21 September 2014


The department’s open house is this Saturday, September 27. The events start at 1 PM with a light lunch and opening remarks after which there is a tour of the Integrative Learning Center at 1:30. At 2-ish there is a poster session and slide show, followed by drinks and canapés. Events wrap up at 4:30.

The doors at the North Pleasant Street entrance to the Integrative Learning Center will be open at noon, and visitors are encouraged to find parking in north campus, as the Homecoming football game will tie up south campus. Lots 62 and 63 are close to the Integrative Learning Center, and can be found on the maps here.

Everyone is welcome: come see our new quarters and meet the faculty and students of the new linguistics department.

Psych Reading Group on Tuesday

Brian Dillon writes:

We'll be meeting at Amanda and Shayne's house on Tuesday 9/23, at 7pm, for our psych reading group meeting. Our goal is to have some discussions to prepare ourselves for Liina Pylkkänen's talk. In particular, we'll be discussing the book chapter, which Liina has sent us as suggested reading for any prep work we might do.

David Caplan at brown bag on Wednesday

David Caplan (Harvard Medical School) will be giving the cognitive brown bag on Wednesday, September 24, at noon in Tobin 521B. The title and abstract follow.

Disorders of Syntactic Comprehension

This talk will review eleven models that have been proposed regarding the deficit(s) that produce syntactic comprehension disorders in people with aphasia due to stroke. These models will be evaluated in relation to existing data in the literature and unpublished data from 61 people with aphasia who were tested for the ability to understand 11 sentence types using self-paced listening and sentence picture matching.

SSRG meets on Wednesday

Leland Kusmer writes:

SSRG will be meeting on Wednesday (September 24th) this week. We'll have discussion of Gajewski on analyticity (see also this handout), brainstorming of possible future topics, and general merriment. While discussion will be best if a number of people have looked at the paper linked above, feel free to come regardless. As always, food will be provided. We'll be meeting at the home of Jon Ander and Megan, in Northampton. 

Liina Pylkkanen speaks at Department Colloq

Liina Pylkkanen (NYU) will present the first department colloquium this Friday, September 29, at 3:30 in the seminar hub (ILC N400). Here’s the title and abstract:

Semantic Composition: A Brain’s Eye View

Though decades of research within formal semantics and in the psychology of concepts have characterized the nature of the complex semantic representations of natural language, this body of work has only recently begun to inform the brain science of semantic representation. In this talk I will bring together perspectives from theoretical linguistics, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology to discuss what is currently known about the brain basis of meaning composition. While differences in cognitive neuroscience techniques and experimental paradigms often result in more differences than similarities, a remarkable convergence arises from hemodynamic methods, magnetoencephalography (MEG) and neuropsychological data implicating the left anterior temporal lobe (LATL) as a core region for the construction of complex meaning. My focus will be on MEG data, on the basis of which we have characterized the timing of LATL activity in comprehension as relatively early, peaking at 200-250ms after the onset of a composing word. Progress in our understanding of the computational contribution of this activity is only beginning to gain momentum, but I will summarize an initial body of results suggesting that, crucially, the LATL supports automatic, task-insensitive composition in both comprehension and production and that its contribution is clearly semantic, as opposed to syntactic in nature.

Bob Rothstein awarded Poland's Order of Merit

WHISC is pleased to report that Robert Rothstein was presented the Republic of Poland’s highest award given to people living outside of Poland -- The Order of Merit (pictured below) — at a ceremony last Monday, September 15, at the Chancellor’s residence. In addition to being an adjunct professor in Linguistics, Professor Rothstein directs the Slavic and East European Studies program and writes a column for the biweekly Boston newspaper Bialy Orzel. You can learn more here.


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LaCara at CGSW

The 29th Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop is taking place at the University of York on September 26-27. UMass is represented by Nicholas LaCara, who will be presenting his paper “Why there is no Verb Stranding in Scandinavian.” York University is also hosting a workshop entitled “The State of the Art in Comparative Syntax,” immediately before CGSW. For information about both meetings, go here.

Semantics/Pragmatics job at UC, Berkeley

The Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has been authorized to make an appointment in semantics and pragmatics. This position will be at the rank of assistant professor (tenure-track) or associate professor (tenured). Salary will be commensurate with experience. Duties will include undergraduate and graduate advising and teaching (up to four courses per year, in semantics and other areas of linguistics), supervision of student research, and development of a successful and original research program. The PhD (or equivalent) is required by the start date of the appointment; all degree requirements other than the dissertation must be complete at the time of application.

Applicants must have a broad intellectual engagement in linguistics and a theoretically informed research specialization in semantics and pragmatics. Applicants must be able to teach formal model-theoretic semantics at all levels, including seminars and research mentoring, and should have research interests or skills that intersect with an allied field such as cognitive science, corpus or experimental linguistics, historical linguistics, language documentation, morphology, syntax, or typology.

Applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research and teaching statements, and copies of representative written work (up to 5 items may be submitted). Applications must contain evidence of teaching excellence or potential (either through separate documentation or through information in the cover letter, c.v., or recommendation letters). Applicants must arrange for 2-5 (preferably at least 3) letters of recommendation to be submitted through the online application system. All recommendation letters will be treated as confidential according to University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including those who provide letters via a third party, to the UC Berkeley Confidentiality Policy (http://apo.berkeley.edu/evalltr.html).

Please submit all materials electronically at https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00505. We encourage applicants to submit materials by November 14, 2014, when review of applications will begin; no application materials will be accepted after December 1, 2014. Select candidates will be interviewed at the LSA Annual Meeting in Portland, January 8-11, 2015; thereafter a few candidates will be invited for campus visits. Questions can be sent to Paula Floro (floro@berkeley.edu).

We are interested in candidates whose research, teaching, or service prepares them to contribute to UC Berkeley’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in higher education. We welcome applications from those who have had non-traditional career paths, have achieved excellence in careers outside academia, or have taken time off for family reasons. For information about relocation to Berkeley or the career needs of partners, please visit calcierge.berkeley.edu (or e-mail calcierge@berkeley.edu).

Call for papers: BLS

The 41st Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (BLS41) will take place Saturday and Sunday, February 7-8, 2014, on the UC Berkeley campus. BLS41 welcomes submissions of abstracts that make rigorous use of linguistic data from a variety of sources and in a variety of subdisciplines, both descriptive and theoretical.

General Session

The general session welcomes papers from phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, historical-comparative linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and psycholinguistics.

Jessica Coon, Assistant Professor, McGill University

William Croft, Professor of Linguistics, University of New Mexico

Jeff Mielke, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

Christopher Potts, Associate Professor, Standford University

Special Session: Fieldwork Methodology

The special session will examine issues in fieldwork methodology. We welcome papers focusing on innovative fieldwork methods, as well as descriptions and/or theoretical work resulting from innovative fieldwork methods.

Shobhana Chelliah, Professor of Linguistics, University of North Texas

Kofi Yakpo, Assistant Professor, The University of Hong Kong

Abstract SubmissionGuidelines

Authors may maximally submit one single-authored and one co-authored abstract. Abstracts, including title, data, and examples, must fit onto one page with 1” margins and 12pt font. References may be included on a second page. Omit names or phrasing that would otherwise reveal author identity. Surname-year citations of one’s own work are acceptable.All abstracts must be submitted electronically as a .pdf file to EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=bls41.There you can either set up a new account or log in as an author. Click the New Submission linkin the toolbar at the top and follow the instructions on the page. Please upload your abstract in pdf 1format, observing length requirements stated above. In the keywords field, please indicate at least one topic corresponding to the linguistic subfield(s) of greatest relevance to your abstract. All submissions will be anonymized for review.All abstracts are due by Friday, October 31, 2014 at 11:59pm. Email correspondence concerning abstract submissions to bls submissions@berkeley.edu. Address general correspondences to bls@berkeley.edu.

Yangsook's GLOW talk now online

Yangsook Park gave a talk last April at GLOW 37 on Korean “caki” which those who where unable to view, now can. It’s here: http://www.glow37.org/videos/park/

Yu in Phonology

“The word-level prosody in Samoan,” has just appeared in Phonology. Get a peek here. One of its authors is our own Kristine Yu.

UMass at Phonology 2014

MIT is hosting this weekend the annual Phonology meeting. UMass is well represented:

Michael Becker (UMass Alumnus, now at Stony Brook University) is presenting a tutorial on Experigen.

Robert Staubs is presenting the talk “Learning bias in stress windows: frequency and attestation" 

Claire Moore-Cantwell and Lisa Sanders are presenting the talk “Two types of implicit knowledge of probabilistic phonotactics"

Alumna Gillian Gallagher, now at NYU, is presenting a plenary talk: “Asymmetries in the representation of categorical phonotactics"

Aleksei Nazarov is presenting the talk “Reduction Domains in Dutch: recursive feet in action."

Alumna Maria Gouskova, now at NYU, is presenting the talk “Generalization as sub lexical phonotactics: A nonce study of Russian allomorphy,” with Sofya Kasyanenko.

Alumnus Shigeto Kawahara, now at Keio University, is presenting the poster “Modeling Incomplete Neutralization: Paradigm Uniformity and a Phonetics with Weighted Constraints,” with Aaron Braver. He presents a second poster with Aaron Braver and Natalie Dresher entitled “Why are lexical length contrasts binary? Evidence from emphasis-driven vowel lengthening in English."

Ivy Hauser, Megan Somerday and Coral Hoghto are presenting the poster “Faith-UO: Analyzing Opacity in Harmonic Serialism."

Alumnus Jonah Katz, now at West Virginia University, is presenting the poster “Continuity lenition."

Megan Somerday is also presenting a solo poster: “(Some) partial reduplication is full reduplication."

Position at University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is seeking an Assistant Professor of Language/Applied Linguistics with expertise in sociolinguistics who can teach courses in discourse analysis, pragmatics, American English, and other areas within English language studies.  We are a “Doctoral/Research Extensive” institution, with a departmental endowment that supports research. The department offers the BA, MA, MFA, and PhD. Professors teach a 2/2 load, distributed across undergraduate and graduate courses. The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University.  Applicants should submit a letter of application and a CV by October 1, 2014, via http://apply.interfolio.com/25740 . Candidates selected for the next stage of review will be contacted to send additional materials.