15 February 2015

Gillian Gallagher gives department colloq

Gillian Gallagher (NYU) will give the department colloquium this Friday, February 20, in the colloq room (N400) at 3:30. A title and abstract of her talk follows.

Natural classes in phonotactic learning

The core representational unit in phonology is the feature, used to  define contrasts between sound categories (/i/ and /e/ are  distinguished by [±high]) and to pick out classes of sounds that  pattern together in the phonology ([+high] vowels may be restricted  from final position in some languages). Traditionally, phonological  features are thought to bear a direct relation to phonetic properties  (Jakobson, Fant & Halle 1952; Chomsky & Halle 1968). Under more recent  proposals, though, features are labels for phonologically active  classes that may bear a loose or no relation to the phonetics of the  sounds in question (Mielke 2008). In this talk, I present evidence  that phonetics plays a direct role in the natural classes used in the  phonological grammar.

The cooccurrence phonotactics of Quechua provide evidence for natural  classes grouping aspirated stops with the glottal fricative [h], and  grouping ejective stops with the glottal stop [?]. In addition to  being phonologically active, both of these classes are phonetically  definable based on articulatory properties of the glottis: [spread  glottis] picks out aspirates and [h], [constricted glottis] picks out  ejectives and [?]. Despite the phonological and phonetic support, two  nonce word tasks fail to find evidence for these natural classes in  speakers' grammars. Instead, aspirate and ejective stops seem to be  targeted by the phonotactics to the exclusion of their glottal  counterparts. It is proposed that the preference for these smaller  classes of laryngeally marked stops is phonetically based, deriving  from the salience of the acoustic properties unique to stops.

Gillian Gallagher at Sound Workshop

Gillian Gallagher will be present at the Sound Workshop this Friday, February 20. The Workshop will focus on her two papers "An identity bias in phonotactics: Evidence from Cochabamba Quechua,” and "Asymmetries in the representation of categorical phonotactics."

Have a Spectrogram for Lunch

Deniz Ozylidz writes:

A bunch of us are organizing a roughly weekly spectrogram reading lunch. If you're interested, please join us this Wednesday, the 18th at 1:35PM. 

I will try to book the conference room as the projector and the whiteboard are in an ideal configuration. But this is subject to change.

We will go over organizational details, set up a schedule and Leland and/or I will bring recordings to work on. Feel free to come with something yourselves!

Michael Clauss in LARC on Wednesday

Jeremy Hartman writes:

Mike Clauss will present and lead a discussion in LARC this Wednesday, at 12:15 in N400 (note new time for this semester).  Mike will talk to us about:

"A Family of Relatives: Exploring the acquisition of Relatives, Free Relatives, and Clefts."

Please join us!

SSRG reads Natural Language Semantics

Leland Kusmer writes:

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, February 25th. At that meeting, we'll be doing a journal overview for Natural Language Semantics.

Just to remind you of the format: Each of us will claim one issue of NLS from the past three years. At the meeting, each of us will give very brief (handout-free) summaries of the material therein. The idea is for each summary to be maybe 3 minutes long. The idea is to get a high-level overview of what's been happening in the field rather than to get into any of the details of the individual papers.

I've set up a spreadsheet for you to claim an issue. Please only claim an issue if you're reasonably sure you'll be able to attend. Also, if you're planning on attending, please claim an issue!


Brian Dillon at Syntax Workshop

Brian Dillon will present his work at the Syntax Workshop, this Thursday, February 19, from 10-11 in N451.

Call for papers: How to Make Things Happen

Vincent Homer and Rajesh Bhatt are organizing a workshop in connection with the Eleventh International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation. Their workshop is called:

How to make things happen in the grammar: The implementation of obligatoriness

The workshop will be on September 22 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia. I full description of the workshop can be found here. Submissions for 45 minute talks are being accepted until May 15. Here is the call:

We invite abstract submissions for 45 (35+10) minute oral presentations devoted to the implementation of obligatoriness in grammar. See call information for details concerning the workshop theme. Abstracts should contain original research that, at the time of submission, has neither been published nor accepted for publication. One person can submit at most one abstract as sole author and one abstract as co-author. Abstracts must be submitted electronically in PDF format. Submissions should be anonymous and not reveal the identity of the author(s) in any form (e.g., references, file name or properties of the abstract). Abstracts must not exceed two pages in letter-size or A4 paper, including examples and references, with 2.5 cm (or 1 inch) margins on all sides and 12 point font size. Abstracts should be submitted by email to the following address: obligatoriness2015gmail.com. 

Important Dates: 

Submission deadline: May 15, 2015, 11:59 PM, CET 

Notification of acceptance: Late June 

Registration deadline: September 1, 2015 

Workshop: September 22, 2015

Sigrid Beck speaks on February 23

Sigrid Beck (Tübingen University) will give a talk at 2:45 on Monday, February 23. Her talk is entitled “Readings of ‘noch’ (‘still’).” The room of her talk will be posted in next week’s WHISC.

New Directions in Negation and Polarity

UMass was well-represented at a workshop on negation and polarity held at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem February 8-10. UMass alumna Aynat Rubinstein presented a paper with Edit Doron on “Expletive negation in constituent unconditionals.” Masaaki Kamiya presented a paper jointly authored by Tom Roeper entitled “Neg-feature separation in DP/Nominalization.” And Vincent Homer also presented a talk, entitled "Remarks on Languages with No Negation."

Call for papers: Workshop on Quantification

Katalin Kiss, Lilla Pintér and Tamás Zétényi write:

We are pleased to announce a workshop on Linguistic and Cognitive Aspects of Quantification, to be held at the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest on October 16–17, 2015.
Website: http://www.nytud.hu/lcq2015/ 

Invited Speakers:
Yosef Grodzinsky (University of Jerusalem): Quantifier Polarity, Numerosity, and Verification Procedures: Experimental Explorations

Irina Sekerina (City University New York): What Eye Movements Reveal About Quantifier-Spreading
We expects abstracts for 30-minute talks (+ 10 minute discussions) and poster presentations. Abstracts should be anonymous and no longer than two pages, including references and examples, in 12-point Times New Roman, with margins of at least 2,5 cm / 1 inch.Abstracts are to be submitted in pdf-format via the EasyChair system.


If you have any questions about the workshop, please feel free to contact us at the following e-mail address: quantification.workshop@gmail.com


WHISC has intercepted this message from the department’s Candy Monster.

In the months since September, when I assumed the responsibilities of Candy Monster, this department has consumed $192.88 in candy. In that same time, the ceramic piggy has consumed only $179.84 in change. My predecessor was able to leave us with some small reserve, but as of this morning the department candy fund is now officially empty.

This most recent resupply has left us with enough candy to last us perhaps three weeks. Please help me to replenish our fund before then.

Call for papers: Northwest Linguistics Conference

For nearly thirty years the Northwest Linguistics Conference (NWLC) has been held, on an alternating basis, by linguistics graduate students at four major universities in British Columbia and Washington State: the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria.
The upcoming 31st NWLC will take place at the University of Victoria on the 25th and 26th of April, 2015, with the aim of fostering the ongoing exchange of ideas between students involved in all areas of linguistics. Abstracts are now being accepted for both oral and poster presentations. Oral presentations will be 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions, and the poster presentation will be 1 hour. Presenters of both types will have the opportunity to submit a short (maximum 10-page) proceedings paper of their research (submissions to be received before June 1st, 2015) which will be published in Vol. 25 of the Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle of the University of Victoria: http://web.uvic.ca/~wplc/
Abstracts should be submitted online at http://linguistlist.org/easyabs/NWLC2015 by Feb. 2, 2015 (now extended to Feb.16th, 2015)*. Abstracts should be maximum 300 words in length excluding illustrations and references, and include at least 3 keywords. Your name or affiliation should not appear in the body of your abstract; instead, please include these in the body of your email along with your paper title, and whether you have a preference for either an oral or poster presentation, or both.

Kai von Fintel in the news

There is a lengthy profile of UMass alumnus Kai von Fintel on the website for MIT's School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, for which Kai is Associate Dean. You can find the article here.

Bhatt on the road

WHISC has learned that Rajesh Bhatt was busy presenting papers over the Winter break. He presented joint work with Veneeta Dayal in a paper presented at Leipzig University on December 17 and at Michigan State University on January 15. Those talks were entitled “Polar Questions and Disjunction: clues from Hindi-Urdu ‘kyaa’.

While at Leipzig he also gave on talk on Tree Adjoining Grammars at Kompaktkurs at IGRA.