31 August 2014

Town Meeting this Friday

The Town meeting will happen on Friday, September 5, in the main lobby of the department. (The “main lobby” is that area outside Michelle and Tom’s offices, immediately beyond the front door to the department.) The Town Meeting is the occasion upon which all the new members of the department meet the established members of the department. It is also a time at which much of the human infrastructure of the department is revealed (e.g., who is graduate program director? what is a graduate program director? what is a guru?). And finally, it is where photographs or linguists are produced for the department website and directory. We’ll start taking individual photos at 2:30. Since many of the old photos were lost in the move, you should come to this even if you had a photo in South College. The town meeting will start at 3:15, with the group photo happening directly afterwards.

Lyn Frazier honored at Faculty Convocation

Lyn Frazier, along with seven other UMass faculty, will receive the award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity at the Tenth Annual Faculty Convocation on Friday, September 12. Join us in congratulating Lyn on this high honor.

Kratzer gives Sweet Lecture

Angelika Kratzer gives the Henry Sweet lecture at the 2014 annual meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain on September 1.  Her lecture, “The semantics of embedding and the syntax of the left periphery,” is the plenary talk at a workshop on the syntax and semantics of embedding that includes talks by Enoch Aboh, Adriana Bellettii, Martina Faller and Daniel Rothschild. For more information, go here.

Call for papers: Grasping Ellipsis

The University of Campinas in Sao Paulo Brazil will be hosting a workshop “Grasping Ellipsis: its syntax, semantics, acquisition and processing” on May 4-5 2015. They are accepting abstracts for 30 minute talks until November 2. For more information, go here.

Alex Drummond

Alex Drummond will be a visiting professor in syntax for the 2014-15 academic year. He has worked on the Binding Theory, Quantifier Raising, issues in anaphora and ellipsis, Preposition Stranding and on general issues of the design of syntactic derivations. You can find out more about his work here.

He’ll be teaching a seminar in the Spring. This term, his office is in the CSAAL area of the department: N472.


Sang-Im Lee-Kim

One of the visiting phonology faculty this academic year is Sang-Im Lee-Kim, who has just completed a dissertation (“Contrast Neutralization and Enhancement in Phoneme Inventories: Evidence from Sibilant Place Contrast and Typology”) at NYU. You can find out more about her research (and name) here. Her office is N434.

Shapeimage 1

Robert Staub

The inaugural dissertation defense in the Seminar Hub (N400 of the new department) took place on July 25, and featured Robert Staub who successfully defended his dissertation, “Computational Modeling of Learning Biases in Stress Typology.” Robert will be visiting faculty in the department for the 2014-15 academic year, teaching a proseminar in Phonology (LING 730) in the Fall and LING 402 in the Spring. You’ll find him in room N454 of the department.


Semantics position at Toronto

The Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto (St. George Campus), invites applications for a full-time tenure-stream position in the area of Semantics. The appointment will be at the rank of Assistant Professor, and will begin on July 1, 2015.

Qualifications include a proven record of research in formal semantics. The ideal candidate will have experience in fieldwork on an understudied language as well as a secondary strength in syntax. Applicants must have completed the Ph.D. by the start date or shortly thereafter and have a demonstrated record of excellence in teaching and research.

Duties include teaching and supervision at the undergraduate and graduate levels, maintaining an active research agenda, and participating in the academic life of the department.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

All qualified candidates are invited to apply online by clicking on the link below. Applications should include a cover letter of no more than 2 single-spaced pages, a curriculum vitae, a research statement, evidence of teaching ability (including a statement of teaching philosophy), a writing sample, and the names and email addresses of three referees. Please combine your application into one or two files. If you have questions about this position, please contact lingdept@CHASS.UTORONTO.CA.

All application materials should be submitted online and received by October 24, 2014.

Submission guidelines can be found at: http://uoft.me/how-to-apply. We recommend combining attached documents into one or two files in PDF/MS Word format.

Applicants should also arrange to have three letters of reference, preferably as signed PDF documents on letterhead, sent directly to Professor Keren Rice at the address lingdept@CHASS.UTORONTO.CA with the subject line: "Semantics – (your full name)" by the job deadline date.

More information on the University of Toronto (http://www.utoronto.ca) and the Department of Linguistics (http://linguistics.utoronto.ca) can be found on their respective websites. Linguistics course descriptions are available at www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/calendar/crs_lin.htm.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

McCarthy/Pater NSF

Joe Pater writes:

John McCarthy and I are very pleased to be able to announce that the NSF has awarded a grant of $305,613 to support a project entitled “Computing constraint-based derivations: Phonological opacity and hidden structure learning”, starting September 1, 2014, and lasting for 3 years. John and I will direct the grant, and the other senior personnel will be Robert Staubs (UMass) and Mark Johnson (Macquarie). The grant will support a graduate student RA, and also includes a Research Experience for Undergraduates component that will involve two undergraduates every semester. This coming semester, Presley Pizzo will be an RA on the grant, and Amanda Doucette and Stephanie Rich will  participate in the REU program. All are welcome to participate in grant activities, including our weekly meetings which will take place at 10 am Thursdays this semester. We will announce grant meetings on the ling-phonology mailing list (https://list.umass.edu/mailman/listinfo/ling-phonology). Students interested in future RA-ships or the REU program are especially encouraged to attend grant meetings, and also to talk with John or me.

The project plans include the creation of a publicly accessible database on instances of phonological opacity, development of accounts of opacity in Harmonic Serialism and comparison with other approaches, implementation of computational tools for working with derivational versions of OT and Harmonic Grammar ("OT-Help 3"), and research on the learning of hidden structure in a Maximum Entropy framework, including learning of derivations (the goals of the project will undoubtedly evolve as we pursue this collaborative work).

UMass at AMLaP XX

The 2014 Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing conference will be hosted by the University of Edinburgh from Wednesday, September 3, through Saturday, September 6. UMass students, faculty and alumni are well-represented. Chuck Clifton will be chairing a panel discussion entitled "The Past, Present and Future of Psycholinguistics,” and the following papers are on the schedule:

"Ambiguity advantages in attachment and pronominal reference: Evidence from eye movements during reading” by Margaret Grant, Brian Dillon and Shayne Sloggett

"Adjective sprouting in much-less ellipsis” by alumni Katy Carlson and Jesse Harris.

"SNAP judgments: Small N acceptability paradigm (SNAP) for linguistic judgments” by Jeremy Hartman, with Kyle Mahowald, Peter Graff and Edward Gibson.