13 September 2015

Memorial for Emmon Bach, and department picnic, this Saturday

The department picnic occurs this Saturday, September 19, and will be preceded by a memorial tribute to Emmon Bach, long-time pillar of the department and a beloved colleague, teacher, and friend to many of us. You may have received a separate invitation from John Kingston to that -- let me know if you didn't so that we can make sure you will get future notices in case of any changes (e.g. if it rains); in any case, everyone is welcome to both parts of the combined event. The Emmon remembrance will include music, reminiscences, tributes, to which everyone is welcome to contribute, planned in advance or spontaneously. If you're interested in contributing some live music, contact Kristine Yu (krisyu@linguist.umass.edu).

The Emmon event will start at 2, and the picnic proper will start at 3:30. In case of rain, the Emmon event will probably be moved to the department, but the picnic will be at 50 Hobart Lane rain or shine.
If you're coming from out of town, you don't have to contribute to the potluck part -- just let me know and we'll make sure there's plenty! 

And please let me know of people who should be added to the mailing list; and at the same time you can invite them to come (and urge relevant people to get themselves onto the ling-colloq mailing list.)

For more information about the picnic — directions, etc, — go here.

SSRG meets tomorrow, Monday September 14

The first meeting of the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group meets at 7:30pm, Monday the 14th, at Leland Kusmer’s apartment in Northampton. Food will be provided by the GLSA.

Sound Workshop on Mondays

John Kingston writes:

Sound Workshop will meet Mondays 11:15-12:05 in N451, starting this Monday, September 14.

Chuck Clifton speaks on Wednesday

Chuck Clifton (Psychology) will give the first cognitive brown bag talk this semester on Wednesday, September 16, at noon in Tobin 521B. The title and abstract follow.

How readers and listeners use their knowledge of grammar - and how they go beyond it

The realization that our ability to produce and comprehend language requires use of detailed and elaborate knowledge of syntax fueled the cognitive revolution of the 1960s. Over the following 20 years, we learned a great deal about how readers and listeners used this knowledge in real time to interpret sentences. The success of these analyses of how language comprehension was driven by grammatical knowledge led to competing analyses, emphasizing how various sources of extra-grammatical knowledge contribute to language comprehension. In the years since the peak of the debate between these contrasting positions, more nuanced approaches have developed. These approaches extend the analysis of grammar's contributions to incorporate effects of prosody, semantics, and pragmatics, and recognize that different types of grammatical relations might be processed differently. Other recent approaches have gone beyond grammar to consider the role language statistics might play in comprehension. Currently, my colleagues and I are exploring how language users employ their knowledge of what speakers and writers are likely to intend, and what kinds of errors they are likely to make in producing language, to arrive at interpretations of sentences that violate the grammatical requirements of the language.

In the first part of this talk, I will summarize the changing views of how we comprehend what we read and hear, providing illustrations of theoretical claims and examples of experimental evidence. In the second part of the talk, I will describe some of the work my colleagues and I are currently doing on what we call "acceptable ungrammaticality," in which readers' and listeners' interpretations of language are guided by what they know of how writers and speakers can misuse the grammar of their language.

LARC this Friday

Jeremy Hartman writes:

LARC will meet this Friday 9/18 at 12PM in N451.  All are welcome!  Rita Mathur, visiting us from Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune, India, will present:

"Study of Parameter Setting: evidence from a few case studies of Hindi and English speaking bilingual children aged 2-7 year old"

Lisa Green: LSA Fellow

WHISC is pleased to announce that Lisa Green has been named to the class of 2016 Linguistic Society of America’s Fellows. She joins nine other of “the field’s leading linguists,” including UMass alumnus Kai von Fintel. You can learn more here.

Alice Harris on the road

Alice Harris was in New York at a leadership workshop for the American Council of Learned Societies on Friday, September 11, and from there, has gone to Austin Texas where she is an invited speaker at a Workshop entitled "Historical Linguistics and Typology: Assessing a Partnership.” She is giving her paper, "Affix Order, Multiple Exponence and Morphological Reconstructions,” today. You can learn more here.

Department colloqs schedule announced

Katerina Vostrikova and Stefan Keine write:

GLSA is excited to announce the colloqs schedule for this semester:

Ashwini Deo September 25

Howard Lasnik November, 13

Laura McPherson November, 20

Jon Sprouse December, 4

Masashi Hashimoto goes to Hiroshima

Congratulations to UMass alumnus Masashi Hashimoto, who has accepted a postdoc at Hiroshima University.

Tom Ernst in Language

Congratulations to Tom Ernst, whose paper “Modification of Stative Predicates” has been accepted for publication in Language.

Phonology Reading Group

Ivy Hauser and Coral Hughto write:

Phonology reading group plans to meet this semester every other week.  PRG has been used as an informal place to present sound related work, do paper discussions, recap conferences, etc.  What we do this semester is up to us and we can discuss what would be useful at the first meeting.  Dinner always provided by the GLSA. 

We've tentatively scheduled meetings for 7:30p Wednesdays (exactly which weeks we meet will be determined later). If you want to be involved in PRG and this time cannot work for you please get in touch with us.

Seth Cabe at Triple A

Seth Cable gave the talk, “Graded Tenses in Complement Clauses: Evidence that Future is not a Tense” at the conference “The Semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian Languages” which was hosted by the University of Tübingen June 3-6. You can learn more here.

Call for papers: Prosody and Information Structure

*Prosody and Information Structure in Stuttgart (PINS)*
March 22-23, 2016


Starting out from the (not uncontroversial) assumption thatinformation-structural categories are universal and definable inabstract interpretive terms, this workshop aims at bringing togetherresearchers interested in the prosodic manifestation ofinformation-structural categories within and across languages, includingboth cross-linguistic comparisons as well as language contact situationsof various kinds (L2, FL, Heritage languages).
The workshop welcomes both semantic-pragmatically oriented as well asprosodically oriented contributions. We particularly invite experimentaland corpus-based studies.

*Important dates*

Deadline for Submission: October 11, 2015

Notification of Acceptance: November 16, 2015

Workshop: March 22-23, 2016

*Invited Speakers*

- Sasha Calhoun (Victoria University of Wellington)

- Elisabeth Delais-Roussarie (LLF CNRS, Université Paris Diderot)

- Caroline Féry (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

- Michael Wagner (McGill University Montréal) (to be confirmed)

*Call for papers*

We invite the submission of abstracts for oral or poster presentations.Abstracts should be anonymous, in English, and should not exceed onepage (2.5 cm margins, 12pt font size), with an extra page for examples,figures and references. Please submit your abstract as a pdf documentusing EasyChair.



*Topics of interest*

Topics include, but are not limited to:

- Recent advances in the theory of information structure

- Which are the information-structural categories that are expressed prosodically in a language (including both L1 and L2 varieties)?

- Is the prosodic marking of information structure interpreted categorically by listeners (in both L1 and L2 varieties)?

- How does rhythm interact with the prosody of information structure?

-Are there prosodic effects which have no pragmatic interpretation? (Forexample: are prenuclear accents optional? Are there cases of deaccentuation which occur for purely phonological, non-meaning-related,reasons?)

- How do the results of production and perception studies on the prosody of information structure find their way into prosodic annotation systems for a language? How important is it that a pitch accent categorization reflects meaning differences?

- How can the results obtained from controlled studies be transferred to corpus data of spontaneous speech?

- What are semantic-pragmatic contexts suitable for the elicitation ofI S-prosody beyond question-answer pairs and/or explicit contrast structures?

- Which distinctions of referential information status (e.g. coreference anaphora, bridging anaphora, deixis, newness of discourse referents) and lexical information status (e.g. word repetition, synonymy, hypernymy, meronymy, discourse-newness of content expressions) are expressed by prosody (including both L1 and L2 varieties)?

- By means of which cues (pitch accents, phrasing) are these categories expressed?

- What kinds of speaker bias can be expressed in positive and negative polar questions, and how is this influenced by prosody?

- What is the role of implicit Questions under Discussion (QUDs) in the determination of information structure, and how can they be used in experimental and corpus linguistics?

- What is the interplay between discourse structure and information structure? What effects does discourse structure have on prosody?

- What is the relationship between at-issueness and prosody? How is not-at-issue material (e.g. appositions or evidentials) realized prosodically?