Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

VPUE Presentations Friday (10/3) at 3:30pm

Join us in the Greenberg Room Friday, October 3 as we hear from our undergraduate VPUE researchers as they discuss and finalize their summer research internships.

Look Who’s Talking! (Summer Retrospective)

We have a considerable backlog of talks given by Stanford folks this summer to announce as well.

  • Eve Clark finished a term as President of the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL).
    • There was a symposium in her honor, with details here.
    • Here is an interview from when she began her term: (video)
  • Eve Clark headed the CSMN interdisciplinary workshop: Language Acquisition and Concept Formation from August 14-15 at the University of Oslo.
  • Eve Clark visited and spoke at the Lunds Universitet Linneaus Centre Cognition, Communication and Learning (CCL) on August 18-20. (‘Room B237 was filled to the last seat!’)
  • In May, Eve gave the Bing Distinguished Lecture at Bing Nursery School, Stanford (an annual lecture for parents and staff, usually research done at or relevant
    to early child development).
  • Eve spent June 2014 at Paris-Diderot: as holder of the LabEx International Chair in Empirical Foundations of Linguistics, she lectured on language acquisition, interaction and feedback; attention, grounding, and word acquisition; conceptual perspective, and how much word meaning is required for successful communication.
  • In mid-June, Eve gave a colloquium talk at the University of Edinburgh.

The Methods in Dialectology XV Conference saw these Stanford linguists present:

  • John Rickford presented on Stylistic variation in panel studies of change in real time
  • Janneke Van Hofwegen and Walt Wolfram presented on On the utility of composite indices in longitudinal language study

Several Stanford linguists presented at the University of Zurich’s ISLE Conference from August 24-27:

  • Joan Bresnan gave the plenary address on Frequency effects in spoken syntax: ‘Have’ and ‘be’ contraction
  • Jason Grafmiller presented on Exploring probabilistic grammar(s) in varieties of English around the world
  • Elizabeth Traugott presented on Do semantic modal maps have a role in a constructionalization approach to modals? and on Pragmatic salience as an enabling factor in morphosyntactic change

Sharese King presented on The Interaction Between Frequency and Stereotype in Processing Cross-dialectal Variation at CogSci 2014.

Dan Lassiter gave a plenary talk on Bayesian Pragmatics for the 2014 Frederick Jelinek Memorial Workshop on Meaning Representations in Language and Speech Processing at Charles University in Prague.

Prerna Nadathur presented on Unless, exceptionality, and conditional strengthening for the ESSLLI 2014 Student Session.

Prerna Nadathur and Daniel Lassiter presented Unless: an experimental approach at Sinn und Bedeutung 2014.

Beth Levin, Lelia Glass, and Dan Jurafsky presented on Corpus Evidence for Systematicity in English Compounds at Sinn und Bedeutung 2014.

Meghan Sumner gave a talk to incoming freshmen at New Student Orientation as part of a program to engage new undergraduates in undergraduate research. Read more about it here.

Look Who’s Talking!

Boris Harizanov is giving a talk at UC Berkeley’s Syntax and Semantics Circle on September 26.

Stanford linguists are giving talks this weekend at the Questions in Discourse at Universität Göttingen:

  • Judith Tonhauser presents on What’s the Question? Towards a Monosemous Analysis of Evaluative Adjectives
  • Tanja Rojas-Esponda presents on Structure in the Space of Discourse Particles

Dissertation Oral Presentation Monday (6/16): Jessica Spencer

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce a dissertation oral presentation:

Stochastic effects in the grammar: Toward a usage-based model of copula contraction

Jessica Spencer

Monday, June 16, 2014, 1pm-2:15pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm 126

Abstract: The aim of this analysis of conversational English corpus data is to unearth stable effects of phonological, syntactic, and frequency information in an area of the grammar prone to variation: copula contraction. Stable effects arise during active language processing and may be contrasted with the products of diachronic coalescence of several forms into fused units. Researchers have found that English auxiliary contraction (have > ‘ve, has > ‘s, be > ‘m/’re/’s, will/shall > ‘ll) is subject to phonological, processing, and grammatical constraints. These constraints are most evident in the study of the copula, as “to be” contracts with a wider range of hosts, or preceding words, i.e., with pronominal and lexical noun phrase hosts. My analysis reveals three novel findings about copula contraction. First, copula contraction is sensitive to both the collocational frequency of the copula and its host and the copula and the following word. This obtains even when lexical noun phrase hosts (as opposed to pronominal hosts) are considered in light of known grammatical constraints. The more frequent the host or the following word, the more likely the copula is to contract. Second, persistence, or the previous use of a particular form is a strong predictor of whether or not a speaker is likely to contract. Finally, copula duration shows a sensitivity to the same syntactic constraints that condition contraction. These facts taken together present of picture of copula contraction whereby an allomorphic disticntion and a phonetic feature both show sensitivity to information across all levels of the grammar.

(The format for this open part of the oral exam is a 30-45 minute talk by the PhD candidate followed by questions from those attending, for a total of no more than 75 minutes. Please arrive promptly!)

Oral exam committee: John Rickford (Advisor), Arto Anttila, Tom Wasow, Penny Eckert
University oral exam chair: Ewart Thomas (Psychology)

Dissertation Oral Presentation Tuesday (6/17): Eric Acton

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce a dissertation oral presentation:

Pragmatics and the social meaning of determiners

Eric Acton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 1pm-2:15pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm 126

Abstract: Language users draw all kinds of inferences concerning the opinions, moods, backgrounds, and social relations of speakers on the basis of what they say, and much of what is conveyed depends only indirectly, if at all, on the literal content of what is said. Though meaning beyond the literal comprises a hefty and potent share of linguistic meaning, much remains to be uncovered and explained as regards this domain. In this work, I examine aspects of the socio-expressive significance of English demonstratives (this, that, these, those) and the article the. Via semantic, pragmatic, and variationist analysis, I show that these seemingly colorless expressions can in fact reflect and shape the nature of a speaker’s social relations.

In particular, I provide quantitative and qualitative evidence that (i) in referring to a group of people, using the (‘the Americans’) as opposed to a bare plural (‘Americans’) tends to depict the group as a monolith of which the speaker is not a part; and, drawing on previous research, (ii) demonstratives can serve as a linguistic resource for expressing exclamativity and evaluativity (e.g., Lakoff, 1974; Bowdle & Ward, 1995; Wolter, 2006; Davis & Potts, 2010; Potts & Schwarz, 2010) and for promoting a sense of shared perspective and experience between interlocutors (e.g., Lakoff, 1974; Chen, 1990; Wolter, 2006; Acton & Potts, 2014). In both cases, I show that the observed social effects can be explained from a broadly pragmatic perspective, by considering what a speaker says in light of the context of utterance and the semantics of alternative expressions she might have employed instead.

Taking all of this together, this work provides new insights into the social character of English determiners, makes the case that socio-expressive content is an indispensable facet of meaning and usage, and demonstrates the advantages of pursuing semantic, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic research in tandem.

(The format for this open part of the oral exam is a 30-45 minute talk by the PhD candidate followed by questions from those attending, for a total of no more than 75 minutes. Please arrive promptly!)

Oral exam committee: Penny Eckert and Chris Potts (Co-advisors), Dan Lassiter, Rob Podesva
University oral exam chair: Ewart Thomas (Psychology)

Dissertation Oral Presentation Friday (6/20): Roey Gafter

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce a dissertation oral presentation:

“The Most Beautiful and Correct Hebrew”: Authenticity, Ethnic Identity and Linguistic Variation in the Greater Tel Aviv Area

Roey Gafter

Friday, June 20, 2014, 10am-11:15am
Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm 126

Abstract: Among Israelis, Jewish ethnicity is usually understood as a dichotomy between Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of European descent) and Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Middle Eastern descent). While this distinction is extremely socially salient in Israel, little is known about how these categories related to linguistic variation. In this dissertation, I explore the interaction of Hebrew phonetic variables with ethnicity, and show that the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi binary hides many meaningful distinctions, both linguistically and socially. I challenge the notion of an ethnolect, and claim that while there is no single distinctive “Mizrahi Hebrew”, certain linguistic features are associated with particular aspects of a Mizrahi identity, and can be used in the construction of specific ethnic personae.

My main source of data is sociolinguistic fieldwork in two field sites in the greater Tel Aviv area, which have decidedly different Mizrahi populations: the first is Rosh Ha’ayin, a town whose population is predominantly Yemenite (often described as “the most Mizrahi Mizrahis”). The second is Tel Aviv proper, which has an extremely mixed population. I analyze two consonantal features: the first, pharyngealization, is the feature most stereotypically associated with Mizrahis, but all extant research suggests that it has been lost in the speech of most contemporary Israelis. I demonstrate that contrary to received wisdom, there are still some younger Mizrahis in my sample with robust pharyngealization, but only among the Yemenites of Rosh Ha’ayin, who express overt language ideologies about the link between this conservative linguistic feature and an authentic Yemenite identity. And while pharyngealization is very uncommon among most younger Mizrahis, I show that it is enregistered as a Mizrahi feature, and that Mizrahis who do not consistently pharyngealize, still do so when performing attributes associated with a stereotypical Mizrahi persona (such as being down-to-earth and authentic).

This insight also applies to another variable I research, /h/-deletion, which is stigmatized as sounding uneducated and unintelligent. I demonstrate that [h] in Hebrew actually varies between three productions – produced, deleted and replaced with a glottal stop. There was no significant interaction between this variable and ethnicity in the Tel Aviv sample, but while the social meaning of /h/ is not directly linked to ethnicity, it can combine with pharyngeals in constructing a consistent style: the Yemenites of Rosh Ha’ayin use more fully articulated [h] and less glottal stop, once again overtly linking this variable with the notion of the most authentic variety of Hebrew.

Taken together, both variables highlight the importance of moving beyond binary distinctions when trying to understand how language and ethnicity interact – on the social level, a more nuanced understanding of ethnic identity is needed since the linguistic behavior of Mizrahis cannot be explained simply in terms of “sounding more or less Ashkenazi”. On the linguistic level, features usually considered as categorically present or not, reveal more complicated patterns upon careful inspection.

(The format for this open part of the oral exam is a 30-45 minute talk by the PhD candidate followed by questions from those attending, for a total of no more than 75 minutes. Please arrive promptly!)

Oral exam committee: Penny Eckert and John Rickford (Co-advisors), Rob Podesva, Meghan Sumner
University oral exam chair: H. Samy Alim (Education)

Look Who’s Talking!

At OLINCO 2014 this weekend Paul Kiparsky is presenting “The two plurals: A case for allosemy”. He will also chair the Syntax Session.

Undergraduate Honors Presentations Today (5/30) at 3:30PM

Please join us on Friday, May 30th for this years 2014 undergraduate honors presentations. Our first presentation with start at 3:30pm in the Greenberg room.

The talks will be followed by an ice cream social hosted by our first year graduate students.

We hope to see you there!

2014 Honors student presenters:

Hanzhi Zhu: Case, Agreement, and the EPP: Evidence from Kazakh

Several recent studies have argued against the Activity Condition in light of evidence from raising constructions in various languages. These analyses claim that raising is not triggered by unvalued case or agreement features, but instead by the Extended Projection Principle (EPP). I add to this discussion by examining two raising constructions in Kazakh which differ in their case and agreement properties. I demonstrate that both constructions involve subject-to-subject raising and also argue against the traditional formulation of the Activity Condition. I then argue that scrambling is another construction that, like raising, satisfies the EPP. I examine what happens in raising constructions in which scrambling has taken place and the EPP has already been satisfied. These conditions motivate a modification of the account of how raising can be triggered.

Benjamin Lokshin: Speech levels in DPRK society
This study examines the use of speech levels in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in comparison with the system in use in the Republic of Korea (ROK). I use a multipart analysis encompassing a quantitative study of honorific verb endings within works of fiction from both countries, a qualitative study of books on language and metalinguistic commentary, and fieldwork with a native DPRK speaker, to produce several new results. The DPRK speech level system is found to have several features which set it apart from the ROK, most notable among them being the continued use of the “semiformal” level (hao-chey), which is rarely seen in the ROK. Placing these findings in the context of the present and historical political environment on the Korean peninsula, there are many parallels between differential speech level usages and differential state ideologies and cultures in the two Koreas. In contrast to the ROK speech level system, the DPRK system grammaticalizes the interpersonal differences relevant within the DPRK’s traditionalist, nationalist, and neo-Confucianist society.

Dissertation Oral Presentation: Geenberg

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce a dissertation oral presentation:

The Other California: Marginalization and Variation in Trinity County

Kate Geenberg

Friday, May 30, 2014, 8am-9:15am
Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm 126

Little is known about English in the American West, especially in the region’s vast rural areas. And while popular stereotypes of the Sunshine State focus on easy living in California’s urban centers—San Francisco and Los Angeles—much of California is, in fact, both poor and sparsely populated. My dissertation is an ethnographic analysis of language variation in that Other California.

Trinity County is about the size of Vermont, but it is home to less than 14,000 people. And as Trinity County is far more rural than San Francisco County, rurality is recursive within the county, too. The well-funded county seat of Weaverville (pop. 3,600) is growing more bourgeois, while the next biggest town, Hayfork (pop. 2,386), is more dominated by survivalists than ever—largely due to the bourgeoning marijuana industry that’s taken root there.

As urban and (sub)urban lifestyles are in competition in the county today, so are rural- and urban-associated linguistic features. Southern- and Midlands- derived features, likely (re)introduced to California during the Dust Bowl migration, co-exist with urban California features in Trinity County today. I show that the pin-penmerger (a feature canonically associated with the South) and lessened participation in the Northern California Vowel Shift (previously documented in larger cities) are more common in Hayfork. These features are also more common in the speech of Trinitarians’ with more outdoorsy, survivalist lifestyles—no matter where they live. Taken together, these analyses unpack what it means to be Country in California.

Oral exam committee: Penny Eckert and John Rickford (Co-advisors), Rob Podesva, Tom Wasow
University oral exam chair: Ray McDermott (Education)

Emily Morgan Presenting at SPLaT! Thursday (6/05) at 4PM

Emily Morgan (UCSD) will be giving a talk for SPLaT next Thursday at 4PM in the Greenberg Room, with the title and abstract given below:

Abstract knowledge versus direct experience in linguistic processing

Abstract: When we encounter common expressions like “I don’t know” or “salt and pepper”, do we process them word-by-word or do we treat them as holistic multi-word units? I address this question by focusing on “binomial expressions” of the form “A and B” (e.g. “salt and pepper”, “bread and butter”). Many binomial expressions display word order preferences (e.g. not “pepper and salt”). Are these preferences driven by abstract linguistic knowledge of ordering constraints referencing the semantic, phonological, and lexical properties of the constituent words? Or are preferences determined by prior direct experience with the specific items in question? I will present a probabilistic model that predicts ordering preferences for both attested and never-before-seen binomial expressions, and a series of behavioral experiments aimed at disentangling the effects of abstract knowledge and direct experience in the processing of these expressions.

Look Who’s Talking!

Lauri Karttunen will give an invited talk on Friday, May 30 “Three ways of not being lucky” at SALT 24 at NYU.

Also at SALT 24, Dan Lassiter will present “The weakness of must: In defense of a Mantra”.