21 April 2014

Lyn Frazier gets Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

The Graduate School made available this year two new awards, one for graduate faculty and another for graduate staff. It is with great pleasure that WHISC announces that our own Lyn Frazier, along with Eric Decker of Food Science and Erin Baker of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, are inaugural winners of the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award. Congratulations Lyn!

Oiry and Hartman at LARC

For the final meeting of the semester, Magda Oiry and Jeremy Hartman will present their ongoing work on the acquisition of factives. Thursday, April 24, at 9:45 in the Partee room.

Veneeta Dayal gives department colloq on Friday

Veneeta Dayal will present “What Polar kayaa tells us about Speech Acts” in the department colloquium this Friday, April 25, at 3:30 in Machmer E-37. An abstract of her talk follows.

I first present the findings of Bhatt and Dayal (2014) about a wh expression kyaa that optionally occurs with polar and alternative questions, but not wh questions:

1a.  (kyaa) tum cai piyoge

        What  you  tea will-drink     

        “Will you drink tea?”

b.   (kyaa) tum cai piyoge         yaa cofii

       What  you  tea will-drink   or   coffee     

       “Will you drink  TEA or COFFEE?”

c.  *kyaa kaun cai piyegaa

      What who tea will-drink     

       “Who will drink tea?’

Polar kyaa is analyzed as a Speech Act operator QUEST in ForceP, rather than a Y/N question operator.  While this is fairly unremarkable for matrix questions, embedded contexts present a more nuanced picture.  The empirical generalization is that polar kyaa can occur in those embedded contexts in which the embedded question is discourse-active, in the sense of Dayal and Grimshaw (2009).  The second part of the talk draws out the theoretical implications of this generalization, focusing on current approaches to polar questions and embedded speech acts, such as Farkas and Roelofsen (2012), Krifka (2009, 2014), among others.

PSYCH EM on Wednesday

The long-postponed PSYCH EM meeting will take place this Wednesday, April 23, at Brian Dillon’s home at 8PM. 

2014 entering class announced

Please welcome the new members of the graduate program, who will be arriving this Fall.

Thuy Bui, who is from Viet Nam and is currently a student at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. She is interested in working on Vietnamese syntax and has worked on adverbs and yes/no questions.

Rodica Ivan, who is from Romania and has studied at the University of Bucharest, as well as in Venice. She is interested in relativization strategies in Romanian, complementizers, and language acquisition, as well as many other topics.

Petr Kusliy, who is from Russia and studied philosophy at the Russian State University and the Institute of Philosophy. He has studied with Barbara in Moscow. He is interested in the semantics of attitude reports and the semantics of tense.

Deniz Ozyildiz, who is from Turkey but studied at Nanterre University in France and at UCLA; he is currently in the cognitive science program at the École normale supérieure in Paris. He is interested in syntax, semantics, and fieldwork, and has worked on tensed verbs in Turkish and on shifting indexicals.

Georgia Simon, who is an American student at Rutgers. She is interested in prosody and pragmatics, and has experience doing research using experimental methods.

RUMMIT on Saturday

The annual RUMMIT meeting is this Saturday at MIT. RUMMIT brings sound scientists from the northeast together to share ongoing research. WHISC has heard that UMass phonologist Robert Staubs will be presenting. As more details become available, they’ll be posted here.

Barbara Partee at Harvard on Monday, April 28

Barbara Partee gives the IX annual Joshua and Verona Whatmough Guest lecture at Harvard University on Monday, April 28, in 113 Sever Hall from 4-6PM. The title of her lecture is “The History of Formal Semantics: Changing Notions of Semantic Competence.”  For more information, go here.

Roeper on the road

Tom Roeper writes:

Last week I gave a talk on "Minimal Rules and Unlabelled Nodes in Multi-lingualism: How rules apply across grammars” at a small workshop on Multilingualism at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Wassenaar organized by Liliane Haegeman and Michel deGraff.

Then this week I was invited to give a plenary keynote lecture at the 10th anniversary of the Experimental Methods in Acquisition Research (EMLAR) conference in Utrecht on "There are No methods, only Theories".

Each of these conferences revealed the burgeoning vitality of empirical research in acquisition---and impressive attention to what the details of bilingualism can reveal, and new projects throughout Europe are being developed, particularly in Norway, England, Greece, Belgium, and China.