22 April 2013

Linguistics Club sponsors presentation by Google representative today

Jeremy Cahill writes:

Linguistics Club invites linguistics and computer science majors to  
join us next Monday for a presentation by Google representative Shiri  

Shiri will discuss internships and other opportunities at Google.

Aaron Schein, UMass Linguistics graduate and Artificial Intelligence  
Engineer at MITRE Corporation, will also be in attendance.

WHEN: Monday, April 22, 5:30 - 7:30 PM
WHERE: Machmer E-37

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/GoogleUMass

or RSVP at: jccahill@student.umass.edu

Space is limited!

Aravind and de Villiers in LARC/Language Acquisition Lab today

Magda Oiry writes:

Please join us Monday, April 22 in the Partee room (301, third floor of South College) at 12:15 to hear:

"Assessing Bilingual 3-­5 year Olds’ Language"

by Athulya Aravind and Jill de Villiers.

Everyone welcome!

Anton Ingason speaks on Thursday

Anton Ingason will give a tutorial on using annotated corpora for syntactic research on Thursday, April 25, from 2:30--5:00 in the Partee Room. The last hour will be a hands-on tutorial. A brief abstract follows.

Using Annotated Corpora for Syntactic Research

Parsed corpora are powerful tools for collecting quantiative evidence for syntactic research. This introduction to the use of parsed corpora will focus on the following:

- Appropriate and inappropriate uses of a parsed corpus
- Types of results that have been made possible by currently available corpora
- The annotation scheme of the Penn Parsed Corpora for Historical English (which is being applied to an increasing number of languages with minor modifications)
- How do you run your own queries?

For the last and most important part, we will use the Icelandic Parsed Historical Corpus (IcePaHC), which is freely available. You do not need to know Icelandic for the purposes of the tutorial! It would be useful to download the corpus and set it up on your laptop in advance.

Download IcePaHC 0.9 from here (Windows or Platform Independent):

The Windows version has an automatic installer. The platform independent version (Mac OS or Linux) requires you to have Java installed and open a terminal to run a command from the directory where you save the corpus:

java -jar corpald-icepahc-0.9.jar

Useful materials:

CorpusSearch Users Guide (especially "Query Language" section):
- http://corpussearch.sourceforge.net/CS-manual/Contents.html

Alex Drummond speaks on Tuesday

Alex Drummond will give a talk tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23, at 4PM in Dickinson 206. His talk is entitled "Deriving the Right Roof Constraint from a preference for merge over move." 

Anton Ingason speaks on Friday

Anton Ingason gives a talk on Friday, May 26, from 2:00--3:30 in Dickinson 206 entitled "Causation of Experience in Icelandic." An abstract can be found here.

Incoming Class

Alice Harris writes with an introduction to the incoming class of graduate students. They are:

Caroline Andrews graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She worked as a volunteer at the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado and is now volunteering on Alice Taffs project on documenting Tlingit. Caroline is interested in psycholinguistic work on less-studied languages and in the syntax-semantics interface.

Sakshi Bhatia has completed a BA, MA, and MPhil at the University of Delhi. She has worked on case in Indic languages (especially Mirzapur), on code switching from a Minimalist perspective, and on other syntactic topics, sometimes collaborating with Jyoti Iyer (see below). Sakshi plans to continue to work on formal syntax and semantics.

David Erschler did his undergraduate work at the Independent University of Moscow and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at Tel Aviv University. As a self-taught linguist, he has published on typology, diachronic linguistics, and generative syntax and has worked extensively on Ossetic, an Iranian language spoken in the Caucasus. He is presently working at the University of Tuebingen and collaborating with linguists at the Max Planck in Leipzig. At UMass he wants to work on syntax and the syntax-phonology interface. 

Ivy Hauser works in phonetics and phonology and is interested in phonological inventories, speech perception and production, and sociophonetics. She has written on the role of sonority in structuring phonological inventories and on speech tone perception. She comes to us from the University of North Carolina.

Jyoti Iyer has completed a BA, MA, and MPhil at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She is interested in working on the syntax-semantics interface and has worked on nanosyntax, comparatives, grammaticalization, and the semantics of modals, among other topics. 

Leland Kusmer comes to us from Swarthmore, where he took a fieldmethods course on Akan. He pursued this language on his own all the way to Ghana. Leland and Caroline (see above) worked together at the Institute for Collaborative Language Research on the Uda language of Nigeria. Leland is interested in combining linguistic theory with work on endangered languages.

Katya Vostrikova did undergraduate and graduate work in the philosophy of language, with her graduate degree from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She is interested in the syntax-semantics interface, especially the semantics of quantification. 

Coral Williams' interests lie particularly in phonology. She has written on metathesis in Kambaata, a Highland East Cushitic language. Coral also has experience working in a lab to find effective clinical treatments for children with atypical linguistic development. She comes to us from the University of Indiana.

Suzi Lima goes to Harvard

Suzi Lima has accepted a one-year research postdoc at Harvard's Psychology Department working with Jesse Snedeker. Suzi writes "My research project investigates the acquisition of number words by Brazilian indigenous children, and how it affects their understanding of number concepts, exact numerosities and counting."

Congratulations Suzi!

Kratzer gives talk

Angelika Kratzer, who is presently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, will give a presentation entitled "Mapping Possibilities" at 4pm today in the Sheerr Room at Fay House, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge. For more information, go here.

Yohei Oseki goes to NYU

Visiting Scholar Yohei Oseki writes:

I've accepted an admission to the Ph.D. program in Linguistics at New York University. I will work mainly on syntax and morphology, as well as neurolinguistics of them.

Congratulations Yohei!

Undergraduate RAships in Psychology

Alexandra Jesse 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 Fall 2013. 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. Other majors are of course also eligible to apply.

So if you are interested in the position, 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. 

Aynat Rubinstein goes to Jerusalem

Aynat Rubinstein writes from her present post at Georgetown University:

I have recently accepted a 3-year fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as a Mandel Scholar at the Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies.

Mandel Scholars are chosen each year amongst applicants whose research may enrich academic and cultural discourse across different disciplines in the humanities. Finalists are brought to Jerusalem to give a talk about their work, in what has come to be known (quite aptly, I may add) as the “marathon of lectures”. Apart from conducting their own research, Mandel Scholars participate in the many activities of the Scholion Center, including a colloquium series and field trips (!).

I am joining the Scholion Center at a great time for linguistics. In the next three years, a new research group on the emergence of Modern Hebrew will be hard at work there. The group, which is led by Edit Doron, Malka Rappaport-Hovav, Yael Reshef, and Moshe Taube, will be a research hub for several PhD students, and open to the participation of local and visiting scholars.

Congratulations Aynat!

Meghan Armstrong joins LLC

Meghan Armstrong has accepted a position in Languages, Literatures and Cultures, where she will be joining Luiz Amaral and Patricia Gubitosi in the Hispanic Linguistics program. She specializes in the acquisition of prosody, and has a long-standing interest in Puerto Rican Spanish, especially as spoken in the Greater Hartford area.


Sinn und Bedeutung 17 proceedings now available

Barbara Partee writes:

The proceedings for the last edition of the international semantics conference Sinn und Bedeutung 17, held in Paris in September 2012, have now been published online at

Seth Cable at University of Utah

Seth Cable gave a colloquium at the University of Utah last Friday. He brings back greetings from Ed Rubin, former visiting scholar.