Archive for October, 2011

Nunberg Colloquium on November 3

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Geoffrey Nunberg (School of Information, UC Berkeley) will give a colloquium talk titled “On Having a Word for It” on Thursday, November 3, 3.30 pm at the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Abstract: What does it signify that a language “has a word for” such-and-such a notion? For the general public, it sheds light on the way its speakers think, often with political or ideological consequences. For linguists and psychologists, lexicalization chiefly bears on individual perception or cognition. For historians and other students of culture, it means a society has come into the possession of a new concept. It turns out that these perspectives rest on very different understandings of “concept” and “language”—and for that matter “have.” I’ll spell some of these out and show how there are certain misconceptions inherent in each. I want to focus in particular on the way the individualism of modern linguistics can obscure the social consequences of lexicalization, some of which have played an important role in recent philosophy of language. In general, having a word is a bigger deal than linguists generally suppose, and for reasons that linguists don’t often pay much attention to.

This talk is sponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities and the Department of Linguistics.

Meet the visitors

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Several scholars are visiting the department this quarter. Please give them a warm Chicago welcome!

  • Elizaveta Bylinina (Lisa Bylinina) will spend this quarter in Chicago as a visiting student. She is  in a project on degree semantics in Utrecht Institute of Linguistics in Holland, but spend most of the time in Moscow with her family. She’s interested in semantics of vagueness, gradability and comparison, and all sorts of unrelated topics she sometimes find exciting, according to her, for no particular reason — distributivity, event semantics, reduplication (wh-reduplication!), sluicing etc. Right now she wants to know more about history and typology of comparative morphemes (especially in Turkic), low degree modifiers and negative evaluative adjectives, and interadjectival comparison. And things to do in Chicago with a 3yo, of course.
  • Anna Chernilovskaya, also from Utrecht, will also be working on semantics.
  • Cécile Evers is visiting for the Fall and Winter from the University of Pennsylvania’s program in Educational Linguistics. She works with North African dialects and Wolof, specifically in the context of her work in Marseille, France with second-generation youth who are of North and West African descent. She is interested in questions pertaining to heritage language speakers in this setting (i.e., mixed language use, slang registers, L1 phonological transfer) and also in the role of religious (Classical Arabic) activities and (Muslim) memberships in shaping language use. Please contact her at ceve@uchicago.edu.
  • Zoe Gavriilidou, Associate Professor at the Department of Greek of the Democritus University of Thrace, will be working with Anastasia Giannakidou.
  • Christina Kim is a doctoral student in Linguistics  Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She will be working with Chris Kennedy and Ming Xiang.
  • Masahiro Yamada and Sanae Tamura, both from Kyoto University, will be working with Chris Kennedy on evidentiality.

Chicagoans at NWAV 40

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Several Chicagoans presented at NWAV 40 at Georgetown University, Oct 27-31.

  • Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (BA/MA ’98) and Abby Walker: Vocalic accommodation in a cross dialectal shadowing task
  • Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (BA/MA ’98): Measuring implicit dialect awareness using the IAT
  • Salikoko Mufwene: The Emergence of Complexity in Language: An Evolutionary Perspective
  • Morgan Sonderegger, Andrea Beltrama, Tasos Chatzikonstantinou, Erin Franklin, Brett Kirken, Jackson Lee, Maria Nelson, Krista Nicoletto, Talia Penslar, Hannah Provenza, Natalie Rothfels, Maximilian Bane, Peter Graff and Jason Riggle: Coronal stop deletion on reality TV
  • Alan Yu, Carissa Abrego-Collier and Morgan Sonderegger: Attitudinal effects in phonetic convergence

 

Update from Victor Friedman

Monday, October 31st, 2011

“I just got back from giving a keynote address on Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia as linguistic areas at the meeting of the International Congress of Slavists’ Balkan Commission in Iasi.  While I was in the Balkans, I also stopped in Lerin (Greek Florina) to participate in the book launch of the first Modern Macedonian-Modern Greek dictionary to be published in Greece.  The neo-nazis from Hrisi Avgi (the ones that assaulted me in 2009) were there, along with riot police and plainclothesmen.  Greece is still a dangerous place for linguists who work on Macedonian, alas, but there were lots of local Macedonians from Lerin and the nearby villages at the launch anyway.  A collection of my articles on Lak was published in Russian under the title Ocherki lakskogo jazyka (Maxachkala, 2011) by the Daghestanian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.”  –Victor

Giannakidou in Korea

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Anastasia Giannakidou gave two talks at Seoul National University titled “Referential vagueness and negative polarity: evidence from Greek and Korean” and “Wh-interminates and free choice: the view from Korean.” She also jointly presented a talk with Suwon Yoon (PhD 2011) and Marcel den Dikken (CUNY) on “On the distribution of NPIs in clausal comparatives” at the 21st Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference (Oct 20-22, 2011).  Also at the conference was Osamu Sawada (PhD 2010, now at Mie Univ.), who presented “The meaning of modal affective demonstratives in Japanese” with Jun Sawada (Kansai Gaidai Univ.).