30 September 2012

Roeper and Amaral at the Acquisition Lab/LARC meeting on Monday

The Acquisition Lab/LARC meeting is Monday, October 1, in Herter 301 at noon. Tom Roeper and Luiz Amaral will give presentations on:

1) Age effects and the acquisition of recursive possessives in Wapichana

2) Updates on their collaboration with Brazilian partners and the 2013's conference on Recursion at UFRJ

3) Parsing effects in Recursion in Karaja

Everyone is welcome!

Valentine Hacquard gives department colloq on Friday

Valentine Hacquard (University of Maryland) will give the department colloquium this Friday, October 5, in Machmer E-37 at 3:30. There will be a dinner reception for her at Rajesh Bhatt's house in Northampton.

Title: Attitude Problems

Children seem to lack a full understanding of verbs like 'think' until their fourth birthday, but show no such difficulties with verbs like ‘want’. A common explanation for this asymmetry links it to conceptual development. Under this view, children lack the ability to attribute beliefs to themselves and others (theory of mind) until age 4. On the other hand, the concept of desire is held to develop much earlier. Thus, children do not have the same difficulties with verbs reporting desires than with those reporting beliefs. However, several issues cast doubt on this conceptual development hypothesis. This talk explores an alternative, semantic explanation for the asymmetry in children's understanding of think and want, which doesn't rely on a fundamental change in conceptual structure.

Weir speaks at SRG on Thursday

Andrew Weir will give a practice talk for NELS entitled " 'why' Stripping targets voice phrase" at the S Reading Group this Thursday, October 4, at 6:30. The meeting is at Barbara and Volodja's place (50 Hobart Lane). BYOD(inner), or bring dinner-money.

Schardl at the LSA

Anisa Schardl will give a poster on "Simple Partial Movement and Clefts" at this year's LSA meeting in Boston. 

Congratulations Anisa!

NECPhon 2012 this Saturday at Maryland

The Northeast Computational Phonology Workshop meets Saturday, October 6, at the University of Maryland. There will be two talks by members of the UMass linguistics community.

Joe Pater will present joint work with UMass alumnus Elliott Moreton in a paper entitled "Incremental Maximum Entropy phonotactics and the Shepard complexity hierarchy"


Presley Pizzo will give a talk entitled "An online model of constraint induction for learning phonological alternations"

Bolozky speaks at the Ling Club meeting on Wednesday

Amanthis Miller writes:

We are happy to invite you to  come see Professor Bolozky at Ling Club speaking on "Two recent  phonological phenomena in Israeli Hebrew phonology and  their possible  implications". He was kind enough to write an abstract, which is down there below the dotted line. All are welcome to come, there will probably be pizza!

When: Wednesday 10/3 at 5.20 PM
Where: 301 South College - Partee Room
RVSP: jccahill@student.umass.edu

If you have any questions, please email Jeremy or me! See you there!


 Two phonological phenomena in Israeli Hebrew (IH) will be  introduced, pre-tonal lengthening (PTL) and i > e centralization (CENT), both of which had precedents in Ancient Hebrew. Both have recently been observed in IH in generally-similar environments, but their scope of application is limited to certain colloquial registers  and to some groups of speakers, and even then the processes involved  are not applied consistently. Still, the motivation for each could be  similar, at least in part, to what it was in ancient Hebrew.  

Historical PTL was probably intended to distinguish Hebrew lexical items from comparable Aramaic ones among the predominantly bilingual population; in IH it may signal a general rhythmic change, but may  also constitute an attempt to avoid opacity-causing qualitative vowel reduction (as in English). CENT was and is just an “ease of  articulation” phonetic process. Both apply to unstressed vowels.   

Since PTL generally applies in open syllables, and CENT in closed ones, a single possible explanation is suggested ---  in terms of syllable structure ---  that can account for both.

Acoustical Society of America meeting in Montreal

John Kingston writes:

The spring meeting of the Acoustical Society of America will be held relatively nearby in a very interesting city, Montreal, 2-7 June 2013.

It's a joint meeting with the International Congress on Acoustics and the Canadian Acoustical Association. I'm writing to you now because the deadline for a 200 word abstract is (as always) very early, 15 November 2012, and because this is a potentially interestingly different venue to present your work. Abstracts are submitted via:


All submissions are accepted, although you have to join the society at the meeting in order to register. This is VERY cheap for students (and VERY expensive for anyone else).

Could we consider an expedition north next June? We'll discuss this at the next Phonetics Lab meeting, 10 October 2012.

Kristine has proposed that we discuss selected abstracts from the fall meeting at the lab meeting after that on 22 October 2012. She'll be sending around an announcement about that shortly. That will give a chance to can see what an ASA abstract is like and what kind of papers are given at the meeting.

The last time a lot of us from the Lab went was to the meeting in Providence in 2006. We gave a brace of posters and got excellent and intense feedback. (I recommend giving a poster because talks are just 15 minutes total which leaves little time for discussion.)