Language and Social Context

Nichols colloquium

October 8, 2020

The 2020-2021 colloquium series kicks off this coming Monday, October 12, with a talk by Johanna Nichols (UC Berkeley), held via Zoom. The talk is entitled Proper measurement of linguistic complexity (and why it matters), and the abstract is as follows:

Hypotheses involving linguistic complexity generate interesting research in a variety of subfields – typology, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, cognition, neurolinguistics, language processing, and others. Good measures of complexity in various linguistic domains are essential, then, but we have very few and those are mostly single-feature (chiefly size of phoneme inventory and morphemes per word in text).
In other ways as well what we have is not up to the task. The kind of complexity that is favored by certain sociolinguistic factors is not what is usually surveyed in studies invoking the sociolinguistic work. Phonological and morphological complexity are very strongly inversely correlated and form opposite worldwide frequency clines, yet surveys of just one or the other, or both lumped together, are used to support cross-linguistic generalizations about the distribution of complexity writ large. Complexity of derivation, syntax, and lexicon is largely unexplored. Measuring the complexity of polysynthetic languages in the right terms has not been seriously addressed.
This paper proposes a tripartite metric---enumerative, transparency-based, and relational---using a set of different assays across different parts of the grammar and lexicon, that addresses these problems and should help increase the grammatical sophistication of complexity-based hypotheses and choice of targets for computational extraction of complexity levels from corpora. Meeting current expectations of sustainability and replicability, the set is reusable, revealing, reasonably granular, and (at least mostly) amenable to computational implementation. I demonstrate its usefulness to typology and historical linguistics with some cross-linguistic and within-family surveys.

Graduate Field Methods Course History

This page summarizes the history of graduate instruction in linguistic field methods at Berkeley, with information about academic year, language(s), consultant(s), and instructor(s), when known. The information has been reconstructed from archival course catalogs, which occasionally do not reflect the ultimate instructor of record, and in consultation with Linguistics faculty, graduate students, alumni, and records in the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. We will continue to update it as we learn more. 

Language, ethnicity and politics in Quebec

Monica Heller
1982

Advisors: Charles J. Fillmore and John J. Gumperz

Bleaman to appear in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence

April 23, 2020

Congrats to Isaac Bleaman, whose article "Implicit standardization in a minority language community: Real-time syntactic change among Hasidic Yiddish writers" has been accepted for publication at Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. The article will appear in the section Language and Computation as part of the research topic in Computational Sociolinguistics. Read the abstract here!

Berkeley @ Hispanic Linguistics Symposium

October 31, 2019

Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete writes to share news of a number of Berkeley talks recently presented at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, University of Texas at El Paso, on Oct. 24-26, 2019:

  • Ben Papadopoulos: Morphological gender innovations in Spanish of non-binary speakers
  • Justin Davidson: La [v]ariebilidad sociofonética en el español de California: Social and Linguistic Underpinnings of the Labiodentalization of /b/
  • Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete: Influence from English on the production of the /tl/ cluster by Mexican Spanish-English bilinguals
  • Gabriella Licata, Annie Helms, Rachel Weiher: Merger in production and perception? Bilingual discrimination of Spanish [β] and [v]
  • Justin Davidson: Navigating the Statistical Tides: An R Tutorial for the Non-Coding-Inclined [workshop]

Congrats all!

Bleaman featured on BerkeleyNews

October 23, 2019

This week's Berkeley News features new faculty member Isaac Bleaman -- check it out!

Berkeley @ NWAV 48

September 19, 2019

Berkeley sociolinguistics will be represented at the upcoming conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation 48 by:

  • Isaac Bleaman: Linguistic prescriptivism, social conservatism, and phonetic drift in language maintenance communities
  • Justin Davidson, Joseph Roy, and Gyula Zsombok: Workshop: Creating interactive shiny dashboards to showcase sociolinguistic research: Seeing the forest and the trees

Congrats all!

Research group meetings & talk series this semester

September 5, 2019
Calques has been made aware of the following research groups and talk series meeting this semester:
  • Experimental Phonology Working Group  --  meeting on Mondays, 10:30-11:30am, in Dwinelle 1226. The first meeting will be Monday, September 9. Contact Jesse Zymet for more information.
  • Fieldwork Forum  -- meeting on Thursdays, 3:40-5:00pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Edwin Ko, Emily Drummond and Wesley dos Santos. More info on the website: Fieldwork Forum
  • Gesture and Multimodality Group -- meeting certain Fridays, 9-11am. Contact Eve Sweetser for more information.
  • Group in American Indian Languages -- meeting dates and times TBD; contact Zach O'Hagan for more information.
  • Language Revitalization Working Group  -- meeting Thursdays 1-2pm, in Dwinelle 3401. More info on the website: Language Revitalization Working Group
  • Metaphor Group -- meeting times TBD; contact Eve Sweetser for more information.
  • Phorum  -- meeting Mondays 12-1pm, in 1229 Dwinelle. Organized by Emily Grabowski and Yevgeniy Melguy. More info on the website: Phorum
  • Society of Linguistics Undergraduates Students (SLUgS) -- meeting certain Thursdays 5pm
  • Sociolinguistics lab -- meeting on certain Tuesdays, 3:30-5pm, in Dwinelle 1229. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 10. Contact Isaac Bleaman for more information.
  • Syntax & Semantics Circle  -- meeting on Fridays, 3-4:30pm, in Dwinelle 1303. Organized by Tessa Scott & Schuyler Laparle. More info on the website: Syntax and Semantics Circle