04 March 2012

Tom Ernst talks at SRG on Thursday

On Thursday, March 8th, Tom Ernst will be talking to the SRG about modification of state predicates. His talk will take place at his apartment in Northampton and starts at 6:30.

Summer Research Education for Undergraduates at Univ. of South Carolina

The Psychology Department at the University of South Carolina is pleased to announce that NSF has recommended funding for our Summer Research Education for Undergraduates program, Summer Research Experience in Brain and Cognitive Sciences (SREBCS).  Each summer this program will provide ten undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in research seminars, laboratory exercises, and one-on-one laboratory projects in the exciting and fast growing field of brain and cognitive sciences.  The SREBCS builds on the resounding success that our previous summer program experienced across its 17 years of funding.  An innovative feature of the SREBCS is the inclusion of a weekly group laboratory that will provide students with a diverse set of hands-on experiences of the methods used in brain and cognitive sciences, such as EEG, MRI and fMRI. In addition, students will discuss implications of research presented by the faculty and engage in research projects within a faculty mentor’s laboratory.

The application deadline for this year’s program is March 28, 2012.  The program description and application materials are posted on our website:


We very much appreciate your encouraging interested and qualified students to apply.  The SREBCS is committed to providing opportunities to under-represented groups within the Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Kai von Fintel speaks at department colloquium on Friday

Kai von Fintel will present work with Sabine Iatridou at the department colloquium on March 9, 3:30 in Machmer E-37. Reception to follow in 3rd floor lounge. Dinner to be hosted by Angelika Kratzer. A title and abstract follow.

"Imperative Puzzles"
Work by Kai von Fintel and Sabine Iatridou

Imperatives, which are prototypically used to issue commands, can also be used to give permissions:

(1) A: May I open the window? B: Sure, go ahead, open it!

Further, imperatives can serve as quasi-conditional antecedents in "left-subordinating conjunctions":

(2) Study hard and you will pass the class.
(3) Ignore your homework and you will fail the class.
(4) Open the paper and you will find 5 mistakes on every page.

We show that these phenomena present severe challenges for all existing theories of imperatives. We lay out desiderata for a successful analysis and speculate on ways of getting there. Along the way we present data from English, German, and pretty much every language spoken on the Mediterranean Rim.

Rajesh Bhatt speaks at Linguistics Club meeting

Rajesh Bhatt will present a talk entitled "South Asia as a linguistic Area," to the Linguistics Club meeting on Tuesday, March 6 at 5:15 in the Partee Room (South College 301). If you plan on attending, let Ling Club president Jeremy Cahill know at jccahill@student.umass.edu

ICESL Workshop planned for April 6

Joe Pater writes:

We've decided to make last year's launch workshop an annual event, as an opportunity for people working on language across campus to find out about each other's research. There will be three talks, by Luiz Amaral (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Jacquie Kurland (Communication Disorders) and David Smith (Computer Science). We encourage everyone else to present a poster - if you'd like to do so, please send us a title at this e-mail address asap, and by April 1st at the latest. The event will take place in the afternoon - exact time and place TBA. We apologize to those of you who will be observing Passover or Good Friday and cannot make it - this is the only date we could find. This event is sponsored by the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Initiative.

Help Build a Global Word Association Network

Chuck Clifton writes:

Over the past few weeks, we have been trying to set up a scientific study that is important for many researchers interested in words, word meaning, semantics, and cognitive science in general.  It is a huge word association project, in which people are asked to participate in a small task that doesn't last longer than 5 minutes. Our goal is to build a global word association network that contains connections between about 40.000 words, the size of the lexicon of an average adult. Setting up such a network might learn us a lot about semantic memory, how it develops, and maybe also about how it can deteriorate (like in Alzheimer's disease). Most people enjoy doing the task, but we need thousands of participants to succeed. Up till today, we found about 40,000 participants willing to do the little task, but we need more subjects. That is why we address you.  Would it be possible to forward this call for participation to graduate and undergraduate students who are fluent in English?

The task can be found on


If people would REALLY like to help us, they can forward the call to students, friends, family, etc. or distribute the call through facebook, twitter, etc.   (In this way, we succeeded in building a word association network in Dutch over the past years.  The network comprises about 13.000 words and was built using more than 4 million word associations, gathered from 100.000 native Dutch speakers.  The problem is only: who cares about Dutch data.  That is why we want to do the same in English.)  Any suggestion about how to reach more participants is welcome (societies that we can e-mail, local communities who want to put this on their website, ...)

Of course the network will be freely available to all interested language researchers when it becomes substantial enough.

We thank you in advance.

The Third Language and Linguistics Mini-course series at Brown University

Cognitive Linguistic & Psychological Sciences at Brown University

MAY 21 - MAY 25, 2012
Macmillan 115

Monday-Friday; 10AM - 12AM
Dying Languages: What World Linguistic Diversity Means for Us
Anthony Woodbury, University of Texas at Austin

Monday-Friday; 2PM - 4PM
Language Structure, Learning, and Change: Research on Signed and Spoken Languages
Elissa Newport & Ted Suppala, University of Rochester

This event is free and open to the public

Travel to and visiting Brown: http://www.brown.edu/web/about/visit

A list of accommodations: http://www.brown.edu/web/about/accommodations

More information will be posted on a website in the near future.

UMass at the 26th Arabic Linguistics Symposium at Alephi University

John McCarthy gave a Keynote Address at the 26th Arabic Linguistics Symposium in New York last week. The title of his address was "Is Phonological Opacity Real? Evidence from Arabic."

At the same conference, Martin Walkow presented "Restrictions on Pronoun Combinations and Parallels between Subject Agreement and Cliticization in Classical Arabic."

UMass at Penn Linguistics Colloquium

The 36th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium, which will take place March 23rd-25th at the University of Pennsylvania, will host a number of papers from  recent UMass graduates, including:

Martin Walkow will present "Choosing between Persons: Articulated Probes and the Ultra-Strong PCC"

Aynat Rubinstein will present "Figuring out what we 'ought' do do"

Cherlon Ussery will present "A Taxonomy of Agreement in Icelandic: Agree vs Multiple Agree, Syntactic vs Post-Syntactic"

Maria Biezma will present "Only one at least: refining the role of context in building alternatives."

Florian Schwarz, with co-authors Dimka Atanassov and John Trueswell will present "On the processing of 'might' "

The keynote address, entitled "Morpheme Order, Constituency, and Scope" will be delivered by Paul Kiparsky.  There will also be an interdisciplinary panel session on Game Theory and Language.  For a full schedule of events, see: <http://www.ling.upenn.edu/Events/PLC/plc36/program.html>.

The preregistration deadline for the conference is Wednesday, February
29th.  To preregister, please visit the conference website at
<http://www.ling.upenn.edu/Events/PLC/plc36/> and follow the link to
the registration form.  There is an additional $10 surcharge for
registrations made after the pre-registration deadline, so be sure to
register before then.  All registration fees will be collected onsite.

For further information, please email plc36@ling.upenn.edu<mailto:plc36@ling.upenn.edu>