05 September 2011

WHISC returns

The WHISC staff have returned from the beach today, hungry for news. Please let us know if we have missed one of your newsworthy summer activities by sending a description of it to umass.whisc@gmail.com.

Special Lectures in Proseminar in Semantics

Angelika Kratzer writes:

You are all cordially invited to two special lectures of this semester's proseminar in semantics on quantification around the world.

September 6 (tomorrow!)

Barbara Partee
The history of formal semantics (with particular attention to debates about and treatments of quantification).

September 27

Luis Alonso-Ovalle (McGill) & Paula Menéndez-Benito (Göttingen)
Spanish "algunos" and dependent plurality.


Time: 2:30 PM
Place: the regular meeting place for the seminar is 136, Hasbrouck Laboratory. But since we are expecting a bigger crowd for the special events, we requested Herter 207 for those. Since the request has not yet been confirmed, I will send around another message on Tuesday morning.

Department Town Meeting this Friday

The beginning of the year Town Meeting will occur this Friday, September 9, at 3:30 in the Partee Room (301 South College). This annual event marks the official beginning of the social life at South College. It is the occasion at which the new members of the linguistics community meet the old(er) ones, and reading groups, labs and the like are announced, and, most importantly, the department picture is taken.

Department Picnic this Saturday

The annual department picnic kicks off at 3:30pm this Saturday, September 10, at Barbara and Volodja's house in Amherst. Their house is at 50 Hobart Lane, a small street off North Pleasant just a short distance north of UMass and opposite Puffton Village. Their house is big white thing on the left, near the end of this short street.

This potluck marks the unofficial start of the social life of the linguistics community and provides a venue for showing off your summer recipes. It is usual for the menu to be organized at the Town Meeting on Friday.

Barbara writes:

There is no parking permitted on most of Hobart Lane.
Parking is possible in our driveway, and parking is possible in the
daylight hours on the opposite side of the street between our house and
where Hobart Lane turns into a dirt road, but for safety, put a note
under your windshield wiper that tells the police your name and that you
are now at 50 Hobart Lane and asking them please to let us know if there
is a problem. (The parking restrictions help us combat the problems of
large beer parties in the neighboring apartment complexes on Hobart
Lane, so we like to stay friends with the police! We'll let them know
about the party, but they won't be able to grant a parking waiver for a
September Saturday. But they are usually willing to come and let us know
when cars need to be moved, rather than just towing them away.)    

But don't be daunted by any of that -- somebody can always help you
figure out where to park. Do come, rain or shine!

The free bus service has a bus stop very near Hobart Lane -- it's the
"Crestview/ Presidential Apartments" stop, near Puffton Village and
North Village and Crestview apartments.

UMOP 38 deadline looms

Meg Grant and Jesse Harris write:

This is a reminder that the deadline for submitting to UMOP 38: Processing Structure is approaching. The dead is firm at September 15th 2011. The volume will be published in early October.

We ask that you try to submit your paper in LaTeX. Please contact Jesse for the template and appropriate files.

Please let us know if you plan to submit or have any questions about publishing a paper in a UMOP.

Entering class arrives!

WHISC extends a warm welcome to the new class of graduate students:

Michael Clauss, from the University of Hawaii

Hannah Greene, from the University of British Columbia

Stefan Keine, from Leipzig University

Jérémy Pasquereau, from the University of Lyon

Shayne Sloggett, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, by way of University of Maryland.

The sixth member of this class, Amanda Rysling, from NYU, will arrive Fall 2012 after completing her Fulbright at Poland

Jill de Villiers and Tom Roeper's book hits the stands!

Springer Publishers has just released the Handbook of Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition, edited by Jill de Villiers and Tom Roeper. The Table of Contents reads like a Who's Who of language acquisition. Take a look:


Congratulations Jill and Tom!

UMass Funny Languages Breakfast

Seth Cable writes:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the first meeting of  
UMAFLAB (UMass Funny Languages Breakfast) will be held this Friday  
morning at 9AM in the Partee Lounge (Room 301).

What is UMAFLAB? Well, the purpose of UMAFLAB is to bring together  
individuals with a shared interest in puzzling linguistic data,  
optimally from understudied or minority languages.

*Presentations are always informal*.  We are *not* looking for  
polished work or practice talks (though those are welcome).  Rather,  
participants are free to present any puzzles they like.  They needn't  
have any analysis in mind; indeed, part of the fun of the group is  
hearing other people's thoughts on some difficult problem.

Thus, if all you have is an interesting pattern worth 'boggling at',  
that's perfect for our group (particularly if it's from an otherwise  
not-very-much-talked-about language or variety). For example, a run  
down of all the crazy data obtained during some recent field work (or  
experimental work, or whatever) would be quite ideal.

As the name suggests, our meetings are typically in the morning, with  
some breakfast item served.  However, the schedule is always flexible,  
if it turns out that most people can't make it Friday mornings.

So, if you'd at all be interested in joining us, we'll be having our  
first meeting Friday morning. This will be an organizational meeting,  
where we'll discuss the times/dates of meetings, who will present on  
what, etc.

If you think you'd like to drop by, please just send me a quick reply  

Angelika speaks at North Carolina State

Angelika will give a talk at the Conference on Meaning in context, September 23-24, at North Carolina State University. Her talk is entitled "How Do 'If'-Clauses Restrict the Domain of Quantifiers?" Also speaking is UMass alumnus, Paul Portner (now of Georgetown University) who will be giving: "Clause Types in Context." For more information, visit the conference website:


Roeper and Biezma in Sinn und Bedeutung 15

Tom Roeper's "How the Emergence of Propositions Separates Strict Interfaces from General Inference," and María Biezma's "Optatives: Deriving Desirability from Scalar Alternatives" has appeared in the Proceedings of  Sinn und Bedeutung 15. Take a look at:


Andrew McKenzie defends dissertation

Andrew McKenzie defende his dissertation, "The Role of Contextual Restriction in Reference-Tracking," on August 19th.

Andrew will be a Faculty Fellow at the Linguistics and TESOL program at UT, Arlington in the 2010-11 year.

Congratulations Andrew!

Jesse Harris and Tom Ernst go to Madrid

Jesse Harris's paper "On the syntax and semantics of domain adjectives in English" and Tom Ernst's paper "Modification of state predicates" have been accepted at the "Workshop on Modification" in Madrid on December 15 and 16. The Workshop has invited lectures from former faculty member Chris Potts and UMass graduate Marcin Morzycki. More information at:


Call for papers: Discourse Cohesive Means in Acquisition

Tom Roeper is an invited speaker to DICMA conference at ZAS in Berlin, March 2012. Abstracts are due September 19th. The full call follows:

Full Title: Discourse cohesive means in acquisition

Location: Centre for General Linguistics, Berlin, Germany

Start Date: 11.-13.3.2012

Contact: Dagmar Bittner, Nadja Kuehn;  dicma@zas.gwz-berlin.de

Meeting Website: http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/workshop_dicma.html

Meeting Description:

Telling others about complex events, impressions, and thoughts in a coherent manner is a very demanding task for children up to their teenage years, and, though less obvious, understanding complex texts produced by others is just as demanding. The richness, diversity, and complexity of the pragmatic and linguistic devices that have to be followed in order to produce and comprehend a coherent discourse make this arguably one of the most challenging tasks in language acquisition. Children have to figure out the structure and content of the macro-parts, i.e. who is acting where and when, what happened and what follows from what happened. In addition, there is a broad range of linguistic means of discourse cohesion which are, at least partially, interacting with each other. Most of them are linked to pragmatic interpretations and to the internal non-linguistic knowledge and emotional states of the communication partner(s).

The conference will address the micro-level of discourse structure and present current research on the acquisition of the various phenomena that ensure coherence in discourse. In order to open our eyes to the complexity of the domain and the possible interactions between the diverse phenomena, we invite papers investigating children’s development into discourse coherence from all angles and perspectives. Currently, the main body of research focuses on referential expressions with respect to e.g. the introduction and maintenance of referents, topic-sensitivity, and anaphoric capacity. More recently, the role of coherence relations expressed by different types of connectors and the impact of verb semantics in discourse continuation have become of interest. However, apart from the early studies from the 1980s, not much work has been done on time reference and tense/aspect chains in discourse. Little is known about the influence of epistemic, modal, and several other types of expressions. The same holds for the influence of context information, the impact of prosodic information, and the treatment of focus.

The conference provides the opportunity to discuss the broad range of discourse cohesive means and the methods of their investigation from different theoretical perspectives. We especially encourage the presentation of papers focusing on the following aspects:

- correlations and interactions between different types of discourse cohesive means

- correlations between discourse cohesive means and non-linguistic phenomena such as emotional states, discourse context, etc.

- the role of theory of mind

- the acquisition of pragmatic implicatures in the use of discourse cohesive means

- acquisitional milestones and paths in the development of discourse abilities

- processing of discourse cohesive means

- the interaction of discourse cohesive means with parameters of information structure

- acquisition in mono- and bilingual children as well as in SLI children


Invited speakers:

Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul

Juhani Järvikivi

Tom Roeper


Abstracts of max. 500 words (not including references) should be sent as a pdf-file by the 19th of September 2011 to dicma@zas.gwz-berlin.de.

Please provide name(s) of author(s) and affiliation(s) in the text of the email and do not mention it in the abstract file.

Emmon Bach is Keynote speaker at conference in Brazil

Emmon Bach gave a keynote lecture at the I International Meeting on Syntax and Semantics and their Interfaces, held August 25-26 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. More information at:


Aynat Rubinstein defends Dissertation

On August 18, Aynat successfully defended her dissertation "Roots of Modality."

Aynat will be a postdoctoral fellow in the Linguistics Department at Georgetown University in the 2010-11 year.

Congratulations Aynat!

Kingston speaks at Kyoto

John Kingston is a guest speaker at the International conference on Phonetics and Phonology held in Kyoto on December 10-14, sponsored by the National Institute for Japanese and LInguistics (NINJAL). More information can be had at:


María Biezma at Carleton University

María Biezma has taken a teaching post at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada's capitol. Congratulations María!!

Northeast Computational Phonology Circle at Yale in October

Joe Pater writes:

The Northeast Computational Phonology Circle will meet at Yale on October 15th. Please let me know if you'd like to give a talk.

Tom Roeper in Potsdam

Tom Roeper gave a lecture over the summer at Potsdam University entitled "Recursion: Formal and Applied Issues." He spent a month teaching in the European Master's in Clinical Linguistics program there as well.