27 January 2013

UMAFLAB meets this Friday

Seth Cable writes:

I wanted to send out a general announcement that the first, organizational meeting of UMAFLAB for this term will be held *this Friday* at 9AM in the Partee Room. 

If you'd like to come, please let me know. Also *definitely* let me know if this time/date will not be possible for you, as there are some alternatives we could choose from.

For those who might have missed the first general announcement a few weeks back, UMAFLAB (The UMass Funny Languages Breakfast) brings together individuals with a shared interest in puzzling linguistic data, optimally (but not necessarily) from understudied or minority languages.

*Presentations are always informal*. We are *not* looking for polished work or practice talks (though those are welcome). Rather, participants are free to present any puzzles they like. They needn't have any analysis in mind; indeed, part of the fun of the group is hearing other people's thoughts on some difficult problem.

Thus, if all you have is an interesting pattern worth 'boggling at', that's perfect for our group (particularly if it's from an otherwise not-very-much-talked-about language or variety). For example, a run down of all the crazy data obtained during some recent field work (or experimental work, or whatever) would be quite ideal.

As the name suggests, our meetings are typically in the morning, with some breakfast item served.  However, the schedule is always flexible, if it turns out that most people can't make it in the morning. 

So, if you'd at all be interested in being part of such an endeavor, just let me know!

Presley at PRG on Thursday

Presley Pizzo will be leading a discussion in PRG on how to choose between theories. 

Time: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30PM

Location: Packards!

Jeremy Hartman at Acquisition meeting tomorrow

Barbara Pearson writes:

We have a topic for Monday's acquisition meeting.
{Jan 28, noon -1:30, Partee Room 301)

Speaker:  *Jeremy Hartman*, our new Language Acquisition professor (Office: South College 220)

Topic, *"Agentivity, affectedness, and 'target-state' passives in
acquisition"*:  Work in progress.

Please join us for our first meeting of the new semester.  We have Jeremy's talk, and some business matters to discuss (Plans and kudos). Come learn about the framework for a Research Workshop we hope to organize this semester.

Questions to me (while Magda, our meeting coordinator, is away this week):


Semantics job at UCL: Deadline March 1

The Linguistics Research Department at UCL is looking for a semanticist with a strong commitment to world- class research. The appointment will be at Lecturer, Senior Lecturer or Reader level (Lecturer is comparable to Assistant Professor; Reader is comparable to Associate Professor). The successful candidate will have a record of high-quality publications commensurate with the stage of their academic career. He or she will contribute to the department’s research, teaching, graduate supervision, and administration.

The Linguistics Research Department has recently become part of a new Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL, which offers enhanced opportunities for cross-disciplinary research. The appointment also follows a move to newly refurbished premises where the infrastructure exists for the successful applicant to build up their own research team.

The successful applicant will start work at UCL on 1 September 2013. 

The successful candidate will hold a doctorate in linguistics or a cognate discipline and will be engaged in a program of original research that enhances the department’s research portfolio and that can give rise to PhD projects and applications for research funding.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Nathan Klinedinst (+1 (864) 315 9878, n.klinedinst@ucl.ac.uk) or to the Head of Department, Prof Ad Neeleman (+ 44 (0) 20 7679 4045, a.neeleman@ucl.ac.uk). 

Anisa and Elizabeth at SRG this Thursday

Anisa Schardl and Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten will give presentations in this week's SRG. Watch this spot for updates.

Call for papers: ILLS

The 5th annual meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society (ILLS), to be held April 5-7, 2013 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently accepting submissions. Please pass this on to interested students to inform them of this opportunity.

Thank you for your time,
ILLS5 Committee

Marissa Goldrich
Itxaso Rodriguez
Megan Kennedy
Lydia Medill
Kate Lyons

The 5th annual meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society will be held April 5-7, 2013 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  ILLS is a graduate student conference open to all subfields of linguistics. In addition to the general conference and a Saturday poster session, this year's meeting will include a special session Saturday, April 16th on the topic of ‘Minority languages’.  We encourage submission and are currently accepting abstracts for topics in general linguistics and minority languages.  Deadline for submission is January 31st.

All talks will be given 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for questions. Abstracts will also be considered for a Saturday poster session. The top 4 submitted student abstracts will be awarded $200 to cover conference travel costs.

Abstracts should be maximum 500 words, with one extra page allowed for images, data, and/or references. Abstracts should be submitted via EasyAbs on LinguistList.org in PDF format with NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION of the presenter in the document.

For more information: http://linguistlist.org/callconf/browse-conf-action.cfm?ConfID=152391

The conference URL is: http://ills.linguistics.illinois.edu/current/index.html

Please contact lso.illinois@gmail.com <mailto:lso.illinois@gmail.com> with any questions you may have.

Invited Speakers:
Zsuzsanna Faygal (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
John Rickford (Stanford University)
Carrie Gillon (Arizona State University)
Ryan Shosted (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Michael Kenstowicz (Massachussetts Institute of Technology)

Class on Georgian

Mariam Tsiskarishvili will be teaching an informal class on Georgian.
Meeting times will be scheduled with eveyone's availability in mind.
Monday or Friday after 5:00pm are possible times.

If you are interested and would like further information please contact 


Tom Ernst in the Chronicle for Higher Ed

The latest issue of the  Chronicle for Higher Education features Tom Ernst in an article on independent scholars (with cameos from Rajesh and Jonathan Bobaljik). Take a look:


Kathryn Pruitt ASU

Kathryn Pruitt has accepted a tenure-track position as a phonologist in the linguistics program at Arizona State University.

Congratulations, Kathryn!

Undergraduate RAs in Psychology

Alexandra Jesse from Psychology writes:

We are currently looking for undergraduate research assistants to work in the Language, Intersensory Perception, and Speech (short: LIPS) lab in the Psychology Department. Positions are open starting this Fall semester. Ideal applicants are those who can commit to a longer time period.

The work within the LIPS lab falls within the area of Psycholinguistics. We examine how listeners recognize speech from hearing and seeing a speaker talk. In particular, we are interested in the time- course of recognizing words - both from listening and from lip-reading, how listeners adjust to a speaker's idiosyncratic pronunciations, and what happens to these processes when people get older. We use eye-tracking and other behavioral methods to address these questions, as well as EEG. 

You can visit our website for more information:

Typical tasks of our research assistants are:
- help with finding stimuli for an experiments (e.g., selecting words, making nonwords)
- help with recording, annotating, and editing of speech materials for the experiments
- assist with recruitment, scheduling, and testing of participants
- attend & prepare for weekly lab meetings
- do administrative research-related tasks

The typical commitment of our research assistants during the school year is 9hrs/week, for 3 credits. You would be enrolled in Psych 398B, but this course can count as an elective towards your linguistics degree. Please contact me if you have any questions about how these credits can be applied to your degree in Linguistics. 

So if you are interested in the position for the Spring, please contact me as soon as possible for more information and for an application form. Once you return the completed application form, we will then contact you to schedule for an interview. We will then also require a letter of recommendation. Therefore, if you are interested, please respond to this email as soon as possible. Enrollment has to be completed by January 29th for this position.

Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten at SRG

Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten gave a presentation at the SRG this past Thursday, January 24, entitled "Wondering about Alternatives in Navajo"

Bhatt at Rutgers

Rajesh Bhatt gave the following colloquium talk at Rutgers University on Friday, January 25.

Title: Many or More

Most Modern Indo-Aryan languages lack dedicated degree morphology. Comparative constructions are typically marked by a marker like the Hindi-Urdu `zyaadaa'/`adhik', which is often absent is adjectival comparatives. It is however required in non-adjectival comparatives. Earlier work that has identified this marker as the comparative degree head is unable to handle this asymmetry. I argue that `zyaadaa/adhik' does not by itself encode comparative meaning; it merely makes available a degree variable. I will show that this conception of 'zyaadaa' allows for us to handle a number of environments where 'zyaadaa' does not contribute a comparative meaning. The actual meaning of comparison I will take to be introduced by a covert comparative operator. Like the covert negation assumed in treatment of negative concord, this covert comparative operator needs to be licensed. It can be licensed by 'zyaadaa' or by the standard marker (the -se ‘than’ phrase). I will end with an examination the cross-linguistic grammaticization of comparative markers in the context of Schwarzschild's proposal for Hebrew `yoter'.