15 April 2012

John McCarthy to be Dean and Vice-Provost

Congratulations to John McCarthy, who has been appointed Dean of the Graduate School and Vice-Provost for Graduate Education, effective this September.

Even as he takes on these new administrative responsibilities, John will remain engaged in graduate teaching, advising, and research in the Linguistics Department, and he will teach a seminar every year. As happened with Michael Becker this year, the department will also receive funds annually to hire a visiting faculty member in phonology.

John Drury (Stony Brook) gives a talk on April 20th

Lisa Sanders writes:

John Drury (http://www.linguistics.stonybrook.edu/faculty/john.drury) will be visiting from Stony Brook University on April 20th. He'll be giving an ICESL colloquium on Friday, April 20th at 3:30 pm in Tobin 423. If you are interested in meeting with him before the talk (12-3), email Lisa Sanders (lsanders@psych.umass.edu) to set the time and place. If you are interested in meeting with him after the talk, join us for the reception in the Partee room.

The title of his talk is "On the etiology of some of the usual suspects in language ERP research: LANs, N400s, and P600s (but especially LANs).

An abstract can be found here:


UMass at the Modality Workshop in Ottawa

This Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, Ottawa University will sponsor a conference on Modality (Modality@OttawaU).

Angelika Kratzer, and former UMass faculty Lisa Matthewson, are invited speakers.

Angelika Kratzer's talk is entitled "Modals as building blocks for attitude ascriptions"

Lisa Mattewson's talk (co-authored with UMass alumnus Hotze Rullman) is entitled "Epistemic modality with a past temporal perspective."

Many UMass graduates are on the program:

Aynat Rubinstein, is presenting "Developing a methodology for modality-type annotations on a large scale," a paper co-authored with Dan Simonson, Joo Chung, Hillary Harner, Graham Katz and Paul Portner.

Ilaria Frana is presenting "Adnominal conditions and modal NPs"

Luis Alonso Ovalle and Junko Shimoyama are presenting "Modality in the nominal domain: exploring Japanese wh-ka indeterminates."

Luis Alonso Ovalle and Paula Menéndez-Benito are presenting "Indifference and Modality: the case of Spanish 'uno cualquier' "

Aynat Rubinstein is presenting "Straddling the line between attitude verbs and necessity modals"

Ana Arregui is presenting "Variation in imperfectives," a paper co-authored with María Luisa Rivero and Andrés Salanova.

Barbara at Cafe ZaVtra (Moscow)

Barbara Partee writes:

On Thursday April 19 I'll give a talk in Russian for a general audience at the Cafe ZaVtra in Moscow, on formal semantics as the offspring of linguistics and philosophy. (Formal’naja semantic oak porozhdenie lingvistiki i filosofii.) There will be a live video broadcast over the website of the hosting organization, polit.ru. The website with both the announcement of the talk and the link for the streaming video is here:  http://polit.ru/article/2012/03/28/anons_partee/ . The talk starts at 7pm Moscow time (11am Amherst time); the talk will be followed by an hour of questions and answers – doing that in Russian is the part I’m most nervous about, so I’m doing a couple of rehearsals of that part. And Volodja and other colleagues will be there to help when I can’t find the words I’m searching for or absolutely can’t understand some question.

By the way, both Google translate and Facebook were tremendously useful as I worked on my first draft. Google translate has to be used with caution – you can’t just turn it loose. It wanted to translate ‘validity’ with a term relating to the expiration date on medicines and warranties; and when I gave it David Lewis’s famous sentence, “Semantics without the treatment of truth conditions is not semantics”, it wanted to translate ‘treatment’ in the sense of medical treatment, as if we needed to cure semantics of the ailment of truth conditions. (Like.) But with care and some iterations between the two languages and a few tricks, it can really help. And bilingual friends on Facebook helped at many crucial points as I worked. This weekend I’ll revise the talk and make the slides, then a couple of rehearsals and I’ll be as ready as I’ll ever be. Volodja is helping in many ways, including discussing this stuff in Russian with me at dinner every day. (I must confess that up until now, the great majority of my discussions of semantics with colleagues and students have been in English, and I’ve had to do a lot of homework for this talk! But although I’m a little bit nervous, I’m really looking forward to it!)

Anne Pycha gives colloquium at Stony Brook

Anne Pycha will give the colloquium talk at Stony Brook on April 20. The title of her talk is "Phonological signatures in words: Evidence from production and perception of diphthongs." An abstract follows.

This talk wrestles with two problems that face phonology. First, non-local dependencies in phonology are not widely attested, despite the fact that they are common at other levels of linguistic analysis, such as syntax. Second, many phonological processes bear close resemblance to phonetic processes, suggesting that no real difference exists between abstract phonological structures and the physical events of articulation. In this talk, I pursue the hypothesis that phonologically contrastive processes exhibit acoustic “signatures” that are a) non-local and b) absent from otherwise similar phonetic processes. Experiment 1 demonstrates that English speakers produce non-local dependencies in order to maintain contrast between words such as bite vs. bide, but not in order to accomplish other tasks, such as changing speech rates or signaling phrasal positions. Experiments 2 & 3 demonstrate that English listeners can use these dependencies to perceptually distinguish between words like bite vs. bide, even in the absence of other cues. The upshot of these findings, which build on previous work that I have done in Hungarian, is that phonology does use non-local dependencies, and these dependencies crucially distinguish it from phonetics. I analyze non-locality in both languages as motivated by a need to target maximal segments, and I examine the implications of this analysis for cross-linguistic typology.

Career Services advisor speaks at Undergraduate Club

Jeremy Cahill writes:

A Career Services advisor will be speaking about internships and job search resources at Linguistics Club on Tuesday, April 17th, at 5:15 
PM in the Partee room.

All undergrads are invited and pizza will be provided.

Internship + Job Search Workshop w/ Career Services
Tuesday, April 17 at 5:15 PM
301 South College (across from DuBois Library)

UMass at Chicago Linguistics Society

The 48th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society meets Thursday (April 19) through Saturday (April 21) at the University of Chicago.

UMass graduate student Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten will present "Slightly coerced: Processing evidence for adjectival coercion by minimizers."

UMass alumnus Kai von Fintel is an invited speaker: he will present "What's an Imperative"

UMass alumnus John Alderete will present "Learning phonotactics without rules: A connectionist model OCP-Place in Arabic," a paper co-authored with Stefan Frisch.

UMass alumnus Elliott Moreton will present "Is phonological learning special?," a paper co-authored with Katya Pertsova

Cable at Harvard

Seth Cable is giving a colloquium talk at Harvard University on Friday, April 20. The title of his talk is "Beyond the Past, Present and Future: Towards a Semantics of 'Graded Tense' in Gikuyu."

Last Call for papers for Workshop on Information, Discourse Structure and Levels of Meaning: tomorrow!

Call for papers for the workshop on Information, Discourse Structure
and Levels of Meaning (IDL 12)
25-26 October 2012  in Barcelona

More info: http://blogs.uab.cat/idl12/
Deadline for abstracts submissions: 16-Apr-2012

Information and discourse structure, and the analysis of different levels of meaning (conventional and conversational implicatures, presuppositions, etc.) have been two of the most fruitful areas of research in the semantics-pragmatics interface in the last decade. This workshop aims to study the interactions between these two areas. Thus, the questions that this workshop will address go in two

1. How does information and discourse structure affect the different
levels of meaning? Can we obtain a better understanding of, for
instance, conversational implicatures or presuppositions, once the
topic-focus structure is taken into account?

2. How do the dimensions of meaning affect the information structure
of discourse? Can we obtain a better understanding of concepts such as
topic, focus, contrastive topic, background or QUD, once the
properties of the different levels of meaning are taken into account?

Invited speakers:
Daniel Büring (Universität Wien)
Bart Geurts (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Craige Roberts (Ohio State University)
Gregory Ward (Northwestern University)

We invite contributions for 30′ oral presentations.
Abstracts should conform to the following guidelines:

-Abstracts must be submitted electronically via Easychair:
-Abstracts should be anonymous.
-Abstracts should not exceed two pages, including examples and references.
-Submissions are restricted to one single-authored or one co-authored
abstract at most.
-The conference language is English: abstracts and talks will be in English.
-Page format: A4, 2.5 cm margins on all sides, at least 12 pt Times
New Roman font, single line spacing.
-File format: .pdf
-File name: surname.pdf

Call for papers: Texas Linguistics Conference

13th Texas Linguistics Society (TLS) Conference
June 23-24, 2012
University of Texas at Austin

TLS is a graduate-student run conference in linguistics organized by the Texas Linguistics Society and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. This year's TLS is co-located with the North American Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information and associated workshops and symposia.


TLS 13 will be structured around two para-sessions: (1) the semantics and pragmatics of questions and question-based models of discourse, and (2) signed languages and meaning. While we encourage submissions related to these themes, we are also interested in submissions on topics of general linguistic interest. Papers on language related topics from disciplines including anthropology, cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy of language, and psychology will also be considered.

--- Keynote Speakers ---

Nicholas Asher (IRIT, CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier)
Erin Wilkinson (University of Manitoba)

--- Invited Talks ---

Kathryn Davidson (University of Connecticut)
Jeroen Groenendijk (University of Amsterdam)
Katrin Erk (University of Texas at Austin)
Richard Meier (University of Texas at Austin)
Josep Quer (ICREA, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Craige Roberts (The Ohio State University)

--- Submission Information ---

One page abstracts (plus references) should be submitted in PDF or DOC format in 11-12 point font through EasyChair at https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=tls13

Authors whose abstracts are accepted are encouraged to submit a short paper (10-20 pages). These will be collected into an edited volume for publication.

--- Important Dates ---

* Abstract Submission Deadline: May 5, 2012
* Notification of Acceptance: May 12, 2012
* Pre-proceedings Paper Submission Deadline: June 10, 2012
* Final Draft Submission Deadline: August 31, 2012