Calques 3.29

April 22, 2016

Festivities | Tubularity | Talks and events | Future events | Excursions

Please send information and news of departmental interest to Andrew Garrett.


The final Inkling of 2015-16 (our social hour) will take place on Wednesday, April 27, from 3:30 to 5 pm in 1229 Dwinelle. Please mark your calendars! All are welcome to our monthly social hour (and a half) with tea, coffee, and potluck treats — you'll find talk about work, life, ideas, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • Potluck: We encourage you to bring a snack or treat! (Contributions are welcome from all surnames for the last Inkling of the year.)
  • Prize: A valuable prize will be given to the author of the most pleasing top-five list of reasons to join the Linguistic Society of America. This time, of course, double credit for purple.


Michael Greenberg was awarded a "Logic and Formal Epistemology" grant to attend Carnegie Mellon's Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology. Congratulations, Michael!

Talks and events

Future events

In reading week, Claire Bowern (Yale) will give three lectures on historical linguistics and language change:

  • M May 2, 3 pm: "Computational phylogenetics for language: Theory, applications, and extensions" (colloquium)
  • Tu May 3, 11 am: "Language change, change across the lifespan, and the Bardi historical record" (fforum)
  • W May 4, 4 pm: "The phylogenetics of color systems" (*dhworom)

All are welcome!


From Jim Matisoff: "I recently spent a month or so in Thailand, Yunnan Province of China, and Shan State of Burma, travelling in a group of 4 people, all much younger than me (most people are!). The trip was organized by a young ethnographic film-maker who was doing research on the eminent Young family of missionaries and adventurers, who have worked on the Lahu from the 1880's or so. The two others were scions of the Young family, one a tough guy who grew up in Thailand, and the other a very religious mid-Westerner who was making his first trip outside the U.S. The aim was to locate old folks who had direct memories of the Youngs, or whose parents had told them stories about them.

We started in Chiang Mai, then flew to Luang Prabang from where we could catch a direct flight to Jinghong in Yunnan. Then by van over terrible roads to a Lahu village called Pali, thence to the grotesque Wa town of Ximeng, then back to Thailand. Then came the second loop of the trip, to Shan State, all the way to Kengtung, still a charming town, with a huge Lahu population.

The high point of the trip for me was a lecture I gave in Lahu in a church near Kengtung, before a group of 100+ Lahu and Wa, where I went into the differences among the Baptist, Chinese, and my own writing systems for Lahu. Watch for it on YouTube.

The low point was in a place near the China/Burma border where we were stopped at a police checkpoint and forced to hide in the woods while a drug convoy from Burma passed. (When the traffickers see a Westerner they tend to shoot first and ask questions later.) Obviously those border police were paid off too. So after a jolly 45 minute wait in the woods, we were allowed to emerge and proceed on our way.

I'm looking forward to a repeat trip like this next year."