23 May 2014

WHISC's holiday postponed

WHISC mistook last week’s warm snap for summer. We have returned to wait for proper beach weather.

Partee: Doctor of Humane Letters

Although the University of Chicago hasn’t  announced it yet, we’ve been given permission to share on WHISC the news that Barbara Partee will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Chicago at their commencement ceremony on June 14. 

Congratulations Barbara!

Call for papers extended: InToSpan 2014

UMass is hosting the First Symposium on Intonation and Tone in the Spanish-Speaking world October 11-12. John Kingston is one of the invited speakers. Abstracts for oral presentations and posters are being accepted until June 7. For more information about the conference, go here. For information about submitting abstracts, go here.

Call for Abstracts: Phonology 2014

MIT will host Phonology 2014 on September 19-21, and is accepting abstracts for papers until June 5. Abstracts should be anonymous and no more than 2 single-spaced pages in 12 point font. Abstracts can be submitted here.

UMass alumna Gillian Gallagher (NYU) is one of three invited speakers.

For more information, go here.

Staubs defends dissertation on July 30

Robert Staubs will defend his dissertation, “Computational Modeling of Learning Biases in Stress Typology” on Wednesday, July 30, from 2-4PM in Machmer E33. Congratulations Robert!

One year position at College of William and Mary

Application deadline: June 6, 2014
Start Date: August 10, 2014
The Department of Psychology and the Linguistics Program invite applications for a one year, non-tenure-track position that will beginAugust 10, 2014. We seek an individual with expertise in PSYCHOLINGUISTICS who will hold a joint position in the Department of Psychology and the Linguistics Program. The successful candidate will be expected to be an effective teacher, and a Ph.D. is required at the time the candidate begins the appointment.  The successful candidate will teach Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition, which are cross-listed between the Linguistics Program and Psychology. Teaching responsibilities also include the Linguistic Program's introduction to linguistics courses as well as topics courses in the candidate's area of expertise. Non-tenure-eligible faculty are required to teach a 3-3 course load during the academic year (three courses per semester).
Candidate must apply online at https://jobs.wm.edu. Submit a curriculum vitae, a cover letter including a statement of research and teaching interests, and teaching evaluations, if possible.  You will be prompted to submit online the names and email addresses of three references who will be contacted by us with instructions on how to submit a letter of reference.
For full consideration, submit application materials by the review date, June 6, 2014.  Applications received after the review date will be considered if needed.
The College of William & Mary values diversity and invites applications from underrepresented groups who will enrich the research, teaching and service missions of the university. The College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and conducts background checks on applicants for employment.

Hashimoto defends dissertation on August 29

Masashi Hashimoto will defend his dissertation, “Experiencing in Japanese: The Experience Restriction Across Clausal Types,” on Friday, August 29, at 3PM in Machmer E-33. Congratulations Masashi!

Call for papers: Acoustical Society of America

The deadline for submission of abstracts for the fall 2014 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America is Monday, 23 June 2014.

The meeting will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, 27-31 October 2014, at the Indianapolis Marriott Hotel. Please refer to the call for papers for information and instructions for submitting abstracts and making hotel reservations. Full details can be found on the Indianapolis meeting website

The call for papers describes the special sessions that are being organized by the ASA Technical Committees as well as other events such as a tutorial lecture on musical acoustics, a short course on electroacoustic transducers, hot topics papers, a gallery of acoustics, and an undergraduate student research exposition. Technical tours are being planned to the Center for the Performing Arts, Indiana University School of Medicine, and the 3M Acoustics Facilities. The tutorial lecture will also be preceded by a tour of the Hilbert Circle Theatre. Social events will include two socials, the Women in Acoustics Luncheon, the Society Luncheon and Lecture, and the Jam Session.

Student events will be organized by the Student Council including the Student Orientation, Student Meet and Greet, and the Student Reception. An International Student Challenge Problem in Acoustic Signal Processing is also offered.  First and second place awards of USD$500 and USD$250 will be made and the winners will be invited (but not obligated) to present a poster at the Indianapolis meeting.

Limited travel support to attend the meeting will be available to the winning entrants. Full details are described at acousticalsociety.org.

Accompanying persons are welcome at the meeting and a program of activities will be organized.

Student Transportation Subsidies and Young Investigator Travel Grants are offered as well as Best Paper Awards for Students and Early Career Acousticians. See Meeting Information for details about applying for these subsidies and awards.

A new meeting feature, the ASA Resume Help Desk, will be organized for this meeting.  The desk will be staffed by ASA members who are experienced in hiring and who will be available to look at your CV, cover letter, and research and teaching statements to provide suggestions.

We hope that you will consider presenting a paper or attending the meeting to participate in the exchange of ideas and the latest research developments in acoustics and to meet with your colleagues.

Visiting Phonologists next year

Joe Pater writes:

On behalf of the phonetics and phonology faculty, I'm very happy to be able to announce that we will be joined next year by Sang-Im Lee-Kim, currently finishing her PhD at NYU, and Robert Staubs, currently finishing his PhD in our own department.
Robert will be teaching the graduate pro-seminar in the fall, and Sang-Im will be teaching the graduate seminar in the spring. Preliminary descriptions of the seminars are included below. They will also be leading the sound seminar and teaching undergraduate classes. 
Staubs, Ling 730 Fall: Frequency in Phonological Typology. 
Traditional generative models of phonological typology touch only indirectly on questions of frequency, focusing instead on differences between possible and impossible languages. In this seminar we will examine a variety of approaches to answering the question of why some phonological patterns are more common than others.

We will discuss two principal ways of incorporating phonetic biases into the frequencies of phonological typology. The first is phonetically-driven phonology (e.g. in Hayes et al. 2004), which adds phonetic effects into more typical generative models. The second is Blevins’ (2004) Evolutionary Phonology, which instead seeks to explain phonological typology as originating only from phonetic effects paired with general principles of analogy.

In addition to phonetic concerns, we will look at models which seek to explain typological frequencies based on generative models themselves. Our main departure will be representations in Optimality Theory-like grammars. We will first discuss approaches such as Coetzee (2002) and Riggle (2010/in prep.) based on counting the number of rankings describing a pattern, then compare this approach to one based in formal learnability as discussed e.g. by Moreton & Pater (2012).

Finally, we will consider learning-based approaches which are comparatively divorced from grammatical theory, in particular the work of Kirby and colleagues on iterated learning and the emergence of structure across generations of language learning. We will ask what this work, typically focused on non-phonological domains, has to say about “emergence" in a phonological context.
Lee-Kim, Ling 751 Spring: Data-oriented approaches to phonological patterns
This graduate seminar investigates how evidence from articulation and acoustics can provide insights into phonological patterns. Focusing on the importance of empirical evidence, we will review articles that employ ultrasound imaging and other articulatory methods as well as various acoustic techniques in order to examine the phonetic bases of phonological phenomena. In addition, the contribution of morphological structure to both phonetic data and phonological patterns will be introduced to probe the interaction between various linguistic factors that are responsible for the emerging phonological patterns.

Specific topics to be addressed include phonological representation of schwa (Davidson 2005; Gick & Wilson 2006), transparent vowels (Gick, Pulleyblank, Fiona & Mutaka 2006; Benus & Gafos2007;Allen,Pulleyblank &Ajíbóyè2013),consonantharmony(Walker, Byrd & Mpiranya 2008; Zellou 2013) and sonority (Parker 2008; Proctor & Walker 2012). In the remainder of the seminar, we will proceed to discuss the interaction between phonology and other modules in grammar. Specifically, topics regarding the morphology-phonology interface will be discussed based on evidence from both acoustics and articulation (Cho 2001; Warner, Jongman, Sereno & Kemps 2004; Sugahara & Turk 2009; Lee-Kim, Davidson & Hwang 2013).

While familiarizing students with the current experimental methodology that can be used to effectively address phonological questions, the seminar ultimately aims to help students develop their own research questions and determine viable methodologies to test their hypotheses.

Annual Fall Picnic: September 6

Barbara Partee writes:

Linguists and friends -- the annual Fall Potluck Picnic to welcome new students, faculty, visitors to the department, including undergraduates (please spread the word to them), and including linguists in or visiting other departments -- will be held on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, September 6, rain or shine, at 50 Hobart Lane in Amherst (Barbara and Volodja's house). Please mark your calendars. A fuller announcement will come around in mid to late August. 

Schedule of Tone Workshop at UMass in June

An tentative schedule for the tone workshop at UMass on June 2-3 has become available. 


9:30-10  Breakfast + coffee

10-11     Mark Liberman: Tone without pitch

11-12     Jianjing Kuang: The covariation between pitch and phonation:the case of creaky voice in Mandarin tones

12-12:30 Discussion

12:30-2   Lunch (served)

2-3        John Kingston (Something on Oto-Mangeuan)

3-4        Christian DiCanio (Something on Oto-Mangeuan)

4-5        Discussion

Workshop dinner


9:30-10  Breakfast + coffee

10-11     Bert Remijsen (University of Edinburgh): Further evidencefor contrastive alignment in falling contours

11-12     TBD

12-12:30 Discussion

12:30-2   Lunch (served)

2-3        James Kirby (University of Edinburgh): TBA

3-4        Yi Xu (University College London): Toward parametricrepresentation of tone: Articulatory dynamics and computationalmodeling

4-5        Discussion

NASSLI registration

The 6th North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (NASSLLI 2014), a bi-annual summer school loosely modeled on the long-running ESSLLI series in Europe, will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, June 23 - 27, 2014. In addition, we will run three intensive introductory courses ("bootcamps") on Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22. Additional events will be held during the weekend following the summer school, June 28-29.

The summer school will consist of 18 courses, scheduled in five parallel sessions throughout the week. Courses will meet for 90 minutes on each of five days. The instructors are prominent researchers who volunteer their time and energy to present work in their disciplines. NASSLLI courses are aimed at graduate students and advanced undergraduates in any of the fields represented at the summer school, but will also be of interest to post-docs and researchers in those fields. Courses are designed with an interdisciplinary audience in mind, by instructors who enjoy addressing students and colleagues from a wide range of disciplines.

For the full program of courses, see http://www.nasslli2014.com/program.

We are working to keep the registration fee low for NASSLLI participants. The registration fee is $195.00 for students and academics (and $70 for local participants).


NASSLL is located on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. The University of Maryland is located in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and is accessible by Metro from downtown Washington DC.  
All NASSLLI participants are responsible for securing their own accommodations during their stay in College Park. However, NASSLLI participants may request accommodation in the South Campus Residence Hall on the University of Maryland, College Park campus.  There are also a number of hotels located in College Park within walking distance of the campus.

New Department Housewarming: September 27th

John Kingston writes:

This summer, the Linguistics Department will with great joy move into a new building, one called the Integrated Learning Center for the time-being. The department will at last have space for all our faculty, all our graduate students, a considerable number of visitors, and all the laboratories, on the fourth floor of the new building. We will inaugurate our occupation of this new space on 27 September 2014 with a variety of festivities, and perhaps the annual Freeman lecture. So please plan to join us that day to make a joyful noise in celebration of the move and all the opportunities it creates for us.

More details will be forthcoming as they are firmed up.

Graduate Program in nominal modification at Goethe University

Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, offers full funding for 12 graduate students who aim for a PhD in the domain of nominal modification. These 12 PhD positions will be part of the newly approved graduate program "Nominal Modification", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), designated director Prof. Dr. Caroline Fery.

The particpating disciplines are: Semantics, Syntax, Phonology, Phonetics, Psycholinguistics, Language Acquisition, English Linguistics, Romance linguistics, Historical Linguistics, and Typology.

For further information, go here.
Deadline for applications: June 30, 2014

New Journal: Semantics-Syntax Interface

There's a new international journal starting up, Semantics-Syntax Interface, published in Iran. The editor is Negin Ilkhanipour; the first call for papers went out last August on Linguist List: here.

By invitation, Barbara Partee has the first article in the first issue, which is just about to appear. Partee, Barbara H. 2014. A brief history of the syntax-semantics interface in Western formal linguistics. Semantics-Syntax Interface 1.1:1-20.  (A preprint is on her website.)

UMass at Speech Prosody 7

Trinity College in Dublin is hosting the seventh Speech Prosody conference this week (May 20-23). UMass is represented by Kristine Yu, who will be presenting “Intonational phonology in Bengali and English infant-direct speech,” joint work with Sameer Ud Dowla Khan and Megha Sundara, and by Meghan Armstrong, who presents “The acquisition of multimodal cues to disbelief,” joint work with Nuria Esteve-Gilbert and Pilar Prieto.

UMass at Exploring the Interfaces 3

On May 8-10, McGill University hosted Exploring the Interfaces, a conference devoted to the stuff between syntax, semantics, phonology and morphology.  Invited speakers included UMass alumna Emily Elfner (who also co-organized the conference) and UMass faculty Kristine Yu. Emily’s talk was entitled “Syntax-prosody mismatches in Irish and English verb-initial structures," and Kristine’s talk was entitled “Tonal marking of absolutive case in Samoan.” Lisa Selkirk also presented a talk, with Seunghun Lee (CCSU) entitled “Structural restrictions on H tone spread in Xitsonga.”  And UMass alumna Molly Diesing, with Draga Zec, gave the paper “Getting in the first word: Prosody and predicate-initial sentences in Serbian.” WHISC has also learned that UMass students Jeremy Pasquereau and Leland Kusmer were also present. For a full schedule, go here.