24 August 2014

Department Potluck Picnic

The annual beginning-of-the-year potluck picnic/party will happen at Barbara and Voldja’s place  (50 Hobart Lane in Amherst) on Saturday, September 6. It starts at 3:30 and continues into the evening. WHISC has been informed that casual dress is acceptable. Sporting events include badminton and croquet (casual dress is acceptable for these activities as well). Feel free to bring equipment for more strenuous activities. 

Bring things to eat and drink. There will be a charcoal grill provided, and it’ll be hot by 4:30 or so. International foods are encouraged, as are adventuresome dishes.

Also bring friends, family, children, colleagues, hangers-on, partners, companions and Philosophers. But no dogs please.

Here is a message from Barbara regarding Hobart Lane’s notorious parking issues:

There is no parking permitted on most of Hobart Lane. Parking is possible in our driveway, and parking is possible in the daylight hours on the opposite side of the street between our house and where Hobart Lane turns into a dirt road, but for safety, put a note under your windshield wiper that tells the police your name and that you are now at 50 Hobart Lane and asking them please to let us know if there is a problem. (The parking restrictions help us combat the problems of large beer parties in the neighboring apartment complexes on Hobart Lane, so we like to stay friends with the police! We'll let them know about the party, but they won't be able to grant a total parking waiver for a September Saturday. They usually agree to come and let us know when cars need to be moved, rather than just towing them away.)

Masashi Hashimoto defends

Masashi Hashimoto will defend his dissertation, “Experiencing in Japanese: The Experiencer Restriction Across Clausal Types,” on Friday, August 29, in the Seminar Hub (N400).

Mellon Post-Doc at McGill

A world-renowned university located in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Montreal, Canada, McGill University has earned an international reputation for scholarly achievement and scientific discovery. Founded in 1821, McGill has 21 faculties and professional schools, which offer more than 300 programs from the undergraduate to the doctoral level. McGill attracts renowned professors and researchers from around the world and top students from more than 150 countries, creating one of the most dynamic and diverse educational environments in North America.

Three Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded for the academic year 2015-2016 to promising young scholars. The stipend for each fellow is $52,000 CAD (plus benefits), in addition to a research allowance of $8,500. The Fellowship is renewable once. Each fellow will teach an undergraduate course in both fall and winter terms and may be asked to give a public presentation on his or her research. Fellows will be provided with office space and are expected to be on campus making use of McGill’s resources, particularly during the academic year.


Scholars who received their PhD after June 2012 or who will have completed all PhD degree requirements by June 1, 2015 are eligible to apply. While research projects must be based in the humanities, interdisciplinary applications are especially welcome. Fellowships are open to scholars of any nationality. Applicants who do not have the PhD in hand at the time of application must include a letter from their Department Chair specifying the date of the dissertation defense. Successful applicants who do not complete all requirements for their PhD by June 1, 2015, will have their offer of award withdrawn.

To Apply:

All applicants must be in contact with a full-time faculty member in the Faculty of Arts in advance to identify an appropriate supervisor for his or her work (see http://www.mcgill.ca/arts/departments). The deadline to contact a proposed supervisor is Friday, October 24, 2014. Since each supervisor can only endorse one Mellon fellowship application, an application can only proceed once endorsement from a proposed supervisor has been obtained. Applicants will be notified of this decision by the proposed supervisor by Friday, October 31, 2014.

There is no application form. The application should include:

  1. 1)  A one-page statement of interest from the applicant detailing the proposed research project

  2. 2)  A full curriculum vitae

  3. 3)  An official copy of university graduate transcripts

  4. 4)  A copy of the doctoral diploma, or a letter from the Department Chair specifying the defense date

  5. 5)  Two letters of recommendation, one of which must speak to competence in teaching

  6. 6)  A writing sample, not to exceed 20 pages (extract from the dissertation, published work, or draft of a work in progress)

  7. 7)  A letter of support from the proposed supervisor in the Faculty of Arts at McGill, to be forwarded directly to the address below by the proposed supervisor

Applications must be received by Monday, November 17, 2014.
For more information contact:
adr.arts@mcgill.ca or 514-398-4400, ext. 094822

Applications should be submitted electronically to adr.arts@mcgill.ca. Electronic letters of recommendation should be attached as PDF documents only and sent directly by the referees.

Submission by mail is also possible. The completed application should be sent to:

Professor Jim Engle-Warnick Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies Faculty of Arts
McGill University
853 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, QC H3A 0G5 CANADA

Kratzer and Krifka: SIAS Summer Institute

Angelika Kratzer writes:

I have good news to share: Manfred Krifka and I have just heard that the eight directors of SIAS (Some Institutes for Advanced Studies, comprising the Princeton, Radcliffe, Stanford, Berlin, Stockholm, Hebrew University institutes, as well as NIAS and the National Humanities Center) have chosen our joint proposal for a SIAS Summer Institute at their last meeting in June. Our proposal is entitled: “The Investigation of Linguistic Meaning: in the Armchair, in the Field, and in the Lab.” Typically two proposals are chosen every two years. We heard that this time, the selection was particularly difficult because only one proposal could be chosen for budgetary reasons. We are very happy that it was ours. We are particularly proud that our proposal convinced eight top scholars from very different fields (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences). 
A SIAS Summer Institute is, in fact, a two year mentoring program for 20 post-doctoral fellows (no more than 5 years from PhD) from Europe and the US. They will be brought together in two two-week summer institutes directed by us. We can invite up to four outside experts. For the Berlin segment of the Institute, we can also also rely on the resources of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and the ZAS (Center for General Linguistics). The program is jointly funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The funds (around $200,000) will be administered by the Berlin Wissenschaftskolleg and the National Center for the Humanities, which will also host the two Summer Institutes. The funds from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation have already been secured, and we can thus begin to recruit fellows and plan for the 2015 Summer Institute. The Mellon Foundation is expected to commit funding for the second phase of the program and the 2016 Summer Institute by the end of the year.  
This grant will not consume resources from UMass, nor will it bring funds. It will, however, add to our reputation as a center for interdisciplinary research and innovation. It affirms our vision of linguistics as a bridge builder between the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the Natural Sciences. It fits perfectly with our department’s efforts (currently spearheaded by Joe) towards a Cognitive Science Institute. It will contribute to international collaboration and tightly connect us to research on linguistic meaning in Europe. Personally, I am also interested in exploiting some of the expertise with collective interdisciplinary research for my undergraduate teaching. 

Mellon Post-Doc at Stanford

Stanford University invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, a unique opportunity for the best recent Ph.D. recipients in the humanities to develop as scholars and teachers. Up to four fellowships will be awarded for a two-year term (with the possibility of renewal for a third year). Fellows will teach two courses per year in one of Stanford’s humanities departments, and are expected to participate in the intellectual life of the program, which includes regular meetings with other fellows and faculty to share work in progress and discuss topics of mutual interest. It is expected that Fellows will be in residence during the term of their appointment. Fellows will also be affiliated with the Stanford Humanities Center and will have the opportunity to be active in its intellectual life.

Eligible fields for the 2014 competition (for fellowships beginning autumn 2015):

Classics, Linguistics, and Philosophy

Candidates for this year’s competition must have received their Ph.D. between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2015. Fellowships will begin on September 1, 2015.

The stipend for 2014-15 is $66,000, and compensation will include additional support for computer assistance, research, and relocation expenses, depending on the needs of individual fellows.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted by November 17, 2014. To
apply, complete the online application process at the website below.

You will be asked to submit electronically the following material:

- Cover letter (circa one page) describing your research and teaching interests to an interdisciplinary search committee
- Curriculum vitae
- Dissertation abstract (up to three pages). Linguistics applicants may submit a research statement (up to three pages) as part of, or in lieu of, a dissertation abstract.
- A sample of written work (article length, no longer than 40 pages)
- A separate description of teaching experience and interests (up to three pages) Note: Courses will be offered through standing Stanford departments; applicants should familiarize themselves with recent course offerings and department curricula.
- Three confidential letters of recommendation (or the applicant’s active graduate school dossier)

Faxed or emailed application materials cannot be considered.

Stanford Ph.D.s and employees are not eligible for consideration.

Only complete applications submitted through the online system will be considered. All applications will be acknowledged. Finalists may be interviewed. For more information, please visit the website below or contact us at the email below.

Application Deadline: 17-Nov-2014
US Web Address for Applications: http://mellonfellows.stanford.edu/apply/
Contact Information:
Robert Barrick
Email: mellonfellows@stanford.edu

Partee in Inaugural issue of Semantics-Syntax Interface

Angelika Kratzer writes:

The inaugural issue of Semantics-Syntax Interface has gone online. It includes an editorial by editor Negin Ilkhanipour and a new article by Barbara Partee: A Brief History of the Syntax-Semantics Interface in Western Formal Linguistics.

The next issue will be a special issue on "Past Tense". If you think you might be interested in contributing to this issue (The deadline is mid September).


On June 20 and 21, there was an Emmonfest at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt. In addition to talks by several of Emmon’s students and friends, congratulations, well-wishes and tributes were delivered. A schedule, and pictures!, can be found here.

Roeper in Leipzig

Tom Roeper gave the talk “Unlabelled Nodes in Acquisition and Morphology,” to the linguistics department at the University of Leipzig on July 4. He was also a participant on the symposium on the Acquisition of Adversitives at the International Association for the Study of Child Language in Amsterdam July 14-18.

Helen Majewski defends

Congratulations to Helen Majewski who defended her dissertation, “Interpreting Reciprocals: A Processing Approach,” last Wednesday, August 20.

Recursion: Complexity in Cognition

WHISC is pleased to announce the publication by Springer of “Recursion: Complexity in Cognition,” edited by Tom Roeper and Peggy Speas. It collects some of the papers delivered to the recursion conference hosted by UMass in 2009, including papers by UMass alumni Eva Juarros and Bart Hollebrandse, as well as Tom Roeper and Jill deVilliers.

Brian Smith defended

On August 4, Brian Smith successfully defended his dissertation, “Phonologically conditioned allomoprhy and UR constraints.” Brian will be taking a one-year position at UCLA’s linguistics department. Congratulations, Brian!

Team Kratzer inaugural winner of the Beaver Cup

At the Sixth North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information, which was held at the University of Maryland June 21-27, our own Angelika Kratzer captained the pictured team to win the Semantic Valueball tournament. (WHISC is told that Valueball approaches volleyball in the limit, originally defined by Carnap (1947) as the extension of Unsinnball.) Team Kratzer beat out Team Veltman, Team Hacquard and Team Williams to win the Beaver Cup, donated by David Beaver and designed by Alexander Williams.  (That is beaver fur (from Castor canadensis, not David) clothing the trophy.)

BeaverCupCeremony HoistedHigh NASSLLI

UMass at Linguistics Summer School in the Indian Mountains 8

From May 25 to June 6, Rajesh Bhatt, Sakshi Bhatia, Michael Clauss, Jyoti Iyer and Stefan Keine attended the Linguistics Summer School in the Indian Mountains (LISSIM) in Solang, Himachal Pradesh, India. WHISC was fortunate enough to have embedded a reporter in the school, and what follows is a dispatch from our reporter, along with her (or his) photographs.

The 8th edition of LISSIM was organized in Solang, where we woke up to the sight of snow covered peaks and rested to the sound of the gurgling river flowing nearby. In some ways it was very much like the Pioneer valley, but at a higher elevation (2560m, 8400ft.) and with snow in midsummer.

The two week long school had courses by four visiting faculty: former UMass syntax guru Klaus Abels (UCL), who taught a course on sluicing; Rajesh Bhatt, who taught a course on agreement (along with Stefan Keine); Veneeta Dayal (Rutgers), who taught a course on the semantics of questions, and Joachim Sabels (the UCL in Belgium) who taught a course on the typology of wh-questions.

A usual day at the school had us in classes from 9 am to 5 pm (with enticing food served during the breaks). As the end goal of each of these courses was to equip the students with the best possible tools to be able to take a stab at the nature of these phenomena in the various languages spoken by them, the students and faculty would reconvene later in the evening to this effect. With all participants living at the venue itself, this meant that work went on till late in the night and early in the morning, with both faculty and students found to be deep in discussion at all hours. The presence of faculty on-site throughout the school also gave the students multiple opportunities to discuss their ongoing research with them. The location with its breathtaking views was inspiring; the isolated location meant that there were few distractions other than the natural beauty to take us away from our work.

The workshops, for which the students worked in language groups and where the students presented their findings and first analyses of the facts in their languages, enabled all present to have a comparative view of the topics taught in the courses. The languages represented include: Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Magahi, Angika, Bangla, Meiteilon, Telugu, Kannada, Nepali, Indian Sign Language, Polish, Russian, and German.

From our large UMass contingent, Jyoti Iyer and Sakshi Bhatia represented the Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi groups for the workshop presentations on Ellipsis and Rhetorical questions in Hindi-Urdu, and Addressee Agreement in Punjabi; and Mike Klaus had the unique honour of representing three language groups at different points in the school! (Follow up with him for further details).  Stefan Keine and Rajesh Bhatt made a presentation on the crosslinguistic distribution of the scope-marking construction. 

All in all it was a demanding and intensive school which introduced participants to various exciting issues in Syntax and Semantics and laid the basic groundwork for them to carry on further research.  The participants are very grateful to Tanmoy Bhattacharya (Delhi University) and Ayesha Kidwai (JNU) for making this happen.

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