09 September 2013

UMAFLAB meets on Friday

Seth Cable writes:

I'm very happy to announce that the first meeting of the UMAFLAB (UMass Funny Language Breakfast) will be this Friday at 9AM in room 301 of South College (the Partee Room).

This will be a short, purely organizational meeting, where we'll set up our schedule of meetings for the term. Thank you to everyone who wrote in mentioning an interest in presenting!

As another brief reminder about what UMFLAB is: the purpose of UMAFLAB is to bring 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.

LARC/Acquisition Lab Meetings on Wednesdays: Meghan Armstrong this week

Magda Oiry writes:
Welcome back everyone and welcome to newcomers!
This year the acquisition lab LARC meeting will meet on *Wednesdays* from *12:15 to 1:15* in the Partee room (South college 301).
We will meet every other Wednesday.
Our first meeting will be this Wednesday, September 11. Meghan Armstrong, a new faculty member in Hispanic Linguistics (LLC) will be presenting on 'Child comprehension of belief state intonation in Puerto Rican Spanish'.

We will also do introductions and try to lay out an agenda for the semester.
Make sure you're on the mailing list: go to https://list.umass.edu/mailman/listinfo/ling-acquisition

Tom Ernst at Dartmouth this year

Tom Ernst will be teaching at Dartmouth this academic year. In the Fall, he'll be teaching their Introduction to Syntax course, and in the Spring, a course on Dialects. 

Seth Cable gets an NSF

Seth Cable has been awarded a three year grant from the National Science Foundation for "The Verbal Morpho-semantics and clausal architecture of Tlingit.  A brief description of the grant follows.

Congratulations Seth!

The Verbal Morpho-semantics and Clausal Architecture of Tlingit
This project will conduct detailed, theoretically-informed fieldwork upon the Tlingit language (Lingít, /ɬin.kít/), a highly endangered and understudied language indigenous to Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon. The project will focus upon aspects of the language related to the expression of time and possibility, as well as the nature of the language's relatively flexible word-order. 
This project will yield results of significance to both professional linguists and community members striving to learn Tlingit as a second language. Both groups will directly benefit from the collection of new Tlingit language data, given the language's status as highly endangered. In addition, study of the specific linguistic phenomena identified in this project will make distinct, important contributions to diverse areas of linguistic theory. For example, the investigation of word-order and sentence structure in Tlingit is expected to establish for linguists the existence of ‘covert A-scrambling’, a grammatical process whose existence is predicted by theory, but which has thus far not been definitively documented. Furthermore, study of the grammatical means by which Tlingit expresses the concepts of time and possibility will inform specific debates surrounding the extent to which languages vary in the expression of these concepts, thus probing deep and long-standing questions relating to human nature and the structure of human cognition. 
Beyond these technical results, this project will advance ongoing efforts to document, maintain and revitalize the growing number of endangered languages throughout the world, mitigating the inevitable and catastrophic language death that will occur by the end of this century. This project will uncover subtle grammatical generalizations of no small importance to the growing number of persons learning Tlingit as a second language. Moreover, the digital recordings and field reports made during this project will be added to the archives stored at the Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Alaska Native Language Archive, preserving for future Tlingit generations the voices and the words of their forebears.

The Psycholinguistic Evening Meetings

Brian Dillon writes:

This fall semester John Kingston and I would like to resurrect the great tradition of the UMass Psycholinguistics evening meetings. We invite you to join us for the Psycholinguistics Evening Meetings... Psych! (EM).
Psych! (EM) will meet every 2-3 weeks during the semester. It will function mainly as a reading group / journal club, as well as a venue for discussion of in-progress projects in Psycholinguistics. If there's a psycholinguistics paper you've been dying to read or some puzzling data you've been dying to discuss, an experimental technique you would like to talk about, then this is the venue! Psych! (EM) also intends to be a forum for discussion of technical / methodological issues related to the various experimental paradigms that people are using around the department. 
If you'd like to receive further updates on PsychEM meetings, please sign up for the *ling-psych mailing list*. Meeting announcements and information will be sent out to that mailing list. You can sign up for the list here: https://list.umass.edu/mailman/listinfo/ling-psych
Our first meeting will be Wednesday September 18th at 7:30pm, at my house in Northampton (181 Main St, Apt C). I'll provide beer and snacks. For this meeting we'll do our semester planning, and read 'Towards a model of acceptability judgments' by Markus Bader and Jana Häussler (here's a link that will work on campus: http://journals.cambridge.org/production/action/cjoGetFulltext?fulltextid=7802268). The (informal) discussion will be led by Brian.

PRG meets on Thursdays

Claire Moore-Cantwell writes:

You are cordially invited to Phonology Reading Group (PRG) meetings this 
semester.  They will take place in Northampton, at 7:30 pm on Thursdays, 
approximately every other Thursday, starting next week:

Thursday, Sept. 12, 7:30 pm
Location: 16 Main st., apartment 2A (Shayne and Amanda's place, 
directions below)
Topic: 'Effects of sonority on phonological inventories' By Ivy Hauser
Food: Bring your own take-out

Directions: enter through the first set of doors leading to Pho Vietnam, 
then turn immediately right. Open the door just beyond the mailboxes. Go 
upstairs one flight, turn left, then left again, to arrive at our 
apartment door.


Michael Kenstowicz from MIT writes:

The MIT Department of Linguistics is holding a workshop/conference on Stress and Meter on Sept. 20-21 entitled M@90. As the conference name suggests, it is intended to celebrate Morris' 90th birthday and honor the fundamental work he has done in these areas of research (as in so many others). The conference has a website (http://m90.mit.edu/) and we are asking attendees to register in order to know how many people to expect. There is also a Tabula Gratulatoria to which you can submit messages for best wishes, etc. 

Program in Informatics

The School of Computer Science announces a new program in Informatics through BDIC, which will eventually turn into a major in the School. If you are interested in Informatics or in the Computer Science major, you should attend a meeting Monday, September 9, at 4 PM in 150/151 Computer Science Building.

More information about the Informatics program may be found atwww.cs.umass.edu/informatics.