Faculty

Claire Bowern and former students publish paper on Pama-Nyungan kinship

Former Pama-Nyungan lab member Catherine Sheard (lead author), department PhD alum Rikker Dockum, Claire Bowern, and Bristol Anthropology Professor Fiona Jordan, recently published a paper in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences using phylogenetic methods to study the ways that different kinship systems change across the Pama-Nyungan family.

Natalie Weber presented at the Canadian Linguistic Association annual meeting

Natalie Weber presented a paper titled “The case for NonInitiality” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association, which was virtual this year. A recording of the talk will be available for a limited time on the conference website. The handouts or slides for most other talks are also publicly available, so check them out!

Claire Bowern participates in panel on fieldwork

Claire Bowern was a panelist recently discussing remote fieldwork, community support, and ethics, as part of the University of Melbourne’s “Linguistics in the Pub” series. Approximately 100 participants from all over the world got together to listen to reflections about Covid-19 based changes to field practices, what linguists can do to most effectively support the communities they work with, and the additional ethical challenges that arise when working remotely. The panelists discussed a range of field situations.

Martín Fuchs and María Piñango publish a book chapter in Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics

Recent PhD graduate Martín Fuchs, and professor María Piñango published a chapter, together with Ashwini Deo (The Ohio State University), in the latest volume of John Benjamins’ Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics series “Hispanic Linguistics: current issues and new directions”.

Claire Bowern talks language change on morphology podcast

Linguistics faculty member Claire Bowern recently appeared on the linguistics podcast “Distributed Morphs.” The podcast is aimed at linguistics undergraduate and graduate students and discusses different aspects of morphology. Claire talked about morphology and language change, along with rapid (and not so rapid) change in the verb morphology of Bardi, an Indigenous Australian language from northern Australia. 

Larry Horn and Martín Fuchs publish chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Negation

Professor Emeritus Larry Horn published two chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Negation (link to online version). In “Negation and Opposition: Contradiction and contrariety in logic and language”, he addresses the complications that arise from equating Aristotle’s semantic category of contradictory opposition with the syntactic category of sentence (vs. constituent) negation.

Larry to present at two workshops in Germany

During the week of the March 2 Open House, Larry will be in Germany participating as an invited speaker at two workshops related to pragmatics. The first is a workshop (“Arbeitsgruppe”) on diversity in pragmatic inferences that’s part of the DGfS (the annual conference of the German version of the LSA) meeting in Hamburg. The second is a workshop at ZAS in Berlin on degree expressions and polarity.

Linguists collaborate with the Yale Latino Networking Group

The Yale Latino Networking Group organized a panel to discuss why speaking a language other than English at work can engender negative reactions (poster for the event). Claire Bowern and Raffaella Zanuttini were part of the panel and offered the linguists’ perspective on the issue. The event generated a fruitful exchange of ideas and provided the opportunity to share experiences and discuss how to react to negative attitudes toward speaking languages other than English.  

Matt Tyler and Jim Wood publish in Linguistic Variation

Matthew Tyler and Jim Wood have published an article in the most recent issue of Linguistic Variation. The article is entitled “Microvariation in the ‘have yet to’ construction”, and reports on results from the research of the Yale Grammatical Diversity project. The ‘have yet to’ construction refers to sentences like ‘I have yet to visit my grandmother’, meaning ‘I have not visited my grandmother yet’.

Veneeta Dayal publishes in NLLT

Veneeta Dayal has published a paper in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. The paper, which is entitled “Polar question particles: Hindi-Urdu kya:“ (link to paper), represents joint work with Rajesh Bhatt (UMass Amherst). After drawing a distinction between different kinds of question particles, the paper focuses on the properties of the so-called polar question particles, and describe and analyze the Hindi-Urdu particle kya: as an example of this category.

Larry Horn named president of the LSA

Larry Horn has been elected to serve on the LSA Executive Committee for the coming three years. He will be Vice-President during 2020, President in 2021, and Past President in 2021. Yale Linguistics is delighted that Larry’s many years of outstanding service to the field are being recognized by the LSA in this way, and we are very grateful for all of the knowledge and energy that Larry brings to the department.

Veneeta Dayal to give a plenary at SALA 35

Veneeta Dayal will give a plenary talk at SALA 35 (the 35th South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable) later this month. The conference will take place in Paris, hosted by the National institute of oriental languages and civilizations (INALCO). Veneeta’s talk is entitled “The Multiple Faces of Hindi-Urdu bhii,” and argues that the particle bhii in Hindi-Urdu is closer to the meaning of English also than it is to English even, as has been argued in previous influential work. 

Claire Bowern elected fellow of the LSA, Class of 2020

Every year the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) elects a number of fellows “who have made distinguished contributions to the discipline.” The fellows for 2020 are “nine of the field’s leading linguists,” one of whom is Professor Claire Bowern.  The Yale Linguistics Department joins the LSA in congratulating Claire on this achievment, which is more than well-deserved considering her high-quality research, teaching, mento

Veneeta Dayal has a chapter on specific indefinites

Veneeta Dayal has published a chapter entitled “Singleton Indefinites and the Privacy Principle: Certain Puzzles” in the 2019 book “The Semantics of Plurals, Focus, Degrees, and Times: Essays in Honor of Roger Schwarzschild” (D. Altshuler and J. Rett eds., Springer). The chapter discusses definiteness and specificity by examining bare nominals in multiple languages, as well as markers of specificity such as the word certain in a certain puzzle.

Yale and Haskins linguists present at ICPhS 2019 in Melbourne

Many students, faculty, and alumni of Yale linguistics, as well as colleagues from nearby Haskins Laboratories, presented their work at the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) in Melbourne, Australia, earlier this month. They contributed at least 14 talks and posters to the conference and enjoyed a full week of presentations about phonetics, connecting with colleagues and friends from all over the world. 

Bob Frank receives NSF grant to study inductive bias in neural networks

Bob Frank has been awarded a grant by the NSF on the topic of “Inductive Biases for the Acquisition of Syntactic Transformations in Neural Networks.” This work, in collaboration with Tal Linzen of Johns Hopkins, will explore the degree to which explicit innate biases are needed to learn linguistic mappings, whether between linguistic forms (e.g., active/passive or declarative/interrogative) or between forms and meanings.

Veneeta Dayal will teach a course and give a talk at the University of São Carlos

Veneeta Dayal will teach a mini-course on “The Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics of Asserting, Asking and Answering” at the University on Aug 19-21 at the University of São Carlos, Brazil. She will also be giving and invited talk on “When does a clause become a question?” at the 3rd Referential Semantics Colloquium on August 22-23, also at the University of São Carlos. The program can be found online.

Rikker Dockum and Claire Bowern publish paper in Language Documentation and Description

Rikker Dockum and Claire Bowern have a new paper in the open access journal Language Documentation and Description, entitled “Swadesh lists are not long enough: Drawing phonological generalizations from limited data.” They look at the amount of data (e.g. number of words in a wordlist) required to accurately recover phonological inventory distributional generalizations and show that the typical 100-word or 200-word Swadesh lists frequently used by linguists are not usually sufficient.

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