Calques 4.20

February 17, 2017

Calques 4.20 (February 17, 2017)

Newsletter, Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley

Awesomeness | Summer 2017 | Newly Published | Talks and Events

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


This week has brought more than one occasion for celebration in the Linguistics community:

Congratulations, Jevon and Sharon!

Summer 2017

Linguistics has a great course line-up for Summer 2017:

  • Lx 1A: "American Sign Language I" (6-week session I)
  • Lx R1B: "Endangered Languages: What We Lose when a Language Dies" (6-week session I & 6-week session II)
  • Lx 3: "Linguistic Diversity" (6-week session II)
  • Lx 5: "Language and Linguistics" (6-week session II)
  • Lx 10: "The Sounds of English" (6-week session I)
  • Lx 23: "Language and Sex" (6-week session II)
  • Lx 100: "Introduction to Linguistic Science" (6-week session I)
  • Lx 105: "The Mind and Language" (8-week session)
  • Lx 151: "Language and Gender" (6-week session I)
  • Lx 183: "The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention" (6-week session I)

Newly Available

Amy Rose Deal, "Countability distinctions and semantic variation", Natural Language Semantics (2017), doi:10.1007/s11050-017-9132-0

  • Abstract: "To what extent are countability distinctions subject to systematic semantic variation? Could there be a language with no countability distinctions—in particular, one where all nouns are count? I argue that the answer is no: even in a language where all NPs have the core morphosyntactic properties of English count NPs, such as combining with numerals directly and showing singular/plural contrasts, countability distinctions still emerge on close inspection. I divide these distinctions into those related to sums (cumulativity) and those related to parts (divisiveness, atomicity, and related notions). In the Sahaptian language Nez Perce, evidence can be found for both types of distinction, in spite of the absence of anything like a traditional mass–count division in noun morphosyntax. I propose an extension of the Nez Perce analysis to Yudja (Tupí), analyzed by Lima (The grammar of individuation and counting, 2014) as lacking any countability distinctions. More generally, I suggest that at least one countability distinction may be universal and that languages without any countability distinctions may be unlearnable."

George Lakoff analyzing current political discourse on the Tavis Smiley show

Talks and Events