Faculty

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.

Samuel Andersson, Sirrý Sigurðardóttir, Rikker Dockum, and Claire Bowern present at ICHL24

A contingent of Yale linguists has traveled to Canberra, Australia this week for the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, hosted at the Australian National University. Participants from our department include Professor Claire Bowern, PhD candidate Rikker Dockum, and PhD students Sirrý Sigurðardóttir and Samuel Andersson.
 
Their talks, with links to abstracts, are as follows:
 

Veneeta Dayal will teach comparative semantics at the 5th African Linguistics School

Professor Veneeta Dayal will teach a course on comparative semantics at the 5th African Linguistics School (ALS5) at Rhodes University. From June 30 to July 13, the two-week African Linguistics School will take place at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Veneeta Dayal will teach a semantics course on noun phrases, entitled “Comparative Semantics: The Noun Phrase Across Languages.”

Veneeta Dayal presents on the interrogative left periphery at UMass Amherst, NYU, and the ILLC in Amsterdam

Professor Veneeta Dayal has given presentations on “The Fine Structure of the Interrogative Left Periphery” in the US and the Netherlands. In April, she gave a colloquium talk on this topic at UMass Amherst, as well as an invited presentation at a meeting of the Semantics Group at NYU.

Claire Bowern, Sarah Babinski, and Rikker Dockum present at the 5th Workshop on Sound Change at UC Davis

This past weekend (June 21-23), the 5th Workshop on Sound Change (WSC 5) took place at UC Davis. Yale Linguistics was represented by Professor Claire Bowern, PhD candidate Rikker Dockum, and graduate student Sarah Babinski, who all presented at the workshop. Claire Bowern gave a talk entitled “Language, Culture, and Australian Exceptionalism,” while Rikker and Sarah gave posters.

Sarah Babinski and Andy Zhang win student awards for ICPhS 2019

Graduate students Sarah Babinski and Muye (Andy) Zhang have won IPA Student Awards for their submissions to the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2019, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia from August 5-9.  The 49 awards granted for this Congress are awards by the International Phonetic Association for the submitted conference papers based on reviews, of 368 student submissions, by the IPA Committee on Conference Sponsorships and Student Awards.   

Jim Wood speaks at Princeton Symposium on Syntactic Theory (PSST)

On Friday, April 5th, Jim Wood spoke at the 2nd Princeton Symposium on Syntactic Theory (PSST), organized by Byron Ahn and Laura Kalin. The theme for the meeting is “counterexamples”. Jim Wood’s talk, entitled “Prepositions, Nominalization and Allosemy,” connects with this theme through the lens of his recent research on Icelandic deverbal event nouns, and what such nouns tell us about the interaction between syntax and lexical meaning.

Raffaella Zanuttini gives talk at Workshop in Honor of Richard S. Kayne

Raffaella Zanuttini gave an invited talk last week at a workshop at NYU entitled “Antisymmetry and Comparative Syntax: Celebrating 25 years of antisymmetry and 75 years of Richard S. Kayne,” more informally referred to as “RichieFest.” The workshop celebrate’s Richard Kayne’s 75th birthday, as well as the 25th anniversary of his highly influential 1994 monograph The Antisymmetry of Syntax.

Martín Fuchs and María Piñango publish paper on the cognitive forces underpinning grammaticalization paths

PhD candidate Martín Fuchs and Professor María Piñango recently published a paper in the proceedings of the last Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Their paper provides an account of the synchronic variation between the use of the Simple Present marker and the Present Progressive marker in the expression of the habitual reading in Modern Spanish.

Jim Wood gives invited talk at the European Dialect Syntax (Edisyn) Workshop IX

Prof. Jim Wood will give an invited talk at the ninth European Dialect Syntax Workshop (Edisyn IX) in Glasgow, Scotland. The title of his talk is “Microvariation and the set of possible grammars.” In it, he will discuss the work of the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project broadly, along with some specific results and case studies, including verbal ‘rather’, the ‘have yet to’ construction, personal datives and dative presentatives.

Pama-Nyungan lab members publish paper on forced alignment

Members of the Pama-Nyungan lab recently published a write-up of their results on forced alignment algorithms. Their paper on “A Robin Hood approach to forced alignment: English-trained algorithms and their use on Australian languages” was recently published in the proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. They show that for some purposes, English-trained models can be used without crucial loss of accuracy.

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