Syntax and Semantics

Bardagil publishes in Linguistic Variation

October 15, 2020

Congrats to researcher Bernat Bardagil, whose article Number morphology in Panará has just appeared in Linguistic Variation 20:2!

Berkeley @ NELS 51

October 8, 2020

The program for the 51th annual meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (to be hosted virtually by the Université de Quebec à Montreal) has just been released, promising the following presentations by current department members and recent alumni:

  • Amy Rose Deal: 3-on-3 restrictions and PCC typology
  • Peter Jenks: Names as complex indices: On apparent Condition C violations in Thai
  • Laura Kalin and Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18): Deconstructing subcategorization: Conditions on insertion vs. position
  • Edwin Ko: Feeding agreement: Anti-locality in Crow applicatives of unaccusatives

Congrats all!

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.

Cal @ CamCoS9

September 1, 2020
A virtual version of the 9th Cambridge Comparative Syntax conference, originally scheduled for the spring, will be taking place next week, with two collaborative Berkeley talks on the program:

Berkeley linguists at Sinn und Bedeutung

August 17, 2020

The program for Sinn und Bedeutung 25, co-hosted virtually by University College London and Queen Mary University of London, has now been posted, and Berkeley will be represented by:

  • Madeline Bossi, "N-effects are not-P-effects: Pronoun competition in Scottish Gaelic," abstract, project page
  • Schuyler Laparle, "Multi-modal QUD management: case studies of topic-shifting," abstract, project page

The conference will be held September 1-9, and you can find information about how to attend for free here. Note that the Bossi talk will be asynchronous and the Laparle talk will be synchronous.

Congrats, Maddy and Schuyler!

Berkeley linguists at SALT

August 19, 2020

Semantics and Linguistic Theory 30, hosted virtually by Cornell this year, has been taking place this week and has featured the following talks by department members and alumni:

  • Prerna Nadathur: Causality and aspect in ability, actuality, and implicativity
  • Scott AnderBois and Maksymilian Dąbkowski (first year grad student!): A'ingae =sa'ne APPR and the semantic typology of apprehensional adjuncts
  • Nicholas Fleisher (PhD 2008): Unconcealed Questions
  • Pranav Anand and Maziar Toosarvandani (PhD 2010): Embedded presents and the structure of narratives

Congrats all!

Dawson presents at NYU Semantics Group

May 21, 2020

Very recent PhD graduate Virginia Dawson will be giving a (remote) talk at the NYU Semantics Group this Friday, May 22, at 10:30 am Pacific. The title of her talk is "Deriving obligatory narrow scope disjunction." Please email Ginny for the Zoom link.

Dawson to appear in Linguistic Inquiry

April 11, 2020

Congrats to Virginia Dawson, whose squib "Outscoping the directive force of imperatives" has been accepted for publication at Linguistic Inquiry!

Dawson to Western Washington

February 25, 2020

Congratulations to Virginia Dawson, who has just accepted a tenure-track position in semantics at Western Washington University! Ginny will be joining Western's newest department.