Language and Cognition

Sawyer Scholarships to Huff, Carrick, and Fong-Hirschfelder

April 11, 2019

Congrats to the undergraduate winners of the 2019 Sawyer Scholarship for Applied Linguistics:

Teela Huff and Nicholas Carrick, Creating Xavante Pedagogical Materials
In Summer of 2019, Teela Huff and Nicholas Carrick are traveling with Myriam Lapierre to work with a Xavante community that expressed interest in the benefits of linguistic research. While in Eastern Mato Grosso, the three hope to record stories with community consent for the purpose of creating recreational and lexical pedagogical materials. In collaboration with this Xavante community, the long-term goal of this project is to help preserve and maintain Xavante language and culture through linguistic means. Karina Fong-Hirschfelder, The Influence of French Polysemous Words on English in French-English Bilingual Children
Karina will be using the funds from the Sawyer Scholarship to create a study/stimular and start data collection for an experiment with Mahesh Srinivasan. This experiment will be one of many in a study on French polysemous words and their influence on English speakers, both bilingual and monolingual. Karina will be elaborating on this work during the upcoming academic year as part of her Honors Thesis.

Regier in Sweden and Germany

April 2, 2019

Terry Regier visited Sweden and Germany March 2-13 for a series of talks: An invited keynote at the kickoff event for the Chalmers AI Research Center in Gothenburg, followed by talks at the University of Gothenburg, Uppsala University, and Leipzig University.

Linguistics events this week (Feb 15-22, 2019)

February 15, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

Linguistics & Near Eastern Studies special lecture - Friday Feb 15 - 254 Barrows Hall - 2pm
Lutz Edzard (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg): The morphosyntax of compounding in Semitic Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 15 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
Peter Jenks (Berkeley): Anaphoric definites as anchored definites Ling 47 ("Communication Disorders") special event - Friday Feb 15 - Dwinelle 1229 - 4pm
Viewing and discussion of the documentary When I Stutter
Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Feb 20 - Dwinelle 1303 - 11-12:30PM
Practice talks for ICLDC: Julia Nee (Berkeley): Communication Based Instruction and Evaluation of Language Revitalization; Anna Berge (Alaska Native Language Center) and Edwin Ko (Berkeley): Interactive Maps, Place, and Context Philosophy Dept Work in Progress Talk - Wednesday Feb 20 - Moses 301 - noon-1
Amy Rose Deal (Berkeley): Factivity and uncentered attitudes Climate care tea/coffee hour - Friday Feb 22 - 3401 Dwinelle - 2-3pm
Discussion of goal setting
Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 22 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-5pm
Jorge Hankamer (Santa Cruz) & Line Mikkelsen (Berkeley): CP complements to D

Linguistics events this week (Feb 8-15, 2019)

February 8, 2019

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

BLS Workshop: Countability Distinctions - Friday Feb 8 & Saturday Feb 9
Join us for talks including keynotes by Suzi Lima (Toronto) and David Barner (UCSD)! The complete program is available here. Phorum - Monday Feb 11 - 1303 Dwinelle - 12-1pm Georgia Zellou, Michelle Cohn, & Bruno Ferenc Segedin (UCD): Talking Tech: How does voice-AI influence human speech? Linguistics Colloquium - Monday Feb 11 - 370 Dwinelle - 3:10-5pm
Larry Hyman: The Fall and Rise of Vowel Length in Bantu Fieldwork Forum - Wednesday Feb 13 - Dwinelle 1303 - 11-12:30PM
Andrew Garrett, Dmetri Hayes, and Ronald Sprouse: TBA SLUgS - Thursday Feb 14 - Dwinelle 1229 - 5-6pm
Viewing of Atlantis Linguistics & Near Eastern Studies special lecture - Friday Feb 15 - 254 Barrows Hall - 2pm
Lutz Edzard (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg): The morphosyntax of compounding in Semitic Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Feb 15 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
Peter Jenks: TBA

Linguistics events this week (Nov 30-Dec 7, 2018)

November 29, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week:

Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 30 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-5pm
Zach O'Hagan: Two sorts of contrastive topic in Caquinte SLUgS Linguistics Symposium - Saturday Dec 1 - Dwinelle 370 - 8:30am-5pm Linguistics Holiday Potluck - Monday Dec 3 - Dwinelle 1229 - 12 noon Linguistics Department colloquium - Monday Dec 3 - Dwinelle 370 - 3-5pm
Carlos Gussenhoven (Radboud University Nijmegen): Between phonetics and phonology: Of the beast and the untamed savage Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Dec 6 - Dwinelle 1229 - 4-5:30PM
Quirina Geary (UC Davis): TBA Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Dec 7 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-5pm
Noga Zaslavsky (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Karee Garvin (UC Berkeley), Charles Kemp (University of Melbourne), Naftali Tishby (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), & Terry Regier (UC Berkeley): Color-naming evolution and efficiency: The case of Nafaanra

In memoriam Sue Ervin-Tripp

November 28, 2018

Psycholinguist and professor emerita Sue Ervin-Tripp passed away earlier this month. Dan Slobin writes, "We have lost a major founder of both psycho- and sociolinguistics, a distinguished researcher, and a splendid human being. She will be much missed." The campus news obituary can be read here.

QP fest 2018!

November 22, 2018

QP Fest will be held on Monday, November 26, in Dwinelle 370, from 3-5pm. (Note the rescheduled date!)

The schedule is as follows:

Introduction (3:10-3:15) Tessa Scott: "Conjoint/disjoint in Ndengeleko: A head movement alternation" (3:15-3:35) Karee Garvin: "Positional effects on timing and coordination of segments within the syllable" (3:35-3:55) Yevgeniy Melguy: "Talker ethnicity and listener expectation in the perception of foreign-accented speech" (3:55-4:15) Mini-break (4:15-4:20) Noah Hermalin: "Ambiguity and efficiency trade-offs in Sumerian cuneiform" (4:20-4:40) Myriam Lapierre: "A phonological analysis of Panãra" (4:40-5:00)

Berkeley linguists @ The Society of Biblical Literature

November 15, 2018

The 2018 annual meeting of The Society of Biblical Literature is taking place this weekend in Denver. The meeting features a pre-conference workshop on Tense and Aspect in Narrative, organized by Eve Sweetser (and featuring an invited talk by Laura Michaelis, PhD '93), as well as a talk by Rich Rhodes entitled "Frames and Exegesis...

BLS workshop announced

November 1, 2018

In place of the general meeting of BLS this February, there will be a workshop on the topic of countability distinctions. Here is the call for papers:

BLS Workshop: Countability Distinctions

08-Feb-2019 - 09-Feb-2019

Countability distinctions and mass nouns are a topic of long-standing interest in semantics, grammar, and the philosophy and psychology of language. Recent work on this topic has pushed our understanding forward in three separate but related directions:

There is more than one type of countability distinction relevant to natural language: nouns like furniture are different from nouns like sand both in how quantity judgments are carried out (Barner and Snedeker 2005) and in which types of adjectival modification are possible (Rothstein 2010, Schwarzschild 2011). A semantics for mass nouns can be given that captures the many grammatical parallels between water and furniture without ascribing the same status to the minimal elements in their denotations (Chierchia 2010, Landman 2011). The crosslinguistic picture on countability distinctions is more nuanced than originally thought: there are languages where all nouns combine with numerals in apparently similar ways (Lima 2014, Deal 2017), and in languages where classifiers are necessary to mediate noun-numeral combinations, there nevertheless exist countability-related distinctions among nouns diagnosable by quantity judgments and adjective distribution (Cheung, Li, and Barner 2010, Rothstein 2010).

For this workshop, held in place of the general meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, we invite submissions for talks on all aspects of countability distinctions in natural language. Submissions may address questions including, though not limited to, the following:

- What are the ways in which countability distinctions are manifested in particular languages?
- Are morphosyntactic differences in the distribution of count versus mass nouns traceable directly to their semantics, or to their syntax, or to both?
- What do countability distinctions show us about nominal semantics? What do they teach us about nominal syntax?
- How should we choose among theories of mass noun semantics (or syntax) currently on the market?
- Are countability distinctions a language universal? Which distinctions are subject to variation (if any), and which (if any) are not?
- How are countability distinctions represented psychologically, and acquired by children?

Invited speakers (confirmed):
David Barner (UC San Diego)
Suzi Lima (University of Toronto)

Conference website:

Organizing Committee:
Emily Clem, Virginia Dawson, Amy Rose Deal, Paula Floro, Peter Jenks, Tyler Lemon, Line Mikkelsen, Tessa Scott, Yi-Chi Wu

Call for Papers:

Submission deadline: November 30, 2018

Abstracts should be submitted in PDF format via EasyChair:

Abstracts should not exceed two pages in length (12-point type, Times New Roman, single line spacing, 1 inch margins) including examples and references.

Submissions must be anonymous and are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author or two joint abstracts per author.

Reviews and notifications of acceptance will be returned to authors by mid-December.

Sweetser, Regier on the Origins & Nature of Language

November 1, 2018

On-going this semester is a Learning in Retirement course, offered through the Berkeley Retirement Center, entitled The Origins and Nature of Language. The course lecture this week was delivered by Eve Sweetser, and next week's lecture will be given by Terry Regier:

Eve Sweetser: Why are Languages so different? Slides Audio Link with Slides Terry Regier: What are the consequences of linguistic diversity for perception and thought?
Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 2-4 pm, Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Building

Congrats, Eve and Terry!