01 May 2011

Acquisition Lab Meeting on Monday at 6PM

The Last Acquisition Lab Meeting of the semester is  Monday May 2nd, in the Partee Room (South College 301) at  6:00 PM. (NOTE THE NEW TIME.)

The presentations will be:

"Economy of Representation and Implicature at DP for plurals"
Terue Nakato-Miyashita and Tom Roeper


"Preliminary data from a survey on quantifier intuitions from speakers of  African American English"
Barbara Pearson

Everyone Is Welcome!

Becker and Fainleib at Experimental Phonology Working Group

On Tuesday May 3rd at 10 am the Experimental Phonology Working Group will hear a presentation by Michael Becker and Lena Fainleib on "The naturalness of product-oriented generalizations". A draft of the paper can be found here (http://roa.rutgers.edu/view.php3?roa=1036).

Emily Elfner takes SSHRC at McGill

Emily Elfner has been awarded a prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada two year fellowship. She will undertake her research at McGill University, where she will join UMass alumni Junko Shimoyama, Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Bernhard Schwarz. She will be working at Michael Wagner's prosody lab.

Congratulations Emily!

Claire Bowern speaks at colloq

Claire Bowern, of Yale University gave the department colloquium on Friday April 29th. An abstract of her talk, Computational Pylogenetics and Australian Languages, follows.

I present the first proposal for the internal subgrouping and higher order structure of the Pama-Nyungan family of Australian languages. Previous work has identified more than 25 primary subgroups in the family, with little indication of how these groups might fit together. Some work has assumed that reconstruction of higher nodes in the tree would be impossible, either because extensive internal borrowing has obscured more remote relations, or because relevant languages are not sufficiently well attested. Here I show that the Pama-Nyungan tree has considerable internal structure, and that language contact and missing data do not impede reconstruction unduly. This work shows the power of combining historical reconstruction with computational approaches to phylogenetic inference and provides an illustration of the way in which language can give us new insights into unsolved problems in prehistory.

Jesse Harris goes to Pomona

Jesse Harris has accepted a tenure-track job at Pomona College in Southern California. Pomona is part of a consortium of five prestigious schools nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, and is described (on their website) as blending "New England charm and South California beauty." It is the happy valley with a better climate. Pomona's linguistics and cognitive science department is top notch --- our own Meredith Landman has been teaching there for the past couple of years, and they recently hired Michael Diercks, a Bantuist from Georgetown.

Jess will be shipping off to his new career at the end of Fall 2011.

Congratulations Jesse!

Chris Davis goes to Kyoto University

Chris Davis has received a two-year  Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers. He'll use it to study focus-sensitive particles and their interaction with mood and force. His work will involve fieldwork in the islands of the Ryukus, principally Ishigaki, but he'll be based at Kyoto University where he will work with Yukinori Takubo.

Congratulations Chris!

Oiry's book now available

Magda Oiry's dissertation on the acquisition of long-distance questions is now available. It can be purchased at:


Second Year mini conference

The second year graduate students will present their generals papers work at the annual Second Year's mini-conference on Thursday, May 5, from 9-3 in Herter 301.

Speas wins Distinguished Academic Outreach Award

John McCarthy reports:

Peggy Speas is this year's recipient of  the Distinguished Academic Outreach Award. "The Distinguished Academic  Outreach Awards, established in 1997, recognize and encourage  superlative individual achievement in outreach as an incentive to  further community engagement on the part of the academic enterprise.

Recipients receive a cash award."

She will receive the award (the plaque, not a wad of cash) at the UMass 
Honors Dinner on Founder's Day, Friday, April 29.