14 March 2011

Malte Zimmermann: Semantics Guru

Zimmermann 1

Malte Zimmermann, professor of linguistics at Potsdam University, will be visiting the department for a couple weeks in his capacity as Guru of Semantics.

Here's what Angelika says about his stay:

Our semantics guru Malte Zimmermann will arrive on March 20 and will be with us until April 1st. Malte will give a department colloquium on March 25, and a seminar-style, more specialized, talk on Thursday, March 31st, from 4:00 to 6:00. Please consult the department website for information about the room for the seminar. The titles and abstracts of the talks are below. There will be a 'Welcome the Guru' event at our place with cake and fake champagne on March 20th, a reception after his March 25 colloquium in the department, and a dinner party at our place after his seminar on  March 31.

I am coordinating Malte's schedule during his stay here. Please e-mail me if you want to make an appointment with Malte, indicating your time constraints. Being a guru, Malte will not only enlighten us collectively, but will attend to our individual needs and look at whatever we may be working on in his area of expertise and beyond.  Malte is an expert on information structure, discourse particles, quantification, and pluractionality, and has worked on languages ranging from Low German to Chadic. Check out his website:
Department Colloquium on March 25 at 3:30 in Machmer E-37.
Focus Realisation and Association with Focus in Ngamo (West Chadic) (with Mira Grubic)

In this talk, I discuss the realisation of focus in Ngamo, which like many (West) African languages does not require the explicit marking of focus on non-subjects in terms of absolute prominence (pitch, movement, markers). I discuss various analyses of the realisation of focus in Ngamo and show that only two are compatible with the observable facts: (i) Analysis I assumes that focus in Ngamo is consistently marked on all constituents, but not in terms of absolute prominence, but in terms of alignment with major prosodic phrases(Féry , submitted); (ii) Analysis II assumes an asymmetry in the focus marking system of Ngamo in that only subject foci must be marked. In the final part of the talk, I show that the association behaviour of focus-particles (exclusive 'only' vs additive 'also') provides us with evidence in favour of analysis I.

Seminar-style talk on March 31 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM (room to be announced)

The Expression of Indefiniteness in Hausa

In this talk, I discuss the two ways of expressing indefiniteness in Hausa, namely by means of bare NPs or the structurally more compelx wani-DPs. I argue that the two kinds of indefinite NPs involve different modes of semantic composition, i.e. RESTRICT (Chung & Ladusaw 2004) and choice functions plus existential closure at various levels. The Hausa data would thus seem provide evidence in favour of Reinhart's (1997) flexible choice function approach, as opposed to the 
more restricted choice function accounts in Kratzer (1998) and Matthewson (1999). The final part of the talk looks in more detail at how the Hausa data fare
with respect to these alternative analyses and other criticism levelled against the flexible choice function approach by Schwarz (2001).



Call for Linguistics projects for Lavine's class

Anne Pycha writes:

I received the following message from Michael Lavine, professor of  
mathematics and statistics. If you have a project that could benefit  
from a semester's worth of work by statisticians, please contact  
Michael directly:


...let me tell you about a course in my department.  We find research  
projects from around campus, and even further, that would benefit from  
a semester's work by a couple of stat students.  During the course, a  
team of students is assigned to each project, and work on it for the  
entire semester, guided by a faculty statistician.  I'd love to have a  
linguistics project.  Do you know of any that might be suitable?

Lisa Green: Outstanding Teacher Award

Lisa Green has been selected as one of two recipients of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award for 2010-2011.

Congratulations Lisa!

Is it a good time for Semantics?


SNEWS call: deadline March 21

Jesse Harris writes:

Just a reminder about SNEWS (Southern New England Workshop in Semantics) -- the local graduate student workshop on semantics, which is being held at UConn on April 16th this year. It's a great venue to present your work and an excellent opportunity to meet fellow grad students in neighboring departments. Presentations on semantics research at all stages are welcome. The workshop is meant to encourage the development and exchange of ideas through friendly interaction between students and faculty from different universities in the area. Please email me or, better yet, Lyn Tieu directly at lyn.tieu@gmail.com if you're interested in presenting. The organizers would like a list of presenters by March 21st.

Updated information about the workshop will be posted at: http://homepages.uconn.edu/~lst08001/SNEWS2011.html

Lyn Frazier: Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity

Lyn Frazier has been selected as one of two recipients of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity. She will be honored at the CHFA Awards Ceremony on May 3 at 4:00PM (location to be announced).

Congratulations Lyn!

Texas Tech University awards Min-Joo Kim tenure

We're delighted to announce that Min-Joo Kim, awarded the PhD from our department in 2004, has just been promoted to Associate Professor of Linguistics with tenure at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas.

Congratulations Min-Joo!

Pre-registration for CLS open

Pre-registration for the 47th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society is now open on the CLS website. Prices are $20 for pre-registered students and $40 for pre-registered faculty and other attendees. After March 31, prices will go up to $25 and $50.

For those traveling, travel information is also now posted on the website to help you plan your trip. We hope to see you there!

CLS is April 7-9 at the University of Chicago and features Angelika Kratzer, who will be giving one of the invited main session talks.

Post-Bac Research Positions at University of Maryland

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park, is looking to fill up to FOUR full-time positions for post-baccalaureate researchers. Starting date for all positions is Summer or Fall 2011. Salary is competitive, with benefits included. The positions would be ideal for individuals with a BA degree who are interested in gaining significant research experience in a very active lab as preparation for a research career. Applicants must be US or Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and should have completed a BA or BS degree by the time of appointment. Previous experience in an area related to the positions is required, and relevant research experience is preferred.

Applicants may request to be considered for all four positions. Review of applications for all positions will begin immediately, and will continue until the positions are filled. For best consideration for positions #1-#3, completed applications should be received by April 21st.

Positions #1-#2: Baggett Research Fellowships 2011-2012

One-year Baggett Fellowships are full-time positions intended for individuals with a BA or BS degree who are interested in gaining significant research experience in an active interdisciplinary environment before pursuing graduate study in some area of linguistics or cognitive science. Fellows can pursue research with one or more faculty mentors in linguistics, cognitive (neuro-)science of language, or computational modeling of language. One or two fellowship positions are available for the 2011-2012 year. Positions are for one year and are not renewable. Salary is competitive, with benefits included.

Contact person: Dr Naomi Feldman, nhf@umd.edu. Further details, including faculty mentor list, at: http://www.ling.umd.edu/baggett

Position #3: Research Assistant in Psycholinguistics/Cognitive

This person will take a leading role in research projects in psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience of language. The person will be involved in all aspects of the design, testing and analysis of studies of language comprehension in adults, using behavioral and neuroscientific techniques, including ERP and MEG brain recordings (training provided). The person will also play a key role in the management of an active lab group and will contribute to Maryland's IGERT training program in Language Science (http://languagescience.umd.edu). Previous experience in linguistics and/or psycholinguistics is preferred. The ability to interact comfortably with a wide variety of people (and machines) is a distinct advantage. The position is for a one year initial appointment, with the possibility of extension beyond that time.

For more information contact Dr Colin Phillips,  colin@umd.eduhttp://www.ling.umd.edu/colin. Application requirements
are the same as for the Baggett Fellowships.

Position #4: MEG Laboratory Manager

This person will play a leading role in the operation of a magnetoencephalography (MEG) facility that is housed within the Dept of Linguistics and serves researchers from many departments, for studies on language, vision, memory, reading, audition, and kinesiology. The person will be trained as an expert user of the facility, will help to guide and train other users, will coordinate and enhance resources for the experimental paradigms in use in the lab, and will manage the smooth daily operation of the lab. The person
will also have opportunities to participate in and/or lead research projects, and participate in a range of other intellectual activities in language and cognitive neuroscience. Previous laboratory experience is preferred, and the ability to interact comfortably with a wide variety of people and technologies is strongly preferred. Prior experience with MEG or other electrophysiological techniques is NOT required. The position is for a one year initial appointment, with the possibility of extension beyond that time. For more information contact lab co-directors Dr Colin Phillips (Linguistics, colin@umd.edu) or Dr Jonathan Simon (Electrical Engineering, jzsimon@umd.edu). Applicants are the same as for the Baggett Fellowships.

Applicants for any of the 4 positions should submit a cover letter outlining relevant background and interests (including potential faculty mentors), a current CV, and the names and contact information for 3 potential referees. Letters are not needed as part of the initial application. Applicants should also send a writing sample. All application materials should be submitted electronically.

Positions #1-#2 - Naomi Feldman (nhf@umd.edu). NOTE: Put "Baggett Fellowship" in the subject line.

Positions #3-#4 - Colin Phillips (colin@umd.edu).
NOTE: Put "Research Assistantship" in the subject line.

Prospective applicants should feel free to send a preliminary letter of interest to
Dr Feldman or Dr Phillips.

LSA's Linguistic Institute

UMass will be present at the Linguistic Society of America's Linguistic Institute, held this July in the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Emmon Bach and Wynn Chao will be giving a joint course on Semantic Universals and Semantic Typology.

Joe Pater will be giving a class on Harmonic Grammar and running a workshop (with Matt Goldrick and Meghan Sumner) on Testing Models of Phonetics and Phonology.

Chris Potts (recent faculty member) will be giving a class on Computational Pragmatics.

Alice Harris will be giving an Institute Lecture on July 19 entitled "Agreement Puzzles: The Explanatory Power of Historical Linguistics." She will also be participating in the workshop "Challenges of Complex Morphology to Morphological Theory," on July 27th.

Rajesh Bhatt will be running a workshop on July 23 and 24 on using the Hindi-Urdu Treebank. He will also be teaching "Treebanking and the Theoretical Linguist," with Fei Xia of the University of Washington.


Linguist List Fund Drive

Barbara Partee writes:

The Linguist List fund drive is up and running, and the hard economic times mean they need our help more than ever. I've been urging and helping Russian linguists to donate, but just now realized that as of today (March 9) I don't see any donations from UMass! (I'm one of the Linguist List "Advisors", so I have to save my donation for the "Advisors' Challenge" at the end.) Remember that students can and should donate too! Everyone should! You can choose what university to give credit to with your donation -- it can be your undergraduate school, your graduate school, your employer, where you're visiting right now -- up to you! (Hint: UMass is not a bad choice if you have any connection to it at all, and if you're reading WHISC, then you do!) The "Graduate School Challenge" is just a friendly philanthropic competition, but I would love to see us do well in it! Linguist List is doing more and more, and the fund drive money ALL goes to support E.M.U. graduate students who work on Linguist List -- they deserve our thanks and support!

Emmon Bach elected VP of SSILA

The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas recently elected Emmon Bach its Vice President and President Elect.

For more information about SSILA, go to: http://www.ssila.org/

Chelsea McGovern at University of Michigan

Chelsea McGovern has been offered a position with the Summer Research Opportunity Program at the University of Michigan. She'll be working with Professor Boland.

Congratulations Chelsea!