Archive for the ‘Grads’ Category

Sesquikudos to Masoud!

…For all of his help in the 2015 AAAS meeting’s Family Science Days (San Jose meeting, Feb 12-16)!

Janneke Van Hofwegen in the Boston Globe!

Janneke’s work is featured in a Boston Globe piece on quotative “be like”, which you can read all about here.

LSA practice talks rescheduled for Monday Dec. 15

We have a large number of student talks at the upcoming LSA annual meeting. We had one practice talk session on Wednesday, but Thursday’s scheduled talks were canceled due to inclement weather. Please join us for a makeup session on Monday December 15, 10AM-12:30PM in the Greenberg Room. 

  • Robin Melnick On the Time-Course of Discourse Linking: Experiments with Wh-In-Situ Islands
  • Robin Melnick and Eric Acton Function Words, Opposition, and Power: A socio-pragmatic “deep” corpus study
  • Kevin McGowan and Meghan Sumner A Phonetic Explanation for the Usefulness of Within-Category Variation
  • Prerna Nadathur Towards an Explanatory Account of Conditional Perfection
  • Masoud Jasbi The Semantics of Differential Object Marking in Persian


John Rickford and Sharese King Featured in Stanford Report

Research on bias against speakers of African American Vernacular English in the American justice system, conducted by John Rickford and Sharese King, was featured in the most recent issue of the Stanford News Report. Read about their work here!

SMircle Workshop Meeting Monday (11/17) at 3:15PM: Samko

Join the SMircle Workshop in the Greenberg Room Monday, as they welcome Bern Samko (UCSC), who will talk about her work on verb-phrase preposing.

Topicality, focus, and intonation in English verb-phrase preposing

I argue that verb-phrase preposing (VPP) in English involves topicalization, syntactic focus-marking, and, optionally, a particular intonational pattern. The contribution of these elements is compositional, allowing for a unified analysis of discourse functions of VPP that have previously been assumed to be distinct (cf. Ward 1990). In all examples of VPP, the preposing of the VP marks a topic shift in much the same way as DP topicalization with “as for”, and verum focus results from focus-marking of the sentence-final auxiliary. Prosodic marking may contribute an additional scalar interpretation that is also available in intonationally marked canonical-order sentences.

Bonnie Krejci and Kate Lindsey at Stanford Splash!

Bonnie and Kate both took part in Stanford Splash! last weekend, running a class on Language Myths, Language Truths for attending schoolchildren from the greater community in the area.

More information about Stanford Splash 2014 is available here.

Look Who’s Talking!

Zachary Wilkins will be giving a talk at the 2014 Hispanic Linguistic Symposium, held next weekend at Purdue University: “Algo es algo: Toward a typology of tautologies with evidence from Spanish”.

Rob Podesva will give a Linguistics colloquium at the University of Michigan next Friday, November 14.

Numerous Stanford sempragmaticists will present at CUSP (California Universities Semantics & Pragmatics) this weekend at UCLA:

  • Prerna Nadathur, “Implicative verbs and presuppositions”
  • Andrea Beltrama, “Very UCLA, totally next in line”
  • Phil Crone, “Asserting Clarity as Managing Awareness”
  • James Collins, “Be about to and the proximal future”
  • Dasha Popova, “Noun multidimensionality and gradability through the prism of the ‘tot eshjo N’ construction in Russian”
  • Sara Kessler, “Adjectives and the Stage-Individual Level Distinction: A corpus study”
  • Lelia Glass, “Need to vs. have to vs. got to: A corpus study in semantic variation”

Dissertation oral Monday, November 3: Djalali

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

On adjectival comparatives 

Monday, November 3, 2014, 2pm-3:15pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Rm 126

The syntax and semantics of adjectival comparatives like (1a) are complicated matters that have concerned both syntacticians and semanticists for at least 100 years.

(1) a. Orcutt is taller than Smith (is)
(1) b. The maximal degree of height Orcutt possesses is greater than the maximal degree of height Smith possesses

It is generally agreed that (1a) is a suitable paraphrase of the meaning of (1b), which suggests, both implicitly and explicitly, that any formal syntactico-semantic analysis of adjectival comparatives should make reference to (at least) the notions of degrees, scales, and measures. The path I will pursue in this dissertation takes each of the aforementioned concepts seriously but moves away from standardly assumed degree-based analyses like Seuren (1973), von Stechow (1984), Heim (1985), Kennedy (1997) and Heim (2006) (to name just a few) to a more Cresswellilan-one (Cresswell 1976).

This might seem odd, if only because recent work like Kennedy (1997) can also be understood in a Cresswellilan-light. However, there are many aspects of Cresswell’s (1976) proposal–philosophical and formal–and in the work presented here, degrees themselves will not be understood as proper objects in my semantic ontology. If degrees exist at all, they will be understood as real numbers necessary only when considering a small sub-class of comparative constructions. I will argue that, in making such a move, one gets a better and more general treatment of the syntax and semantics of adjectival comparatives in the form of, what I take to be at least, a transparent albeit Spartan semantic representation language that makes no use of various misbehaved covert operators at the level of logical form that are traditionally present in the various semantic analysis of adjectival comparatives considered here. I will show that, even under the assumption of such minimal representations, my analysis gets the semantic facts involving adjectival comparatives right.

(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: Cleo Condoravdi and Chris Potts (Co-advisors), Dan Lassiter, Beth Levin
University oral exam chair: Thomas Icard (Philosophy)