19 October 2014

PRG on Monday

Coral and Ivy write:

The next meeting of PRG will be on Monday, October 20 at 7:30 pm. Ivy will be hosting us, and Coral will be talking about her possible GP ideas. As always, there will be food!

Please let us know if you are interested in hosting or presenting in the future.

Dave Kush in Psycholinguistics Proseminar

On Monday 10/20, Dave Kush (Haskins Laboratories) will be visiting the psycholinguistics Proseminar (LINGUIST712), where he will talk about some of his recent work on the processing of bound-variable anaphora. He will give his talk at 2:30pm, in ILC458. The talk is entitled "Relational Constraints and Antecedent Retrieval: Evidence from Bound-Variable Pronouns.” Abstract follows.

All are welcome!

Interpreting a pronoun during incremental sentence processing typically requires identifying and accessing potential antecedents from memory. According to the grammar, there are two kinds of constraints that determine whether a previously-seen NP can serve as an antecedent for a pronoun: (i) morphological constraints, which enforce feature-match relations between the NP and the pronoun, and (ii) syntactic constraints, which determine the NP's eligibility based on its relative structural position to the pronoun. 

In this talk I first discuss reasons to think that cue-based models of antecedent retrieval should be able to implement morphological, but not relational, constraints. I then present results from 2-3 eye tracking experiments that indicate that antecedent retrieval displays unexpected sensitivity to the c-command/scope constraint on bound-variable anaphora. In light of these findings I explore methods for achieving this apparent relational sensitivity within the confines of a cue-based architecture. 

Phonology Grant meeting on Monday

Joe Pater writes:

The next phonology grant meeting will be Monday October 20th at 9 am. We’ll continue talking about accounts of opacity in Harmonic Serialism and about targeted constraints in HS - the discussion will be led by Robert and me.

All are welcome!

Omer Preminger gives department colloquium

Omer Preminger (University of Maryland) will give the department colloquium at 3:30 on Friday, October 24, in the seminar hub (ILC N400). The title of his talk is “The syntax (and morphology) of non-valuation.” An abstract follows.

First, I review recent work showing that for several classes of features, what was traditionally thought of as one member in a set of possible feature values actually corresponds to the absence of valued features altogether. Examples include: “nominative”; “singular”; and “3rd person” (cf. Nevins 2007). While this has been argued before regarding, e.g., the morphology of pronouns (Harley & Ritter 2002), I will argue that this holds at the level of syntactic computation.

Next, I show that this move amounts to more than a mere relabeling of the feature space (e.g. designating one value in each feature set as the “non‑value”). Instead, this view makes available new analytical possibilities with respect to the way different syntactic operations interact, and revives types of interactions (in particular, bleeding) that are impossible in Chomsky’s (2000, 2001) generate-and-filter architecture (esp. when coupled with a phase-level, all-at-once application of operations, as in Chomsky 2008).

I will argue that this view of (non‑)valuation leads to empirical advancements in the domains of case assignment and agreement intervention, advances that are unavailable on the standard view that takes categories like “3rd person”, “singular”, and “nominative” to be the result of successful valuation.

Ibaños gives Hispanic Linguistics Talk on Friday

Luiz Amaral writes:

Prof. Ana Ibaños from the Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, and currently a visiting scholar in the Linguistics Department, will talk about current changes in Brazilian Portuguese at the Hispanic Linguistics Talk Series this Friday (10/24) at 1:30 (Room TBA).

Here is the abstract:

"Traditionally, Brazilian Portuguese (BP) has been considered a pro-drop language, which allows the absence of subject pronouns in the sentence. But studies have shown that it is losing some of the properties that typically characterize a pro-drop language (Duarte 1995; Xavier 2006; Kato 2000). Some even state that BP is evolving from a pro-drop to a non-pro-drop language (Duarte 1995). This talk is about some changes in the pronominal system in Brazilian Portuguese that would prevent the Null Subject Parameter hence changing its status."

Emmanuel Chemla's second lecture on Wednesday

Emmanuel Chemla from the Institut Jean Nicod and the Laboratory of Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris will deliver the second of three lectures on October 22 from 4:00 to 5:30 in N400. His talk is entitled "Concepts in a lexicon: Learning homophony. Innateness and Bayesianism.” it presents joint work with Isabelle Dautriche. The lecture is in conjunction with Alejandro Pérez-Carballo’s and Vincent Homer’s seminars.

Nascimento and Amaral at LARC on Friday

Luiz Amaral writes:

This Friday (10/24) at LARC, Marcia Nascimento and Luiz Amaral are presenting experimental ideas for testing the acquisition of evidentials in Kaingang - a Jê language spoken in southern Brazil. The meeting will start at 10:30 with Tom Roeper and Jill de Villiers talking about previous experiments with evidentials, and at 11:30 we will hear the ideas for Kaingang. As always, all are welcome to attend.

Cognitive Science Workshop in November

Lisa Sanders and Joe Pater write:

Our Cognitive Science workshop will be held on Thursday, November 13th 2-5:30 in Integrative Learning Center (ILC) N400 and surrounds. Please join us for as much of this workshop as you can and feel free to invite others who are interested in Cognitive Science but are not already listed on our blog site. We're really excited to have a great group of speakers who generously agreed to present (without too much begging). We're also looking forward to many great poster presentations.


2:00 - Introductory remarks about the role of Institutes at UMass (speaker: TBA)

2:10 - Lisa Sanders will give an overview of our current plans as an Institute of Cognitive Science while we enjoy great food and beverages!

2:30 - Andrew Barto, Computer Science

2:50 - Louise Antony, Philosophy

3:10 Caren Rotello, Cognitive Psychology

3:30 Poster session, more enjoying of great food and beverages

4:30 Rajesh Bhatt, Linguistics

4:50 Erik Cheries, Developmental Psychology

5:10 David Huber, Cognitive Psychology

This is a great opportunity for you to share your research with the local CogSci community who may not know what you've been up to - present a poster! If you have a poster from a recent or upcoming conference, please give it a second venue by presenting at our workshop. If you have work that is ready to turn into a poster, but don't otherwise have plans to present, we can print a poster for you - contact Lisa Sanders for details.

So that we can know how many people and posters to expect, please take a few seconds to click this link and then make one choice to indicate that you are coming. It will take a couple more minutes if you want to present a poster. Please let us know if you plan on coming soon, so that if the number of participants exceeds the space available in ILC N400, we can find another venue.

CogSci Elevator Pitch Mixer

On behalf of the students involved in the Cognitive Science Institute, Deniz Ozyildiz writes:

We are having a Cognitive Science Elevator Pitch Mixer this Thursday, October 23 at 7PM at Packard's in Northampton. 

This is an opportunity for everybody to give a brief and informal presentation of their research, to hear about what other people are up to and to meet grad students from other departments. It will be accompanied and followed by food and drinks. 

If you're interested, but feel that your research might be too domain specific (for instance, case assignment in Hungarian), this event is still for you!

Also, don't forget to sign up for the Cognitive Science workshop, to be held on Thursday, November 13 at 2PM, here.

EAPSI Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship Program provides U.S. graduate students in science and engineering with an opportunity to spend 8 weeks (10 weeks for Japan) during the summer conducting research at one of the seven host locations in East Asia and Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan. The program is a collaboration between NSF and counterpart agencies in each host location.

EAPSI is open to graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are enrolled in a research-oriented Masters or Ph.D. program in science or engineering. Applicants must propose a research project in a field of science, engineering or STEM education supported by NSF, including Engineering; Computer and Information Science and Engineering; Mathematical and Physical Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials Science); Biological Sciences; Geosciences; Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; Education (STEM); and Multidisciplinary Research in these fields. Applicants identify and contact host researchers on their own, prior to submitting their EAPSI proposal; lists of prospective host institutions are available at the end of each Handbook. 

NSF provides EAPSI Fellows with a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip airplane ticket to the host location. Our foreign counterparts provide in-country living expenses and accommodations (arrangements vary by host location). Please see www.nsf.gov/eapsi for additional information for the Program Solicitation (NSF 13-593); host location-specific Handbooks; How to Apply Guide; and Helpful Tips Applicants.

In 2015, approximately 215 EAPSI Fellows travel to seven locations in the East Asia and Pacific:

Australia – 30

China – 40

Japan – 65

Korea – 25

New Zealand – 15

Singapore – 15

Taiwan - 25

The application submission deadline for the Summer 2015 is November 13, 2014.  

Area Workshops

Here’s a rundown of this week’s activities in the area workshops.

Semantics Workshop: Wednesday, 12:20-1:10, ILC N451

This meeting will be the first of two sessions concentrating on abstract writing. Seth will review a short (non-exhaustive) list of some general ‘pointers’ on abstract writing, which participants are invited to expand on or respond to. Following this, some faculty (definitely Seth) will share abstracts of theirs which were accepted and rejected, allowing participants to see the range of issues that can sometimes make a difference.

Finally, if there’s time remaining, we’ll begin to together constructively workshop students’ abstracts. Students are asked to bring recent abstracts of theirs, particularly abstracts that they will be submitting in the near future, so that we can together suggest improvements. This ‘workshop’ portion of the workshop will continue into the next session, if need be.

Psycholing Workshop: Thursday, 3:00-4:00, ILC N400

Amanda will talk about linking hypotheses between experimental data and theory, starting with a look at assumptions underlying eyetracking as a methodology, rounding out with a discussion of ERP in p-side research.

Syntax Workshop: Thursday, 4:00-5:00, ILC N451

Ethan Poole will be leading a discussion in preparation for Preminger's colloquium talk on Friday.

Phonology Workshop: Tuesday, 1:00-2:15, ILC N451.

This week Alex Nazarov will present his talk "Vowel reduction in Dutch” (in preparation for NELS) and Sang-Im Lee-Kim will present a talk on "Vowel transitions."