Calques 4.20 (February 17, 2017)
Newsletter, Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley
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:
- On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Jevon Heath filed his dissertation "Causes and Consequences of Convergence" (directed by Keith Johnson, with Susanne Gahl & Dacher Keltner).
- Yesterday, Feb. 16, Sharon Inkelas received the 2015-2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Division of Social Sciences. (Nice photos by Belén Flores, plus some high-quality videos by a real professional, can be found here.)
Congratulations, Jevon and Sharon!
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)
- 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
- Video here
- Friday, February 17
- Wednesday, February 22
- Thursday, February 23
- 12:30–2: Discussion of trait data set organization (*dhworom, 1229 Dwinelle)
- Friday, February 24