Syntax and Semantics

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!

NELS 48 proceedings published

October 30, 2018

The Proceedings of NELS 48 have just been published in a three-volume set. The set contains three papers by faculty and/or alumni: 

  • Boris Harizanov and Line MikkelsenResumption and Chain Reduction in Danish VP Left Dislocation
  • Nicholas Rolle (PhD '18), Output-Output Correspondence via Agreement by Projection
  • Hannah Sande (PhD '17) and Peter Jenks, Cophonologies by phase

Congrats all! 

Cal Alonquianists gather in Edmonton

October 30, 2018

The 50th Algonquian Conference took place last weekend in Edmonton, Alberta, featuring four talks by Berkeley faculty or alumni: 

  • Rich RhodesMorphological transitivity in Ojibwe
  • Amy Dahlstrom (PhD '86): A Meskwaki construction in narrative texts: independent pronoun + full NP
  • David Costa (PhD '94): Verb negation in Indiana Miami
  • Jerome Biedny, Matthew Burner, Andrea Cudworth, & Monica Macaulay (PhD '87): Classifier Medials Across Algonquian: A First Look

Berkeley authors are depicted below!

Cal faculty & alumni at the Algonquian Conference 2018

Linguistics events this week (Oct 26-Nov 2, 2018)

October 25, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: 

  • California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 11 - Saturday and Sunday Oct 27 and 28 - Dwinelle 370
    CUSP will feature semantics and pragmatics talks all day Saturday, as well as Sunday morning, with speakers from across the state!
  • Phorum - Monday Oct 29 - Dwinelle 1303 - 12-1pm
    Sarah Bakst and Caroline A. Niziolek (University of Wisconsin-Madison): Self monitoring in L1 and L2: a magnetoencephalography study
  • Climate Committee - Monday Oct 29 - Dwinelle 1229 - 3-4pm and 4-5pm 
    For everyone, from 3pm to 4pm, we will have a discussion of the 'impostor phenomenon', facilitated by Dr. Amy Honigman from UC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). For graduate students only, from 4pm to 5pm, Dr. Honigman will talk about the mental health and wellness services that are available for grad students and how to access them.
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Nov 1 - Dwinelle 1303 - 4-5:30PM 
    Catalina Torres (University of Melbourne): TBA
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Nov 2 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm
    Amy Rose DealClausal complementation vs. “relative embedding”: On knowledge and happiness in Nez Perce 

Clem publishes in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory

October 19, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Emily Clem, whose paper Amahuaca ergative as agreement with multiple heads  has just been been published in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory! 

Dawson invited speaker at TripleA

October 22, 2018

Congrats to fifth-year grad student Virginia Dawson, who has just been announced as an invited speaker at the upcoming TripleA conference at MIT! TripleA describes itself as "a workshop that aims at providing a forum for semanticists doing fieldwork on languages from Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania."

Amahuaca ergative as agreement with multiple heads

Emily Clem

The mechanisms underlying ergative case assignment have long been debated, with inherent and dependent theories of ergative case emerging as two of the most prominent views. This paper presents novel data from the Panoan language Amahuaca, in which ergative case is sensitive to the position of the transitive subject. The interaction of movement and morphological case assignment in Amahuaca cannot easily be captured by current inherent or dependent case theories.

Linguistics events this week (Oct 19-26, 2018)

October 18, 2018

In and around the linguistics department in the next week: 

  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Friday Oct 19 - Dwinelle 1303 - 3-4:30pm 
    Susan Steele: The architecture of inflection
  • Syntax and Semantics Circle - Monday Oct 22 - Dwinelle 1229 - 11-12:30pm  [note special time and place!]
    Ashwini Deo (Ohio State): The emergence of split-oblique case systems: A view from the Bhili dialect continuum (Indo-Aryan)
  • Phorum - Monday Oct 22 - Dwinelle 1303 - 12-1pm
    Eleanor Glewwe (UCLA): Complexity bias and substantive bias in phonotactic learning
  • Linguistics Department Colloquium- Monday Oct 22 - Dwinelle 370 - 3:10-5 pm
    Ashwini Deo (Ohio State): Marathi tense marking: A window into the lexical encoding of tense meanings
  • Fieldwork Forum - Thursday Oct 25 - 554 Barrows Hall - 4-5:30PM [note special location!]
    Line Mikkelsen, Beth Piatote, Sean Brown, and Lou Montelongo  (UC Berkeley): The Many Lives of Indigenous Languages
  • SLUgS - Thursday Oct 25 - Dwinelle 1229 - 5-6pm
    Living catalogue: brief overview of linguistics electives for Spring 2019

Berkeley to host CUSP 11, Oct 27-28

October 16, 2018

On Oct 27 and 28, Berkeley will be hosting the annual meeting of California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics, a.k.a. CUSP. CUSP is an informal annual conference that brings together people working in formal semantics and pragmatics at universities across the state. This year, Berkeley linguistics will be represented by presenters Ginny Dawson and Line Mikkelsen (along with visiting scholar Peter Alrenga). You can find the program and the RSVP form here

Deo colloquium

October 17, 2018

The 2018-2019 colloquium series continues this coming Monday, October 22, with a talk by Ashwini Deo from the Ohio State University. Same time as always, same place as always: 3:10-5 p.m., 370 Dwinelle Hall. The talk is entitled "Marathi tense marking: A window into the lexical encoding of tense meanings", and the abstract is as follows:

Partee (1973) first observed that natural language tense expressions are analogous to pronouns in that they can be interpreted indexically, anaphorically, and like bound variables. These referential (i.e. indexical+anaphoric) and non-referential interpretations of tense marking have not been yet shown to have distinct reflexes in natural language temporal expressions – i.e. no language has been claimed to lexicalize these distinctly. I argue that Marathi [mar, 71,700,000 speakers], an Indo-Aryan language of the Southern subgroup, morphosyntactically distinguishes between referential and non-referential temporal meanings. This lexicalization pattern, observed also in several other New Indo-Aryan languages, points the way to a more nuanced understanding of distinctions with respect to temporal reference in natural languages. The second part of the talk traces the diachronic emergence of this encoding pattern in the New Indo-Aryan languages, comparing it to the systems observed in Old and Middle Indo-Aryan. I tentatively suggest that the referential—non-referential contrast in the temporal domain arises due to the emergence of new present and past tense markers (auxiliaries) in a tenseless aspectually-based system.