02 December 2013

LARC on Wednesday

Magda Oiry writes:

We will meet for the last time of the semester on Wednesday at 12:15 in the Partee room.
Tom Roeper and Luiz Amaral will report on the conference on Recursion and every interesting things that came out of it.
Everyone welcome!

01 December 2013

Charles Yang virtually in LING 830

Tom Roeper writes:

Charles Yang will skype into our root infiinitives class and discuss those
issues and others he may be working on.

The class is 2:30 on December 2nd in Dickinson 210. Everyone is invited to attend!

SALT 24 deadline is tomorrow

The deadline for SALT 24 is Monday, December 2, 2013, 11:59pm EST.  SALT 24 will be hosted by the Linguistics Department of New York University on May 30 through June
1, 2014. The conference will be preceded by a series of tutorials on Formal Semantics Beyond Spoken Language, on May 29 (see notice below). The Call for Papers and submission information can be found here.

Tao Gong and Lan Shuai speak on Tuesday

The Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures presents
Dr. Tao Gong (The Hong Kong University) and Dr. Lan Shuai (Johns Hopkins University)  who will give a talk entitled "Simulating Vowel Chain Shifts" (Tao GONG) and "Language as an 'interface' -- evidence from tone perception and its lateralization" (Lan SHUAI). The talks are on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 in Herter Hall 210 from 4:00-6:00. Abstracts of the talks follow.

Simulating Vowel Chain Shifts.

Vowel chain shift, as a series of related sound changes leading to a rearrangement of the phonetic realizations, is a typical phonetic change in world languages, yet the explanation for it remains controversial; some scholars highlight the roles of self-organizing property of the vowel space, whereas others emphasize the necessity of phonetic contrast maintenance. In this talk, based primarily on Bart de Boer's self-organizing model and the empirical data of vowel chain shifts in Xumi language, I present an agent-based computer simulation to address this controversy and explain how the vowel chain shift in Upper Xumi occurs. The simulation results show that extended vowel chain shift cannot be solely explained by self-organization, the phonemic contrast maintenance mechanism is also necessary. Under these two factors, the vowel chain shift in Upper Xumi can be explained as the combined effect of the evolution of vowel system under noise conditions and the addition of the loan phoneme /ɔ/. This is the first simulation attempt to address the process of an extended vowel shift in relation to real-world data.

Langauge as an Interface — evidence from Tone Perception and its lateralization

In this talk, I report my ERP studies investigating the hemispheric specialization of tone perception. This line of research begins with the debate between the task-dependent (based on linguistic mechanisms) and cue-dependent (based on acoustically driven mechanisms) hypotheses, which predict opposite lateralization patterns. Since lexical tone is defined as the use of pitch variations to distinguish lexical meanings, it is natural to examine both the linguistic function and acoustic property of lexical tone, and my work shows that both aspects affect the lateralization in tone perception, in both early (~200 ms) and late (~400 ms) time windows. This work contributes to a more complete picture of tone lateralization, and supports a parallel processing of both linguistic and acoustic factors. It further indicates that language functions such as tone perception involve various concurrent cognitive functions, linguistic and non-linguistic, such as semantic memory or pitch perception, which is in accordance with the ‘mosaic theory’ stating that “language is regarded as a kind of ‘interface’ among a variety of more basic abilities” (Wang, 1978).

Barbara speaks on December 10

Seth Cable writes:

I wanted to let everyone know that, as part of the Semantics Proseminar, Barbara will be giving a special one-hour talk on December 10th at 2PM in the Partee room.

Titled "On the History (and a Bit of Post-History) of Montague's PTQ", this talk will assume some prior familiarity with the content of Montague's seminal paper "The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English." That is, unlike some of Barbara's other popular talks on the history of formal semantics, this one will be targeted to 'S-siders' with some technical knowledge of Montague's work. Nevertheless, all are very welcome to attend!

If you'd like to attend Barbara's talk, could you please let me know by Friday? I'd like to get a head count, just in case we need to shift venues.

Call for papers: Afranaph Workshop

The Linguistics Department at Rutgers is hosting the Afranaph Project Development Workshop II (APDW2) which will take place on December 13-14 at the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers, New Brunswick. The full event program for APDW2 is available here.

APDW2 brings together researchers and consultants presenting their work on languages within the Afranaph Project, or joint work in connection with the Afranaph Sister Projects, or else proposals for new sister projects that will expand the scope of the Afranaph data resources. We invite anyone interested in African linguistics, theoretical linguistics, and the relationship between online empirical research collaborations and linguistic fieldwork, to attend our event (there is no registration fee). Inquiries may be directed to Ken Safir, Afranaph Project Director, safir@ruccs.rutgers.edu.

UMass at American Speech Language and Hearing Association meeting

Barbara Zurer Pearson writes:

UMass Linguistics was represented at the American Speech Language and Hearing Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 14-17.
Fourth-year graduate student Tracy Conner led a "Dialect Awareness Workshop: Enhancing Language Flexibility in African American English-Speaking Children & Their Teachers & Clinicians." Co-presenters for the hands-on activities of the two-hour workshop were myself, and Tamika LeRay, a 2009 participant in Professor Lisa Green's Summer Dialect Research Project, who is now a practicing speech-language therapist in the Boston Public Schools. The workshop was based on a paper by me, Tracy, and co-author Janice Jackson published earlier this year in Developmental Psychology (volume 49:1). [Janice was unable to join them because she had extensive brain surgery earlier in the fall. Fortunately, she is now on the mend.) ]

Tom Roeper and Ondene van Dulm, a colleague from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, presented "Toward a Principled Approach to Child Language Remediation", showcasing materials based on the DELV-Norm Referenced test (Seymour, Roeper, & de Villiers, 2005) that Ondene and Frenette Southwood of Stellenbosch University in South Africa created.

LARC member Jill de Villiers of Smith College participated in three presentations of a still-unnamed computer-based assessment of vocabulary and syntax for monolingual and bilingual preschoolers being developed in conjunction with researchers at Temple University, University of Delaware, and Laureate Learning Systems. Like the DELV, the new assessment focuses on a more sophisticated notion of syntactic and lexical knowledge than most current tests that screen for language delay.

I also presented on the DELV-NR in Catherine Snow's class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on Monday November 25.

Call for papers: Triple A semantics workshop

In conjunction with the University of Potsdam, the SFB 833 at the
University of Tübingen is currently co-organising a semantics workshop titled 'Triple A’. The workshop's primary focus is the semantics of underrepresented languages in Africa, Asia and Austronesia. It will be held on June 11-13, 2014 . Submissions for 30-minute talks plus 10 minutes for discussion are invited. Submissions should present original formal semantic or pragmatic work on any interpretive aspect of the languages under discussion, ideally originating from own fieldwork. We particularly encourage Ph.D. students to apply. The deadline for abstracts is January 7, 2014. For more information, go here.

Formal Semantics Beyond Spoken Language

In conjunction with SALT, NYU is sponsoring a series of tutorials on the formal semantics of signed languages and the formal semantics of pictures, gestures and diagrams. These tutorials take place on May 29, 2014. They are free, but registration is required. For more information, go here.

GLOW Spring School

GLOW 37 will take place on April 2-5, 2014 in Brussels. The GLOW conference will be followed by the GLOW Spring School 1 (April 7-11, 2014), with courses taught by Charles Yang, Antal Van den Bosch, Norvin Richards, Philip Hofmeister, Martina Wiltschko, Philippe Schlenker, Hagit Borer, and Pavel Caha.

The registration deadline for GSS1 is January 15, 2014!

For all practical information relating to both the GLOW colloquium and the Spring School, see http://www.glow37.org.