27 March 2011

Malte Zimmermann speaks on Thursday, March 31

Semantics guru Malte Zimmermann will give a talk entitled "The expression of Indefiniteness in Hausa" from 4:00-6:00 in Bartlett 205 on Thursday, March 31.

Ana Arregui gives talk on March 30th

Angelika Kratzer writes:

Ana Arregui from the University of Ottawa will talk in my seminar on modality on March 30 at 2:30 in Hasbrouck Lab Addition 106. The title of the talk is: Spanish 'poder': when abilities meet the facts.
Everyone is welcome.
Here is an abstract:
This presentation will focus on Spanish poder, a modal verb standardly understood as an existential modal. Spanish poder can target three types of ‘modal flavors’: epistemic, counterfactual, and ability. My objective in this presentation will be to explore a unified account of the three types, focusing on the case of ability readings. Bhatt (1999, 2006) notes that aspectual morphology affects the range of interpretations associated with modals. This has been taken up more recently by Hacquard (2006, 2010), who discusses in detail the case of French pouvoir. The key observation is that perfective aspect can give rise to ‘actuality entailments’ in ability readings. In my discussion of Spanish, I will note differences between Spanish and French and then proceed to provide an account of the Spanish case in terms of a modal framework that appeals to Kratzer-style situations (Kratzer 1989, 2009, etc.). Tense and aspect will play a crucial role in the proposal, anchoring the modal claim to facts in the actual world.


CLS next week

The 47th meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society meets April 7-9 at the University of Chicago. Angelika Kratzer is an invited speaker for the main session. Her talk is on "Hunting down the material conditional." Norvin Richards, former visiting professor to the UMass linguistics department is another invited speaker.
The program includes other members of the UMass linguistics community, including:
Noah Contant, who is presenting "Re-diagnosing appositivity: Evidence for prenominal appositives from Mandarin"
Terue Nakato-Miyashita, who presents "The economy of encoding and anaphoric dependency with relational nouns: Evidence from child grammar"
Anne Pycha and John Kingston who present "Duration variation triggered by consonant voicing is not gestural: Evidence from production"
Gillian Gallagher (UMass alumnae), who presents "Auditory features: The case from laryngeal cooccurrence restrictions"
For more information, go here: the chicago linguistic society

Workshop on Multidominance

On Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, the UMass linguistics department will host a Workshop on multidominant representations in syntax. The workshop is free and open to everyone. It'll occur in Herter 301.

More information can be discovered at the workshop website here.

Chris Davis Defends!

On Tuesday, March 29, at 10AM in Bartlett 205, Chris M. Davis will defend his doctoral dissertation: "Constraining Interpretations: Sentence Final Particles in Japanese."

Come one, come all!!

Maria Biezma-Garrido defends!

On Tuesday, March 29, at 2PM in Bartlett 205, Maria Biezma-Garrido will defend her doctoral dissertation: "Anchoring Pragmatics in Syntax and Semantics."

All are welcome!

ECO 5 on April 2

Martin Walkow writes:

ECO 5, the Harvard, MIT, UConn, MIT and UMass grad student workshop on
Syntax is coming up on April 2. This is a great opportunity to present
ongoing work, like GPs, to an informed and friendly audience. This
year it is at MIT. Please let me know ASAP if you are planing to
present and also if you are planing to attend.

Launch of the Institute for Computational and Experimental Study of Language

Joe Pater writes:

I'm pleased to announce the schedule for the workshop launching the Institute for Computational and Experimental Study of Language, to be held Friday April 1 from 2 - 5:30 in the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union Building.


I'm particularly pleased to announce that it will include talks by Brian Dillon and Kristine Yu, our new faculty in Linguistics, as well as Alexandra Jesse, who has recently joined us in Psychology. There will also be over 30 posters by students and faculty in these two departments as well as Communication Disorders, Computer Science, and Languages, Literatures and Cultures. In addition, the recipients of 12 seed grants for new interdisciplinary research on language will be announced.

Postcard from Barbara

Barbara Partee writes:

I had a busy happy time in Oslo last week, doing three things. The main event was giving the third annual “Academy Lecture in the Humanities and Social Sciences” of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on March 15. My talk was “The Origins of Formal Semantics from Linguistics and Philosophy: Humanities, Science, or Both?”. (answer, of course, ‘both’.) There are a couple of nice photos in the Academy newsletter here. I also gave a talk at the Center for the Study of Mind in Nature on March 16: “Context dependence and implicit arguments.” And I managed to fit in five interviews in connection with my book project on the history of formal semantics (for which I’ve now signed a contract with Oxford University Press), while enjoying the hospitality of the linguistics group at the Center for Advanced Study at the Academy.

ICESL seed grants announced

The following members of the department have been awarded ICESL seed grants:

Yelena Fainleib for "The Role of Stress-Pattern Knowledge in Online Speech Processing
Jason Overfelt for "Parsing Long-distance Dependencies in Tigrinya"
Presley Pizzo for "How Category Complexity Affects Phonological Learning"
Seda Kan for "Processing Relative Clauses and Accommodation: A Typological Study"
Brian Dillon for "The role of grammatical constraints in parsing and interpreting reflexive pronouns"
Claire Moore-Cantwell for "Syntactic predictability and audience design"
Suzi Lima for "Yudja online dictionary & grammar"

Congratulations to all!

Tracy Conner gets prestigious Graduate Diversity Award

The Graduate Diversity Assistantship Committee has given their 2011-12 award to our own Tracy Conner.
Congratulations Tracy!

Program for CLDC 2011 in Taipei announced

The Conference on Language, Discourse and Cognition 2011 is a linguistic conference held in National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. The preliminary program and registration information of the upcoming CLDC are now online and can be accessed from the links below.

Mellon Team Mentoring Grant goes to Brian Dillon, Alexandra Jesse and Lisa Sanders

Brian Dillon of Linguistics, and Alexandra Jesse and Lisa Sanders of Psychology have been awarded a $10,000 Mellon Team Mentoring Grant that will support an interdisciplinary mentoring program for Assistant Professors associated with the Institute for Computational and Experimental Study of Language. Each junior faculty member will be mentored by a more senior faculty member in their own department, and an ICESL member from another department, as well as participate in larger group activities.

Kate Conti and Eric Ssebanakita in the news

Senior linguistics major Kate Conti was a featured speaker at an event celebrating the successes of students who transferred from community colleges to UMass Amherst. Our former computer wizard Eric Ssebanakita was also present. http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/newsreleases/articles/124794.php

James McQueen talks at ICESL on Tuesday, March 29

James McQueen will be delivering the first ICESL-sponsored departmental colloquium in Psychology at 4 pm on March 29th in Tobin Hall Room 423. His talk is entitled: "Speech recognition depends on abstract knowledge about sounds, voices and words."

More information can be found at:


INFL/TCD Workshop on Natural Language Metaphysics

The Irish Network in Formal Linguistics (INFL) and Trinity College Dublin are organizing a workshop around the visit of Wynn Chao and Emmon Bach on April 12-24, 2011. The workshop is named after Emmon's 1986 paper in Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.

A schedule, and more information, can be found at:

INFL/TCD Workshop on Natural Language Metaphysics

Call for Papers: 9th International Tbilisi Symposium

2nd Call for Papers


26--30 September 2011
Kutaisi, Georgia
Website: http://www.illc.uva.nl/Tbilisi/Tbilisi2011/

The Ninth International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation will be held on 26 -- 30 September 2011 in Kutaisi, Georgia. The Programme Committee invites submissions for contributions to on all aspects of language, logic and computation. Work of an interdisciplinary nature is particularly welcome. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

* Natural language syntax, semantics, and pragmatics
* Constructive, modal and algebraic logic
* Linguistic typology and semantic universals
* Logics for artificial intelligence
* Information retrieval, query answer systems
* Logic, games, and formal pragmatics
* Language evolution and learnability
* Computational social choice
* Historical linguistics, history of logic
* Algorithmic game theory
* Formal models of multiagent systems

Authors can submit an anonymous abstract of two pages (800 words) at the
EasyChair conference system here:



Submission deadline:                May 1, 2011
Notification of acceptance:        July 1, 2011
Final abstracts due:                August 1, 2011
Registration deadline:                September 1, 2011
Symposium:                        September 26-30, 2011

Programme and submission details can be found at:


Dan Crane wins Scanlon Student Employee Award

Dan Crane, who has worked in the department office off and on for the last couple years, will be one of ten students receiving the Scanlon Student  
Employee of the Year Award.

Congratulations Dan!

BU Conference on Language Development: Call for Papers


NOVEMBER 4-6, 2011

Keynote Speaker:
Sandra Waxman, Northwestern University
"What's in a word? Links between linguistic and conceptual organization in infants and young children"

Plenary Speaker:
Cornelia Hamann, University of Oldenburg
"Bilingual development and language assessment"

Lunch Symposium: "Morphology in second language acquisition and processing"
Harald Clahsen, University of Essex/University of Potsdam
Holger Hopp, University of Mannheim
Donna Lardiere, Georgetown University
Silvina Montrul (organizer), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Submissions that present research on any topic in the fields of first and second language acquisition from any theoretical perspective will be fully considered. Eligible topics include: Bilingualism, Cognition and Language, Creoles and Pidgins, Dialects, Discourse and Narrative, Gesture, Hearing Impairment and Deafness, Input and Interaction, Language Disorders, Linguistic Theory, Neurolinguistics, Pragmatics, Pre-linguistic Development,  Reading and Literacy, Signed Languages, Sociolinguistics, and Speech Perception and Production.

A suggested format and style for abstracts is available at:

We will begin accepting abstract submissions on April 15, 2011.
Please check http://www.bu.edu/bucld/ for a link to the submission form and any important updates.

DEADLINE: All submissions must be received by 8:00 PM EDT, May 15, 2011.

General conference information is available at:
Boston University Conference on Language Development
96 Cummington Street, Room 244
Boston, MA 02215
Questions about abstracts should be sent to abstract@bu.edu