The newsletter of The Department of Linguistics, Stanford University

The Stanford Linguistics Log

Volume I, Issue I
September 27, 2004

Welcome to the first issue of what we hope will be a regular newsletter.
Please keep news items coming to Melanie.

Summer Happenings | Welcome Party | New Faces | Autumn 2004 Colloquia | Upcoming Events | Upcoming Conferences

Summer Happenings

Stanford Linguists have enjoyed a busy summer.
Notes from the Farm and the field:

Rebecca Greene: I have been in Tokyo all summer. I did a 6-week Japanese language course at International Christian University, and last week I went to Hirosaki in Northern Japan to research attitudes toward the local dialect there, for my first qp.

Arnold Zwicky: I spent the summer here in Palo Alto (except for a weekend in Santa Cruz for a shapenote singing convention), mostly getting my life back into order after so many deranged years, but also enjoying my new granddaughter, Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky, and working with various graduate students: Liz Coppock, Bruno Estigarribia, and Laura Staum, plus Luc Baronian's and Veronica Gerassimova's dissertations, and occasional meetings with a number of others. For fun, I did occasional postings to the American Dialect Society mailing list and to the Language Log.

Chris Manning: Dan Jurafsky, Roger Levy and a bunch of other people from the Natural Language Processing Group traveled to Barcelona for the 2004 meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, held as an event at Forum Barcelona 2004. We presented several papers on grammar induction, discontinuous dependencies, parsing, and joint learning. And we took in a bit of Barcelona: I chose a hotel so that I had to walk past Casa Batllo, my favorite Gaudi building, every morning on the way to the metro.... More recently, I have been spending my days at Legoland, San Diego and Stanford Sierra Camp.

Michael Deeringer: I've spent the majority of the summer interning at CSLI, listening to meetings all day. Peppered here and there were visits to Sacramento and Southern California to visit the family, including my 10-month-old niece, and I've been reading tons on my own time, so I've been keeping myself busy. Coolest moments thus far: 4th of July on a beach in Ventura, attending a 50th birthday party fit for royalty, and moving into a new apartment!

Lauren Hall-Lew: This summer I spent most of my time with Arizona cattle ranchers! I drove a lot of dirt roads and long stretches of interstate and ended up with about 20 hours of interviews that I've spent the rest of the summer analyzing. I've been revising my previous work on Arizona dialect and working on a joint paper with Mary Rose for NWAV33 later this month.

In other news I'm a TA/RA for John Rickford's Sophomore College class this month. We've been preparing all summer for a packed three weeks of fieldtrips and guest speakers, which means I've gotten to know some great people in the Stanford and broader Bay Area community. As I write this, the program begins tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to my first TA experience.

Throughout the summer I've also been learning and brainstorming about a project on automatic question answering headed by Dan Jurafsky and the teams at the University of Colorado and Columbia University. The project's focus is on detecting opinion questions, and it's probably no surprise that I've been interested in the detection of opinion-holders, and related questions of speak attribution.

And that, plus a few good novels and many good movies, has been my summer '04.

Doug Ball: I went to the LFG '04 Conference in Christchurch. Despite the conference being so far away from the Bay Area, I caught up with a few current students, a few faculty members, and several former students, in addition to seeing the beautiful hometown of Melanie Owens and Lis Norcliffe.

Part of my summer was spent "holed up in the office" looking at argument realization in several Austronesian languages, principally Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia (working with Beth Levin, Peter Sells, and Melanie Owens). I'm now much familiar with the Tagalog voice system than I was at the beginning of the summer.

Micha Rinkus: This is me on the streets of Moscow distributing a semantics survey on English loanwords in Russian. It was smooth sailing once I stopped taking visibly drunk applicants (sample bias?).


Julie Sweetland: I worked with John and Tommy Grano on our annotated bibliography on vernaculars and education. A version of it should appear by mid-September in Journal of English Linguistics. I also wrote a lot of lesson plans for my dissertation project.

Tom Wasow: I spent much of the summer working on a corpus study of the factors that influence the presence vs. absence of relativizers in English non-subject relative clauses. That is, what leads someone to say 'the book I've been reading' as opposed to 'the book that I've been reading' (or 'the book which I've been reading')? In collaboration with Dave Orr, a Symbolic Systems undergraduate, and Florian Jaeger, a Linguistics graduate student, I have been extracting and analyzing data on this phenomenon from the Switchboard corpus, a richly annotated collection of transcripts of telephone conversations. We have found quite a number of linguistic factors that correlate with the presence or absence of relativizers. We are still in the process of data analysis, and we are looking for explanations of the correlations we have found. At the end of August, I gave a talk about the preliminary results at a workshop on empirical syntax at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Dave, Florian, and I are continuing to work on this and plan to include a paper on it in an anthology coming out of the Berlin workshop.

Phil Hubbard: Besides moving out of my office in 460 (sigh) here are some of the things I did this summer: In July I went to a 4-day workshop at Berkeley taught by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) on conducting and rating oral proficiency interviews. I had the worst cold of my life and lost my voice. It was fun. In early September, I went to the EuroCALL (European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning) conference in Vienna and presented a paper on "Using Google as a Tool for Writing Instruction" and to Antwerp for the 11th International CALL Conference where I presented "Some Subject, Treatment, and Data Collection Trends in Current CALL Research."

Mary Rose: I've mainly been holed up in my office, text-gridding sound files in praat in preparation for measuring vowels - in my interviews of elders in rural Wisconsin. I've also been working with Lauren on our cool project comparing dialect of different types who work with cows - ranchers in Arizona vs. dairy farmers in Wisconsin. I've also been growing a big belly - which will deflate sometime around November 1.

Joan Bresnan: During the summer of 2004 I worked with junior Anna Cueni on a VPUE project on quantitative syntax. I also worked with the Paraphrase Link group at Stanford (Tom Wasow, Annie Zaenen, Tatiana Nikitina, Neal Snider, and Anna Cueni). I attended the LFG Winterschool in Christchurch, where I gave an invited evening lecture, "Explaining Syntactic Variation: Two Approaches to the Dative Alternation". I also attended the LFG'04 conference and business meeting, where the proposal to hold LFG 2007 at Stanford in conjunction with the LSA Summer Institute was enthusiastically approved.

Finally, I did two bike tours with my partner Marianne: in July I toured the Northland of New Zealand (around 250 miles), and in August I rode down the coast of California from Portola Valley to Santa Barbara (335 miles). I was pleased to be on the bicycle again after doing so many logistic regressions...

Bruno Estigarribia: During the summer I was involved in two projects. With Eve, we are co-writing a couple of papers on acquisition of labels for objects and names for their properties. We want to know how parents present labels and properties, how they use gesture in combination with speech and how they manage the kids' attention. With Arnold, I did a critical bibliography of auxiliariless and subjectless questions in English, work that I presented in the summer workshop. I also went to Yosemite and Wawona, and to Big Sur, got bitten by a tick, learned a lot about California flowers, and got my permanent resident card!


Annual Autumn Welcome Party
Friday, October 1,~ 4:45 pm (following the afternoon colloquium) to ~6:30 pm
Courtyard between buildings 460 and 420

We are delighted to introduce new
Grad Students, Postdocs, and Visiting Researchers:

Inbal Arnon
From the University of Edinburgh, with interests in psycholinguistics and language acquisition
Alex Jaker
University of Minnesota, interested in phonology, morphology, and LFG
Kevin Ryan
UC Berkeley; phonology, poetics, morphology, morphosyntax, computational linguistics, Classical Indology
Harry Tily
Keio University; computational linguistics (using it to explore linguistic universals) and acquisition more generally
Laura Whitton
University of Pennsylvania; pragmatics, semantics, acquisition of syntax, language processing, language change and compling.
Yuan Zhao
Peking University; syntactic theories, Chinese argument structure, natural language processing
Chizuru Ito
Osaka University; HPSG, Japanese linguistics, and lexical semantics
Jason Brenier
Visiting from University of Colorado, Boulder
Marie-Catherine de Marneffe
Visiting from University of Louvain
Gaetanelle Gilquin
Visiting from University of Louvain
Rebecca Scarborough
Mellon Postdoctoral fellow, previously from UCLA
Huihsin Tseng
Visiting from University of Colorado, Boulder
Jiahong Yuan
Postdoctoral fellow, previously from Cornell University

... and welcome back from India, Ashwini and baby daughter, Iravati!

Autumn 2004 Colloquia

Friday, October 8, 3:30pm, MJH Rm 126:
Rebecca Scarborough (Stanford)
"Confusability and Contrast: Lexical Effects on Coarticulation"

Friday, October 29, 3:30pm, MJH Rm 126:
Haj Ross (University of North Texas)
"The Grammar of Paths"
(cosponsored with the Poetics Workshop, Semantics Workshop,
and Syntax Workshop)

Friday, November 19, 3:30pm, MJH Rm 126:
Alice Harris (SUNY Stony Brook)
"Emergence and Renewal of Morphological Classes"

Upcoming Events

Friday, October 1, 3:30pm, MJH Rm 126:
Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop:
Lera Boroditsky (Stanford)
"How the Languages We Speak Shape the Way We Think"

Friday, October 7, 10am, MJH Rm 126:
Bruno Estigarribia gives a dry run of a talk for the 8th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium on Oct 17th on direct object clitic doubling in Spanish.

Thursday, October 21, noon, MJH Rm 126:
Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop:
David Beaver, Itamar Francez, Ivan Garcia-Alvarez, Dmitri Levinson (Stanford) Line Mikkelsen (University of California, Berkeley)
"Existentials: From Angst to Harmony?"

Upcoming Conferences

First Annual Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Cultural and Social Anthropology
Anthropology of the State: the State of Anthropology
Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9, 2005

This graduate student conference aims to bring together students and professors from the San Francisco Bay area and beyond in the interests of interdisciplinary research, with particular regard to anthropology and cultural studies.

Please send submissions (as well as inquiries) by email to:, either included in the body of the email message or as an email attachment (in Word DOC or RTF format).
Deadline for 100-150 word abstracts: no later than January 1, 2005

31st Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society
To be held February 18-20, 2005