Syntax and Semantics

Bare nouns, numbers, and definiteness in Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec

Amy Rose Deal
Julia Nee
2018

How is definiteness expressed in number-marking languages lacking a definite article? May bare nouns in such languages simply be read as definites or indefinites, without constraint? Dayal (2004) demonstrates that the interpretation of bare nouns with respect to definiteness is significantly constrained in Hindi and Russian. In these languages, singular and plural bare nouns present different possibilities for indefinite interpretation, in a way that receives a natural explanation within a neo-Carlsonian theory of noun meaning (Chierchia, 1998).

On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá

Peter Jenks
Andrew Koontz-Garboden
Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso
2018

This paper considers the link between lexical category and lexical semantics, examining variation in the category of property concept (PC) words (Dixon, 1982; Thompson, 1989) — words introducing the descriptive content in translational equivalents of sentences whose main predicate is an adjective in languages with large open classes of them. Francez and Koontz-Garboden (2015) conjecture that nominal PC words might only have mass-type denotation (conceived in the spirit of Link 1983), as diagnosed by possession in predication (e.g., Kim has beauty/#Kim is beauty).

Linguistics in action

October 11, 2018

Calques has received some great photos from last weekend's NELS/AMP double-header!

Berkeley linguists at NELS

At NELS: Schuyler Laparle, Emily Clem, Nico Baier (PhD '18), Tessa Scott

Tessa Scott

Tessa Scott with her NELS poster

Schuyler Laparle

Schuyler Laparle with her NELS poster

Nik Rolle

Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18) presenting his poster (joint work with Larry Hyman)

AMP 2018

Berkeley phonologists at AMP:  Gabriela Caballero (PhD '08), Alan Yu (PhD '03), Andrew Shibata (BA '17), Hannah Sande (PhD '17), Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18), Jesse Zymet

Alrenga visits

October 11, 2018

Welcome to Pete Alrenga, who has just joined us as a visitor! Pete sends the following words about himself: 

Hi!  I'll be visiting from UMass Amherst until mid-November, and I'll be working with Line Mikkelsen while I'm here.  Line and I are developing a project around a long-standing mutual interest of ours, namely the structure and interpretation of identity, similative, and equative constructions.  In English, these notions are canonically expressed by same, different, like, such, so, etc., and our own previous work has explored the intriguing double lives that these items lead as comparative operators and anaphoric devices.  One of the major goals of our project is to extend our understanding of such items/constructions to lesser-studied languages, and to assess the extent to which this range of uses is attested cross-linguistically.

Most of my past work has explored issues in the semantics and pragmatics of scalarity:  degree comparatives, numerals and their modifiers, and more recently, scalar implicatures and Grice's nondetachability doctrine.  I'm looking forward to my stay here at UC Berkeley...stop by some time and say hello!

Cheng, Clem recognized by the LSA

October 4, 2018

Fifth-year grad students Andrew Cheng and Emily Clem were each recognized by the LSA this week in connection with the upcoming annual meeting in New York City.  Andrew was named a finalist for the Five-minute Linguist event, which features short, informative, engaging, and accessible talks about linguistics research on a variety of topics. Andrew's presentation is entitled Style-shifting, Bilingualism, and the Koreatown Accent. Emily has been named as the third place winner of this year's Student Abstract Award, recognizing "the three best abstracts submitted by a student for a paper or poster presentation at Annual Meeting". Emily's prize-winning abstract is entitled The cyclic nature of Agree: Maximal projections as probes. 

Congrats, Andrew and Emily! 

Berkeley linguists @ LSA 2019

October 3, 2018

The program for this year's LSA annual meeting has been released, and Berkeley linguistics will be represented in 14 talks and posters (plus an organized session) by students, faculty, and very recent alumni: 

Congrats all!

Berkeley semantics in Sinn und Bedeutung 21 proceedings

October 3, 2018

The Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21 have just been published, containing four papers by faculty, students, and/or alumni: 

  • Pranav Anand & Maziar Toosarvandani (Ph.D. 2010)
    Unifying the canonical, historical, and play-by-play present. pdf
  • Amy Rose Deal & Julia Nee
    Bare nouns, number, and definiteness in Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec. pdf
  • Peter Jenks, Andrew Koontz-Garboden, & Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso
    On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá. pdf
  • Peter Sutton & Hana Filip (Ph.D 1993)
    Restrictions on subkind coercion in object mass nouns. pdf

Congrats all! 

Hyman festscrift published

October 3, 2018

Newly published with CSLI is the long-awaited volume Revealing Structure: Papers in Honor of Larry M. Hyman (eds. Eugene Buckley, Thera Crane and Jeff Good)! The book features numerous contributions by alumni, faculty, emeriti, and former visiting scholars, including: 

  • Jeff Good (Ph.D. 2003), Eugene Buckley (Ph.D. 1992)  & Thera Crane (Ph.D. 2011): Revealing Structure in Languages and Grammar
  • Jean-Marie Hombert (PhD 1975) and Rebecca Grollemund: Phylogenetic Classification of Grassfields Languages
  • Sharon Inkelas: Overexponence and Underexponence in Morphology 
  • Joyce T. Mathangwane (Ph.D. 1996): On Tones in Chisubiya (Chiikuhane) 
  • Johanna Nichols: A Direct/Inverse Subsystem in Ingush Deictic Prefixes
  • John J. Ohala: The Aerodynamic Voicing Constraint and its Phonological Implications  
  • Imelda I. Udoh (former visiting scholar): Compounding in Leggbó 
  • Alan C. L. Yu (Ph.D. 2003):  Laryngeal Schizophrenia in Washo Resonants

Congrats, Larry, on the celebratory volume, and congrats to the editors and authors!

Conference double-header!

October 3, 2018

This weekend features two conferences at which Berkeley Linguistics will have a major presence, one each in the east and the west:

  • The Annual Meeting on Phonology, at UC San Diego, features work by faculty Larry Hyman and Jesse Zymet, along with alumni Nik Rolle (PhD 2018, now at Princeton), Hannah Sande (PhD 2017, now at Georgetown),  Gabriela Caballero (PhD 2008, now at UCSD), Alan Yu (PhD 2003, now at Chicago),  and Eugene Buckley (PhD 1992, now at Penn).
  • NELS 49, at Cornell, features presentations by graduate students Emily Clem, Schuyler Laparle, and Tessa Scott, along with alum Maziar Toosarvandani (PhD 2010, now at UC Santa Cruz). 

Congrats all!