07 May 2012

Keir Moulton gives talk on Friday

UMass Alumnus Keir Moulton (UCLA) will give a talk on Friday, May 11, at 2:30 in Machmer E37. A title and abstract follow.

Covariation and Causers in Backward Variable Binding

Backward variable binding (BVB) as in (1) has inspired either deviations from surface syntax (Belletti and Rizzi 1988, Pesetsky 1995) or appeals to notions like logophoricity (e.g. Bouchard 1995).

(1) Heri new-found fame will make everyi actress rich.

I report that: (i) the distribution of BVB is distinct from backward bound reflexives and reciprocals, and not subject to constraints imposed by exempt or ‘logophoric’ reflexives; (ii) Backward bound variables are found in ’containing phrases’ that are situation-denoting (i.e. causers, Pesetsky 1995); (iii) the containing phrase falls in the scope of the binding quantifier and locality conditions on QR limit BVB. These ingredients lend themselves ideally to a D-type analysis (Heim 1990, Elbourne 2005). The semantics of causers supplies a situation variable for resolving the D-pronoun—one that co-varies with respect to the binding quantifier (hence the sensitivity to QR). We then show why these D-type pronouns in causer arguments do not exhibit crossover violations (2a), while D-type pronouns otherwise do (2b) (Büring, 2004).

(2) D-type in a causer:
      a. Heri mother made every knight who courted a ladyi nervous.

      D-type in an agent:
      b. *Heri mother visited every knight who courted a ladyi.

The mere existence of D-type BVB as in (2a) corroborates the analysis of (1) and, incidentally, speaks against recent accounts of BVB in causatives by Larson (Larson and Cheung 2009).

Angelika Kratzer selected as Radcliffe Institute Fellow

Angelika Kratzer has been selected as a fellow of The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University for the 2012-13 Academic year.  The Radcliffe Institute is "dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences." The Fellowship program brings together fifty artists and scholars every year.  An excerpt from the bulletin announcing Angelika's selection is below.

Congratulations Angelika!

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University has selected Angelika Kratzer to be a Radcliffe Institute fellow for the 2012–2013 academic year. Angelika Kratzer is among the 51 women and men who will pursue independent projects in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences within the rich, multidisciplinary community.

After a highly competitive peer-review process, Angelika Kratzer is among only 5 percent of applicants who were accepted to create a diverse incoming class that ranges from A to V: including anthropologists, chemical engineers, linguists, literature professors, molecular biologists, musicologists, and visual artists.

“As an alumna of the Institute’s Fellowship Program, it is a special pleasure for me to welcome these distinguished individuals to a year of exploration, innovation, and creation,” said Lizabeth Cohen, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. “We expect that each fellow will enjoy a year of profound growth and great productivity.”

Angelika Kratzer is a professor of linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has been a guest professor in many places around the world and is a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. With Irene Heim from MIT, she is co-founder and co-editor of Natural Language Semantics, a journal that, for the last twenty years, has been a major force in bringing together results from theoretical linguistics with fieldwork-based research on underdescribed languages.

Angelika Kratzer’s area of specialization is semantics, an interdisciplinary field located at the intersection of linguistics, cognitive psychology, logic, and philosophy. Her research is about how natural languages are constructed so as to make it possible for humans to systematically assemble complex meanings from small and simple pieces. Humans talk about mere possibilities: what might have been, ought to be, could be, or should be. Human notions of what is possible, inevitable, likely, or desirable are highly systematic,and this is why they have attracted the attention of mathematicians, logicians and philosophers for more than two thousand years. As a Radcliffe fellow, Angelika Kratzer will write a book showing how talk about possibilities is the result of an intricate interaction between the human language faculty and general cognitive abilities, some of which we share with other species.

The Radcliffe Institute, which is Harvard’s institute for advanced study, has awarded nearly 600 fellowships since its founding in 1999. The complete list of 2012–2013 fellows is online: www.radcliffe.harvard.edu.

Graduate Commencement on Friday, May 11

Commencement for our Master's and PhD students will take place at the Mullins Center at 9AM this Friday, May 11.  WHISC has learned that the following linguists will be presented with their degrees at this ceremony.

Abril Navarro
Mike Key
Emily Elfner
Karen Jesney
Aaron Schien
Martin Walkow

For more information about Commencement:  http://www.umass.edu/commencement/graduate-ceremony

Congratulations to them, and to the rest of our graduating students this year.

Kingston on the Road

John Kingston will be taking his show on the road through May and June, with talks and classes at Nijmegen, Paris and San Pablo, Oaxaca. Here, in his own words, is a description of his itinerary.

9-11 May 2012. Relations in Relativity: New Perspectives on Language and Thought. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. Invited talk or a side in a conversation with Emmanuel Dupoux on whether linguistic knowledge affects speech perception early or late -- I argue that the effects are late. I'll also be participating in master classes for graduate students and a panel discussion. Details can be found at: http://www.mpi.nl/events/relations-in-relativity

13 May-13 June 2012. International chair, Empirical Foundations of Linguistics. I'll be giving a weekly seminar on the relationship between speech perception and sound perception and collaborating with colleagues Jacqueline Vaissiere, Cecile Fougeron, Pierre Halle, Barbara Kuhnert, Annie Rialland, Rachid Ridouane and others at the Laboratoire de Phonétique et de Phonologie. For more info:


15-24 June 2012. Taller de tonos para linguistas hablantes de lenguas de Mesoamerica. (trans: Workshop on tone for native-speaker linguists of Mesoamerican languages). Together with Emiliana Cruz from Anthropology and a number of other colleagues from the US and Mexico, I will be lecturing on the phonetics, phonology, and historical development of tone in morning sessions and advising small groups focused on particular languages in the afternoon sessions. For more info: http://tallerdetonos.blogspot.com/

Bon Voyage, John!

Borschev and Partee give talk at Moscow State University

Vladimir Borschev and Barbara Partee gave a talk “Genitive of measure, types, sorts, and semantic shifts” at Moscow State University on April 28 in the 169th meeting of Vladimir Uspensky’s seminar series on Applications of Mathematical Methods in Linguistics. (The talk relates to two of their recent papers, a 2011 one in Russian in a festschrift for Yury Apresjan and a 2012 one in the Journal of Semantics, both downloadable from Barbara’s website.)

Undergraduate Commencement

Commencement for UMass undergraduates is this Friday, May 11, at the McGuirk Alumni Stadium, starting at 4:00 PM.  There is a separate ceremony for graduates of School of Humanities and Fine Arts that takes place on Saturday, May 12, at 1PM in the Recreation Center.

(For more information: http://www.umass.edu/commencement/)

Say congratulations to our graduating seniors:

Kelly Jo Fuller
James ParsonsDatherine Rose DeVane Brown
Gavin Galloway
Marissa Malone
Chelsea McGovern
Heather Pastushok
Rebecca Shaughnessy
Madolyn Chiu
Renee Lessard
Amanda Lewis
Karin Eichelman
Sheila Rotkiewicz
Nathan Banker
Laura Catanach
Taylor Cohen
Rhiannon Courtney
Epiphany Holmstock
Carol Huben
Glynis Anna Jones MacMillan
Mikaela Ortstein-Otero
Kayly Tillman
Yurleni Velez
Yiliang Xie
David Rome

Linguistics Club selects officers

Amanthis Miller writes:

The Undergraduate Linguistics Club is happy to say that we've survived our first year as an RSO! Thanks to all the student and faculty that have come to meetings and made our club great! We will be returning again for Fall 2012 for more linguistic antics and adventures, with another all-star officer line-up:

President:       Jeremy Cahill   (jccahill@student.umass.edu)
Vice President:  Amanthis Miller (amanthis@student.umass.edu)
Treasurer:       [Tentatively: Pratiksha Yalakkishettar]
Secretary:       Benjamin Herman (bsherman@student.umass.edu)
Librarian:       Emily Westland  (enicat@verizon.net)
Web Master:      Samuel Baldwin  (sbaldwin@student.umass.edu)

Hope to see everyone next semester, good luck on finals, and happy almost summer!

Linguistics 401 Summer Playlist

Rajesh Bhatt writes:

In the last class of the semester before the summer, I asked the wonderful students of the Spring 2012 Linguist 401 [Introduction to Syntax] class for listening suggestions for the summer. This is what came in with the finals.

List BA
Midnight City - M83
Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club
Dancing Behind My Eyelids - Mum

List DM
The next time around - Little Joy
Attaboy - Yo Yo Ma & Stuart Duncan
Love is all - The Tallest Man on Earth
Ziggy Stardust - Seu Jorge
The Breeze - Dr. Dog
40 Day Dream - Edward Sharpe
Sam Huff's Flying Raging Machine - Lettuce
Jackie wants a black eye - Dr. Dog
Dancefloors - My Morning Jacket
Slippin' and Slidin' - Justin Townes Earle
A La Longue - Noir Desir
Magic Marker - Monsters of Folk
Oliver James - Fleet Foxes

List FC
Guy who got a headache and accidentally saves the world - The Flaming Lips
Spitting Blood - WU LYF
In her drawer - RX Bandits
Randy described Eternity - Built to Spill
Building Steam with a Grain of Salt - DJ Shadow
A More Perfect Union - Titus Andronicus
Award Tour - A Tribe Called Quest
A Tender History In Rust - Do Make Say Think
Black History Month - Death From Above 1979
Cross the Breeze - Sonic Youth

Stand and Deliver - Adam Ant
Sound and Vision - David Bowie
Blame it on Cain - Elvis Costello
You're the voice - John Farnham
We are Golden - Mika
Birdhouse in your soul - They Might Be Giants
Bicycle - Pink Floyd
That'll be the day - Buddy Holly
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra
Running up that hill - Kate Bush
Marty Groves - Fairport Convention
Sorrow - David Bowie

List MS
Turn to Stone - Electric Light Orchestra
Super Rad - The Aquabats!
Tamacun - Rodrigo y Gabriela
Take the long way home - Supertramp
Opera Singer - Cake
Cousins - Vampire Weekend
Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
Me and Julio down by the schoolyard - Paul Simon
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground - The White Stripes
Somewhere in the Between - Streetlight Manifesto

Roeper appointed to commission of the German Ministry for Education and Science

Tom Roeper has been appointed to an evaluation commission of the German Ministry for Education and Science as part of their Initiative in the Humanities to promote longterm research in the Humanities.

Congratulations Tom!