching responsibilities."

January 11, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Maks Dąbkowski has archived over 65 file bundles of audio and video recordings of texts in A'ingae (isolate, Ecuador). The materials stem from his 2019 fieldwork in the community of Sinangoé, with 21 different consultants and especially the contributions of Shen Aguinda and Leidy Quenamá as interviewers, transcribers, and translators.

January 8, 2021

Congratulations to all the Berkeley linguists who are presenting at this year's virtual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America! The conference is taking place now through January 10.

January 7, 2021

Our heartfelt congratulations to Larry M. Hyman, who has received the Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award from the Linguistic Society of America!

The award is named after linguist Victoria Fromkin and given to a member of the LSA who has performed "extraordinary service to the discipline and to the Society" throughout their career.

From the LSA citation:

"Larry M. Hyman's career is a testament to the idea that scholarly accomplishment goes hand in hand with devotion to service to the field. On LSA committees and as part of its leadership, as an organizer of scholarly meetings and a member of editorial boards around the world, as a passionate advocate for the LSA, and as a host and sommelier at innumerable linguistic events, Hyman makes us all want to belong to the community of linguists."