12 December 2011

UMass at the International Conference on Phonetics and Phonology in Kyoto

The International Conference on Phonetics and Phonology is being held this week at NINJAL in Kyoto. John Kingston, with alumnus Shigeto Kawahara (Rutgers University), is giving an invited talk entitled "The phonological consequences of geminate phonetics."

Other talks at the conference by UMass alumni are:

Shigeto Kawahara (Rutgers University)?
"Lyman's Law is active in loan and nonce words: Evidence from judgement studies"

Mariko Sugahara (Doshisha University)
"Variations in the shiki domain formation of Kinki Japanese compound words: A pilot study"

Junko Ito and Armin Mester (UC Santa Cruz, ICU/UC Santa Cruz, NINJAL)
"Non-prominent positions"

The full program link is:


Call for abstracts: Properties and Optionality in Syntax and Semantics

Workshop: Properties and Optionality in Syntax and Semantics
13-14 February 2012
Utrecht University, The Netherlands 

Submission deadline: 10 January 2012

Invited speakers:
Philippe de Groote (INRIA)                            
Thomas Ede Zimmermann (Frankfurt)  

Much research in linguistics over the last decades has involved various procedures of syntactic optionality, which work in parallel to intensional phenomena in semantics. Certain phenomena of optionality, e.g. of unspecified objects or by phrases in passives, have been treated by assuming empty syntactic positions (Bach 1980, Landau 2010). Other optionality phenomena, e.g. of verbal adjuncts, were traditionally treated in Montague Grammar using intensional properties, but are more standardly treated as involving modification in event semantics (Parsons 1990, Landman 2000). Even some cases of adjectival modification (e.g. skillful doctor, beautiful dancer) that were traditionally analyzed as involving properties have been argued to involve event modification (Larson 2002). Both theories of intensionality and event semantics take the modification process to be purely semantic and avoid any empty syntactic positions.

The variety of optionality and modification phenomena, and their intricate relations with intensional properties, lead to some hard puzzles about syntax and semantics:

1.      Should there be a unified grammatical framework for analyzing phenomena of optionality?
2.      Is there still a role for intensional properties in accounting for optionality effects?
3.      How precise and elegant are current hypotheses about optionality in natural language grammar?

The workshop will examine these questions from the perspectives of formal syntax and semantics, and the formal philosophy of intensional properties.

Invited speakers:
Philippe de Groote (INRIA): TBA
Thomas Ede Zimmermann (Frankfurt): TBA
Contributed Talks:
-         Chris Blom (Utrecht): ACG fragment for verbs with optional arguments
-         Hanna de Vries(Utrecht): Group distributivity and property-denoting indefinites
-         Marijana Marelj(Utrecht): Optionality and argument structure
-         Reinhard Muskens (Tilburg) and Noor van Leusen (Nijmegen): Events, Time, Worlds, Roles, Linking, and Variable Management
-         Yoad Winter (Utrecht): Property descriptions in locative PPs
-         Joost Zwarts (Utrecht): The role of events in adjective modification

In addition, there will be a number of slots reserved for solicited papers.

Reimbursement: Depending of funding restrictions, presenters of selected talks may expect partial reimbursement of their trip and staying expenses.

We invite authors to submit an abstract (1 or 2 pages including references) for a 30-minute presentation (+10 minute discussion).
Abstracts should be submitted via EasyChair:https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=poss2012

Submission deadline:10 January 2012 
Notification:17 January 2012.

Pater and Smith in Paris

On the 8th of December in Paris, Joe Pater and Brian Smith presented a paper to the "Phonologie du Français Contemporain" meeting , entitled "Le ‘e’ en français: élision, épenthèse, les deux, ni l’un ni l’autre?". If you are curious about the answer, you can find it here: 


Selkirk and Cable at the 50th anniversary of MIT Linguistics

The MIT Linguistics department celebrated their 50th anniversary over the weekend with a series of talks and posters, including invited talks by Seth Cable on Endangered languages and Lisa Selkirk on Representations in Phonology. The poster session included a presentation by UMass alumna Gillian Gallagher "Learning the identity effect via reduplication," (co-authored with Peter Graff).