Archive for the ‘talks’ Category

Fun, fun, fun: QP Fest next week

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Mark your calendar! This year’s QP-Fest will take place on March 16-17. The tentative program is as follows:

March 16 (Location: Harper 140)


Christina Weaver: Negation in Luganda


Nassira Nicola: Information Status and Sentence Structure in Home Sign


Arum Kang: The Role of Prosody in Semantic/Syntactic Disambiguation in Korean




Pat Rich: French expletive negation


Luisandro Mendes De Souza: Comparatives in Brazilian Portuguese and the Verbal Domain


Pete Klecha: The Modality of English Futures

March 17 (Location: Harper 130)


Andy Dombrowski: Albanian-Slavic Phonological Contact


Juan Bueno Holle: Reference-tracking in Isthmus Zapotec


Alice Lemieux: Washo Bipartite Stems




Max Bane: Grammatical Correlates of Variation in the English Dative Alternation


Yaron McNabb: Apparent pharyngealization in French loanwords in Moroccan Arabic


Susan Rizzo: Grandfather Effects and Derived Environment Effects in Harmonic Grammar


Keren Rice Colloquium Thursday

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

University of Chicago Linguistics Colloquium

Keren Rice, University of Toronto

What determines morpheme order in the Athapaskan verb?

March 5, 3:30-5:00pm, Cobb 201


The surface order of morphemes in the verb word of Athapaskan languages has traditionally been considered to be idiosyncratic, stipulated by a template. In Rice 2000 I argued that what I called semantic scope plays an important role in the ordering of morphemes. Here I extend the account of morpheme ordering in the verb word, focusing on a series of problems that arise if scope alone is involved. I argue that if phonological factors are also taken into account, a systematicity to the complexities of morpheme ordering in the verb emerges, with morphemes being segregated by their phonological shapes, and, within these phonologically determined groups, scope plays a major role in the ordering of morphemes. I examine the principles that control the ordering in light of recent claims that functional principles such as parsability are key to morpheme ordering.

For future colloquia, please visit:

Colloquia back in action this week

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

After our holiday hiatus, this year’s colloquium series resumes with the first of four (so far) scheduled talks for the Winter quarter. Tania Ionin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be presenting on “The scope of English indefinites: an experimental investigation” (abstract here).

As usual, this talk will take place on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Cobb 201, with department tea immediately following. We hope to see many people there as we kick off another quarter!

Two talks this Friday

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Mark your calendars – the Karen Landahl Center for Linguistics Research will be the site of two exciting linguistics talks this Friday, December 5.

Jeroen van Craenenbroeck (Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel/NYU) will be visiting the department to present some of his recent work. Van Craenenbroeck’s “What does silence look like? On the unpronounced syntax of sluicing,” in part a response to our own Jason Merchant, will be discussed from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Then at 3:30 p.m., the University of Chicago’s Steven Small (Neurology/Psychology) will be the guest speaker at the latest meeting of the workshop on Language, Cognition, and Computation. The abstract for his presentation, “The Biology of Face-to-Face Communication: Action, Understanding, and Language,” can be found here.


Elsewhere on campus, Neuroscience lab post-doc candidate Kenny Vaden (UC Irvine) will be giving a talk entitled “Adaptation to Phonologically Similar Words in Bilateral Superior Temporal Sulci.” It will be in the Brain Research Imaging Center conference room (Q300) on Friday at 9:00 a.m.

All great ways to finish up the quarter before the long break. We hope many of you can make it!

Autumn colloquia wrapping up with Alicia Wassink

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

For our final colloquium of 2008, we are delighted to host Alicia Wassink, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Washington, who will be giving a talk on “The Development of Sociolinguistic Competence in Children” this Thursday, December 4, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in Cobb 201. (See abstract here.)

If you’re sorry to see the last of the Autumn colloquia, fear not! Here are the remaining scheduled talks for the 2008-2009 series, which will resume on January 15:

January 15: Tania Ionin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

March 5: Keren Rice, University of Toronto

April 2: Adam Albright, MIT

April 30: Teresa Satterfield, University of Michigan,

May 7: Sun-Ah Jun, UCLA

May 14: Nick Fleisher, Wayne State University

May 28: Shigeto Kawahara, Rutgers University

Autumn 2008 colloquia are underway!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The Department of Linguistics was pleased to host Georgetown University’s Paul Portner last Thursday at our inaugural colloquium of the 2008-2009 series. This week, we will be having Diane Brentari of Purdue University giving a talk on tracking phonological emergence in sign languages.

We eagerly anticipate the scheduled speakers for the Autumn colloquia and invite you to join us for the remaining sessions, which generally commence at 3:30 p.m.

October 23: Paul Portner, Georgetown University

Two Problems about Permission

October 30: Diane Brentari, Purdue University

When does a system become phonological? Grammatical regularities at the interfaces

November 4: Matthias Brenzinger, University of Cologne

Changing roles for African languages in the past, present, and future

*Note special date, time and place: 4-5:30pm, Harper 103

November 13: Duane Watson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

November 20: Luis López Carretero, University of Illinois at Chicago

December 4: Alicia Wassink, University of Washington,

The Development of Sociolinguistic Competence in Children

See you there!

Coming soon: Chicago mini-workshop on Basque linguistics

Monday, October 20th, 2008

The department is proud to announce the first Chicago Mini-Workshop on Basque Linguistics will be held on Monday, October 27. The program will include talks by Ricardo Etxepare of the University of the Basque Country on “Ways of building syntactic focus in Spanish and Basque”;  U of C’s Anastasia Giannokodou on “Contextual domain restriction across languages”; Vidal Valmala of the University of the Basque Country  on “Topic and focus as triggers for quantifier float”; and U of C’s Karlos Arregi on “Wackernagel effects in Basque verbs.” This half-day event will take place in Rosenwald Hall, Room 301. We hope to see many of you there! 

Caponigro talk on Friday

Monday, June 9th, 2008

The Semantics and philosophy of Language Workshop presents

Ivano Caponigro
(joint work with Maria Polinsky, Harvard)
Time: June 13, Friday, 11am
Location: Landahl Center Seminar Room

Most languages (including English) distinguish between relative clauses, embedded declarative clauses, and embedded interrogative clauses in various syntactic ways (e.g. complementizers, gaps, wh-words, extraction). The syntactic behavior matches the semantic one, since all these embedded clauses differ in their meaning as well. In this talk, we present a language that exhibits a very different pattern. In Adyghe, a North-West Caucasian language spoken in southern Russia and some parts of Turkey, the very same “mystery clause” is used to convey the various meanings that relative clauses, embedded declaratives, and embedded interrogatives convey in other languages. We show that (i) Adyghe’s “mystery clause” is a headless relative clause, and that (ii) the syntax-semantics mapping in Adyghe can be accounted for by means of tools that have already been independently argued for in the grammar (set formation, concealed questions, polarity operators, etc.). More generally, Adyghe and its extensive use relative clauses to convey various meanings show that the syntax-semantics interface across languages is more varied that it is usually assumed, but it can still be handled without enriching the conceptual apparatus of the grammar.