27 March 2016

Raffaella Zanuttini gives Freeman Lecture

Raffaella Zanuttini (Yale University) will give the Freeman Lecture this year on Friday, April 1 in room S211 of the Integrative Learning Center at 3:30. Her talk, “Discovering Grammatical Diversity in American English” is based on the research carried out by the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project which she founded. You can learn more about the Project here.

Dillon at MIT tomorrow

Brian Dillon will give a talk at MIT tomorrow, Monday March 28, at 1PM. The title of his talk is “Which noun phrases is this verb supposed to agree with... and when?” The abstract follows.

The study of agreement constraints has yielded much insight into the organization of grammatical knowledge, within and across languages. In a parallel fashion, the study of agreement production and comprehension have provided key data in the development of theories of language production and comprehension. In this talk I present work at the intersection of these two research traditions. I present the results of experimental research (joint work with Adrian Staub, Charles Clifton Jr, and Josh Levy) that suggests that the grammar of many American English speakers is variable: in certain syntactic configurations, more than one NP is permitted to control agreement (Kimball & Aissen, 1971). However, our work suggests that this variability is not random, and in particular, optional agreement processes are constrained by the nature of the parser. We propose that variable agreement choices arise in part as a function of how the parser stores syntactic material in working memory d uring the incremental production of syntactic structures.

Kingston at Yale

John Kingston is presenting joint work with Amanda Rysling, Alexandra Jesse and Robert Moura at the Yale Linguistics Colloquium tomorrow, Monday March 28. The title of his talk is “Order matters in parsing coarticulation."

Covadonga Sánchez speaks at LARC on Wednesday

Covadonga Sánchez from the Spanish linguistics unit of LLC will give the talk “The realization of subject focus in L2 Spanish: Results from a Pilot Study” in LARC this Wednesday, March 30, at 12:20 in ILC N451.

Terrell Morgan speaks in Hispanic Linguistics talk series

The Hispanic Linguistics Talk series features Terrell Morgan (Ohio State University) on Friday, April 1 at 3PM in Herter 601. The title of his talk is “Cultura fonológica: Expanding the notion of `phonological competence’ in second language acquisition.” 

Professor Morgan is also giving a workshop on Saturday April 2nd at the UMass Center at Springfield, which is designed for high school and middle school teachers of Spanish. His talk is from 10 to 1 in room 014 at the Springfield UMass Center. For a description, and to register for tickets, go here.

Summer Dissertation Writing Retreats

John McCarthy writes:

I am writing to draw your attention to the dissertation writing retreats that will be offered this summer under the joint sponsorship of the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development and the University Writing Center. These week-long workshops offer extensive structured time to write, receive feedback, and develop effective writing strategies.
Doctoral students who have already begun writing or who will be ready to begin writing by summer are welcome to apply. Two workshops are currently being planned:

June 6-10, 2016 from 9am-4pm
June 20-24, 2016 from 9am-4pm
This is the third summer in which we have offered these workshops, and the benefits – writing blocks overcome, chapters finished, dissertations defended – demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. These workshops offer more than just a quiet place to write; they also provide expert guidance in the process of writing and how to increase productivity.
Please apply by April 19, 2016. You can find additional information and links to the application form here: http://bit.ly/2016Flyer
There is, of course, no charge to participants, and the Graduate School provides childcare scholarships of up to $150 to participants who need them.

Tracking the Human Mind

Angelika Kratzer writes:

You are all cordially invited to a symposium featuring some of the fellows of the 2015/2016 SIAS (Some Institutes for Advanced Study) Summer Institute. The topic of the symposium is: 

Tracking the Human Mind in Attitude and Speech Reports

Saturday, April 16, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Integrative Learning Center N400. The symposium will be followed by a reception.

 A detailed program will follow. 

Being one of the most interdisciplinary working groups of the 2015/2016 SIAS Summer Institute, the group on Attitude Ascriptions & Speech Reports, designed two projects that promise to make a positive contribution to the longstanding communication problem between neuroscience and linguistic research. In her dissertation, the neuroscientist in the group, Jorie Koster-Hale, found that epistemic properties of other people’s beliefs are represented via response patterns of neural populations in canonical belief ascription regions in the brain (so-called ‘Theory of Mind’ regions). These properties relate to the kind of evidence that ground a belief: whether it was good evidence or not, or whether it was visual or auditory evidence. Those kinds of properties do not only play a major role in philosophical discussions of knowledge ascriptions, they are also grammaticalized in verbal inflectional paradigms in many lesser-known languages (so-called “evidentials”). In addition, they trigger a significant dichotomy in the class of attitude verbs across languages: verbs in the believe family (believe that, suspect that, conjecture that) can be used to report false beliefs, while verbs in the know family (know that, discover that, reveal that, hear that, see that) cannot - those ‘factive’ verbs can only describe attitudes that are properly connected to reality. The SIAS Attitude Ascription and Speech Report group recognized those fascinating connections and found a common language to construct  joint projects that will bring together their collective expertise in neuroscience, cognitive development, language acquisition, epistemology, theoretical linguistics and semantic typology under headings like ‘factivity/veridicality’ and ‘knowledge first’.  Projects of this kind could become models for collaboration between researchers in the sciences and the humanities.

More info about the 2015/2016 SIAS Summer Institute: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/sias/index.htm

Jason Overfelt goes to Minneapolis

WHISC is pleased to announce that Jason Overfelt has accepted a one year Assistant Professor position at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis. He will start there in Fall 2016.

The Fourteenth Annual New York St. Petersburg Institute

St. Petersburg State University is hosting the fourteenth annual New York St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture from July 11 to July 29 this summer. Stony Brook University is the coordinating institute. 

The Institute is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students from all backgrounds and countries interested in comparative and formal approaches to theoretical linguistics and cognition as well as cultural and media studies. Minimum Education Level: Current Undergraduate (Grads welcome as well) 


Participants create their own study program from seminars in the following fields: 

- Generative Linguistics (Syntax, Semantics, Phonology, Morphology) 

- Cognitive Science (Cognitive Psychology, Musical Cognition) 

- Cultural Studies (Critical Cultural Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, Islamic & Religious Studies, Film & Media Studies,…)

2016 Linguistics/Cognitive Studies Faculty: 

- John F. Bailyn (Stony Brook University) 

- Miloje Despić (Cornell University) 

- Sabine Iatridou (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 

- Roumyana Pancheva (University of Southern California) 

- Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland) 

- Irina Sekerina (CUNY Graduate Center) 

- Sergei Tatevosov (Moscow State University) 

- Marc van Oostendorp (University Leiden) 

- Susi Wurmbrand (University of Connecticut) 

More information can be found here:


DGfS 2016 Summer School

Tübingen University is hosting the German Linguistic Society's (DGfS) summer this August. Daniel Altshuler (Hampshire College) will be offering a course on temporal interpretation of narrative discourse and our own Lyn Frazier will be offering a course on processing at the syntax-discourse interface. You can learn more here.