Summer summary 2022

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