Archive for the ‘visits’ Category

Nicholas Ostler lecture on May 12

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

“The Jungle is Neutral: Newcomer Languages Face New Media”
Nicholas Ostler, President, Foundation for Endangered Languages

Tuesday, May 12
4:00-5:30 pm with reception to follow at

Franke Institute for the Humanities
1100 East 57th Street, JRL S-118

Co-sponsored by the Big Problems program in the College and the Franke Institute for the Humanities

Nicholas Ostler is the author of Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World (2005) and Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin (2008). The first is an unparalleled account of major language expansions through colonization since antiquity, richly grounded historically in dynamics of trade, political domination, and other socio-economic interactions between different populations.

Florian Jaeger visiting next week

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

T. Florian Jaeger (Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Univ. of Rochester) will be visiting next Thursday and Friday, May 7-8. He will be giving a talk in the Language, Cognition and Computation Workshop (abstract to come) on Friday at 3:30 in the Karen Landahl Center.

He will also be giving two statistics tutorials: One (Thursday) on mixed models (linear and logit) and how to run/read them in R; and one (Friday) consisting of Q&A.

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!

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! 

Public screening of “The Linguists” on May 9

Monday, April 28th, 2008

A public screening of “The Linguists” will take place at the Franke Institute on Friday, May 9, at 2:30pm. The film will be followed by a discussion with David Harrison. All are welcome!

Luis Vicente LingLunch on April 23

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Please mark your calendars for a syntax LingLunch talk by Luis Vicente (PhD Leiden, currently postdoc at UCSC) on Wed April 23 from 11am-12pm in the Lounge.

“Deriving word order variation in Basque through prosody”

Basque scholars agree that the word order of the language is constrained by discourse (topic/focus) factors. Traditionally, this intuition has been implemented in terms of movement to designated topic/focus projections (Ortiz de Urbina 1989 et seq.). However, such analyses are based on the assumption that the verbal complex is a syntactic head that can undergo head movement to the relevant projections. There exists evidence, though, that the subparts of verbal complexes do not actually form a constituent at all, which poses a rather serious problem for this kind of analyses.

The alternative I pursue here is based on the assumption that the verbal complex is immobile, and word order variation is a consequence of what moves or doesn’t move around it. This approach results in a unified analysis of all word order types while keeping intact the insights gained by previous treatments of the problem. However, it raises the problem of how to motivate the different types of movements that are necessary. I propose that the trigger is prosodic: modifying Richards’ (2006) theory, I hypothesize that the C node defines the domain of stress assignment. More specifically, I propose that Basque specifies that pitch accent must be separated from C by as few XP boundaries as possible. With this much in place, word order variation can be derived as the need for certain constituents to appear or not appear in the focus position, depending on their discourse status.

Enoch Aboh Colloquium on Friday

Monday, March 10th, 2008

There will be a special colloquium next Friday from Enoch Aboh of the University of Amsterdam and MIT. The title of the talk is “A Typology of Adpositions” and you can find the abstract here:

The talk will be held at the normal colloquium time in the normal colloquium location (3:30 in the CSL)

Melchert Lecture on Thursday

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The Department of Near Eastern languages and Civilizations and The Oriental Institute present:


The Rise of Hittite Literacy: A Third Way

H. Craig Melchert
Professor of Linguistics
University of California, Los Angeles

Thursday, March 13, 2008
12:00 noon
The LaSalle Banks Room – Oriental Institute