News

May 6, 2020

Karee Garvin and Hannah Sande (PhD 2017) have launched a new cross institution discussion group. The group focuses on phonology, welcoming presentations on any and all phonology and phonology adjacent topics. The group meets weekly on Tuesdays at 12:00 PDT. All are welcome to attend. To be added to the mailing list and to receive the Zoom link, email Karee.

Here are the details for the meeting on May 12:

Jack Merrill (Princeton; PhD 2018) and Nik Rolle (Princeton; PhD 2018): Tone triggers vowel-epenthesis and vowel-retention in Wamey (Konyagi).

We present a case of tone-conditioned ǝ-epenthesis in the Wamey language (Niger-Congo: Guinea, Senegal), based on data from Santos (1996). While vowel epenthesis to host an intonational floating tone is attested in a number of languages (Roettger 2017), it has been claimed that vowel epenthesis to host a lexical/morphological floating tone is unattested~impossible (de Lacy 2003, Blumenfeld 2006, Gleim 2019). Wamey presents the clearest case yet of exactly this phenomenon. [Full abstract available here.]

May 4, 2020

Edwin Ko writes to announce that he is organizing the 40th Siouan and Caddoan Languages Conference, which will be held virtually from Thursday, May 21 to Saturday, May 23. The conference program can be found on the website and anyone who is interested in attending should write to Edwin to obtain more information.

May 3, 2020

Congratulations to Edwin Ko, who has been offered a Berkeley Language Center Fellowship for the upcoming semester to investigate the role of stories and texts in language revitalization.

May 2, 2020

Congratulations to Alice Shen, who has landed a short-term contractor position at Facebook to while away the time between filing her dissertation this summer and starting her Visiting Assistant Professorship at Reed College in the fall. She will be working on data infrastructure for Natural Language Processing systems.

April 28, 2020

Congratulations to our undergraduate honors thesis-writers who successfully presented their research over Zoom on Monday!

Amelia Fineberg
Honors thesis title: "Semantics and Grammar: Gender in Hebrew Liturgy"
Faculty Adviser: Eve Sweetser

Karina Fong-Hirschfelder
Honors thesis title: "The Representation of Polysemy in the French-English Bilingual Lexicon"
Faculty Adviser: Mahesh Srinivasan

Sarah Roberts
Honors thesis title: "The Relationship between Gestural Viewpoint and Detail Retention"
Faculty Adviser: Eve Sweetser

A video recording of the event is available here. Unfortunately the recording did not start until part way through Amelia's talk, but her slides are available here.

April 24, 2020

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

April 23, 2020

Congrats to Isaac Bleaman, whose article "Implicit standardization in a minority language community: Real-time syntactic change among Hasidic Yiddish writers" has been accepted for publication at Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. The article will appear in the section Language and Computation as part of the research topic in Computational Sociolinguistics. Read the abstract here!

April 17, 2020

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday April 22 - Zoom link TBA - 4-5:30pm
    Wesley dos Santos (UC Berkeley): A linguistic survey meets the Kawahiva communities.

April 16, 2020

A new article by Pius W. Akumbu (Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2015-16), Larry M. Hyman, and Roland Kießling entitled "The segmental and tonal structure of verb inflection in Babanki" has just appeared in the online open access journal Phonological Data and Analysis. Congrats!

April 11, 2020

Congrats to Virginia Dawson, whose squib "Outscoping the directive force of imperatives" has been accepted for publication at Linguistic Inquiry!

April 10, 2020

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

April 9, 2020

Congratulations to Allegra Robertson and recent post-doc Konrad Rybka
, whose article "A grammatical description of Warao imperatives: Formal brevity and morphological complexity" was published this week in Cadernos de Etnolingüística. Read it here!

April 7, 2020

The National Endowment for the Humanities, through its "Documenting Endangered Languages" grant program (in collaboration with the National Science Foundation), announced today that it will fund a project to be administered by the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages (PI Andrew Garrett, $332,762): "Archiving legacy documentation from southern California and the southwest: Toward a new collaborative model."

This two-year project will catalog, digitize, and describe sound recordings and paper materials assembled over many years by Berkeley professor emerita Leanne Hinton, Margaret Langdon (Berkeley PhD 1966), Frank Lobo, and Pamela Munro, making them accessible where appropriate in the California Language Archive. A key element of the project is collaboration with several Indigenous communities to create a model of co-curation and community-based description of materials we catalog. The grant will support a full-time postdoctoral position in the department to coordinate and supervise all the work.

Alice Shen has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Reed College. Congratulations, Alice!

April 6, 2020

Andrew Garrett channeled some of his pandemic-induced stress into a creative work written over spring break: a short satirical edition of poems minimally adapted from the ancient Greek poetry of Sappho and Alcaeus in the form of a book of poems by his and Leslie Kurke's cats, also named Sappho and Alcaeus, together with full scholarly apparatus. Primarily of interest only to classical philologists, Poetarum lesbiorum carmina pestilentialia ("Plague poems of the Lesbian poets") can be read as a lovely printed book or in proof here.

Zach O'Hagan sends the following updates from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Augmenting our activities with work that can be done from home, we've digitized 120 color slides from Harvey Carlson's 1984 fieldwork on Aikanã (isolate; Brazil). We also redigitized over 100 prints scanned at higher resolution. Carlson (d. 1994) received a BA from our department and also worked for many years in the Berkeley Language Center, whose recording studio is named in his honor. He was inspired to do fieldwork in Rondônia after taking a seminar titled Indian Languages of South America from visiting professor Aryon Rodrigues in the winter 1983 quarter.

April 3, 2020

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum: Wednesday April 8 - Zoom link TBA - 4-5:30pm
    Ruth Rouvier (UC Berkeley): Exploring emotion in Yurok language reclamation

March 30, 2020

Congratulations to Mairi McLaughlin (Department of French), whose article "La représentation de l'oral dans la Gazette d'Amsterdam à la fin du XVIIIe siècle" (On the representation of spoken language in an historical French-language newspaper) has just appeared in Langages. Read it here!

An Iquito-English Dictionary was recently published by Ediciones Abya Yala and Cabeceras Aid Project, compiled by Lev Michael and Christine Beier on the basis of the linguistic and cultural knowledge of Jaime Pacaya Inuma, Ema Llona Yareja, Hermenegildo Díaz Cuyasa, and Ligia Inuma Inuma. Ronald Sprouse played a key role in preparing the dictionary manuscript by further developing a script originally created by Berkeley grad Greg Finley to generate a LaTeX file from the FLEx XML database file. A blurb is available on the Calques site.

March 27, 2020

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

  • Fieldwork Forum: Wednesday April 1 - Zoom link: TBA - 4-5:30pm
    Alternative summer arrangements amidst COVID-19

  • Language Revitalization Working Group - Wednesday April 1 - Zoom - 2-3pm
    Using historical documents with language learners in revitalization (Discussion of Warner, Luna, & Butler, 2007 and Begay, Spence, & Tuttle, unpublished, led by Edwin Ko)