Archive for the ‘Groups’ Category

Linguistics Fieldwork Workshop Monday (4/21) at 1PM: Donlay

Chris Donlay (UC Santa Barbara) will visit the Fieldwork Workshop on Monday (4/21) at 1 PM in the Chair’s Office. He’ll talk about Katso (Sino-Tibetan, China) as well as his fieldwork design and experiences. Light snacks and drinks will be available, and there will be an informal discussion about fieldwork afterward as well.

SMircle Workshop Monday 4/21 at 4PM: Nadathur

Prema Nadathur will be presenting at SMircle this Monday at 4PM in the Greenberg Room about Weak Crossover. Her title and abstract are given below.

Weak Crossover and the Direct Association Hypothesis

Abstract: Weak crossover has figured prominently in the debate over the existence of traces, as it has been claimed to provide evidence for their necessity in long-distance dependencies. This paper argues against this claim by providing a treatment of weak crossover that does away with the need for empty categories. This is achieved by use of the Direct Association Hypothesis (Pickering and Barry 1991), which proposes that filler-gap dependencies are characterized by a direct link between an extracted element and its subcategorizer. I show that the new treatment not only accounts for uncontroversial crossover data, but also fares better than the preceding LFG treatments on some key examples. Finally, I outline some consequences of the new proposal, as well as directions for further inquiry, and argue that direct association may provide a robust starting point for reexamining a number of phenomena involving filler-gap dependencies.

Djalali presenting in AllNatural Meeting Today at 11AM

Come hear Alex Djalali present his work on Synthetic Logic in the AllNatural Workshop group, today at 11 AM in Gates 159.

Sociolunch This Spring!

Please join us for Sociolunch this quarter, every Wednesday at 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM in the Greenberg Room. (Note the new time!).

To start the quarter off, this Wednesday, April 9, Mark Myslín (UCSD, his page here) will be sharing about his work on codeswitching in Czech-English bilinguals. All are welcome! His abstract is given below.

Codeswitching and predictability of meaning in discourse

Abstract: Codeswitching is often not a simple matter of lexical gap-filling, instead depending on sociolinguistic and discourse functions. We hypothesize that such variation is affected by meaning predictability: codeswitches correlate with meanings of low predictability, allowing language choice to be a formal marker of information content along with familiar means such as prosody and syntax. More generally, we argue for the importance of communicative and social context in understanding linguistic variation, and for rigorous approaches in the analysis of natural discourse data.

In grammatical choice, speakers often convey less predictable meanings with distinct, extensive encodings. In bilingual discourse, a similar division of labor is possible: less predictable meanings can be more saliently encoded through a switch to the less frequently used language. In our corpus of three hours of Czech-English conversation, most switches were to English at points of less predictable meanings. To quantify this, we developed a guessing game (Shannon, 1951) in which new participants listened to full conversations and guessed missing words. With 3,458 guesses across 725 items, concepts that had been expressed through English switches were indeed more difficult to guess. Meaning predictability was a key factor in a logistic regression with 12 control factors from sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and discourse-functional traditions.

Codeswitching allows salient encoding of high-information meanings, but unlike phonetic or syntactic reduction of low-information content, the strategy is not more temporally efficient for the speaker. This, especially given our comprehender-based metric of information, supports an account in which language choice functions to draw comprehender attention to novel information.

SMircle Workshop Meeting Monday (4/7) at 4PM: Levin

SMircle workshops will kick off the quarter this Monday, where our own Beth Levin will talk about her work on hitting verbs.

The Encoding of Hitting Events across Languages

The encoding of hitting events has not received systematic crosslinguistic investigation, even though hitting verbs have long provided a effective counterpoint to the much-studied breaking verbs since Fillmore’s (1970) well-known case study, “The Grammar of Hitting and Breaking”. This talk aims to redress the balance. I present the results of an ongoing survey of the encoding of hitting events across languages and discuss its contribution to our understanding of the principles that govern the encoding of events in language. I show that two factors underlie the attested encodings of hitting events: (i) the choice that a language makes concerning where to encode the manner component of the event and (ii) whether to treat the surface argument (e.g. “the window” in “hit the window”) as an affected argument eligible for realization as direct object. In fact, Beavers, Levin & Tham (2010) make a similar point with respect to motion events, proposing that differences among languages in the encoding of such events can be traced to the interaction of crosslinguistically applicable argument realization principles with language-specific lexical and morphosyntactic resources.

Linguistics Fieldwork Workshop Monday (4/7) 1 PM: Gribanova

Vera Gribanova will be presenting at a meeting of the Linguistics Fieldwork group this Monday at 1 PM in the Chair’s Office.

Vera will share about her fieldwork experiences in Uzbekistan, and a discussion will follow on how to extract generalizations from fieldwork data for a proper analysis.

15th Annual SemFest TODAY

Reminder: SemFest is today in the Greenberg Room, from 1-5PM, with a social afterward! Abstracts & schedule here.

1:00 Towards an explanatory account of conditional perfection (Prerna Nadathur)

1:30 Probabilistic integration of linguistic framing in ad-hoc pragmatic implicatures (Andrés Gómez Emilsson, Michael C. Frank, Noah Goodman)

2:00 Metatext in the comics (Arnold Zwicky)

2:30 BREAK

2:45 Presupposed or At-issue Existence in Weak Indefinite: Evidence from Persian Differential Object Marking (Masoud Jasbi)

3:15 The two plurals: A case for allosemy (Paul Kiparsky)

3:45 BREAK

4:00 Affective uses of the ‘Tot eshjo N’ construction in Russian (Dasha Popova)

4:30 Assessing and Interpreting Semantic Data from the Web (Cleo Condoravdi, Lauri Karttunen, Annie Zaenen and Stanley Peters)