Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

  • Undergraduate Dinner Panel

    Everyone enjoyed themselves (and apparently ate a lot of Indian Food) at our recent undergraduate linguistics event. People were excited about VPUE Summer Internships and the upcoming Linguistic Institute, but also about the talks presented by some of our UG majors. These included:

    • Tracy Conner: Dialect difference on Myspace and Facebook
    • Nick Romero: Gamer speak, language and status
    • Cole Paulson: Bilingual Laughter/Changes in religious discourse in praise music
  • Did anyone ever mention that Tom Wasow (was elected to and) has joined the LSA Executive Committee, as of this year? We hereby so mention. Congrats, Tom!
  • Look Who's Talking

    • Mary Rose (Ohio State) and Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (U. Michigan) are both giving talks in York this week (That's York as in Yorkshire, not Canada, for you newbies. The latter would be clearly identified as York U. (Toronto). Along similar lines, in case it's not clear, a simple reference to Cambridge always means the original Cambridge (i.e. the one in England), not its US namesake... OK. Another burning scholarly issue resolved by the New Sesquipedalian... You're welcome!
    • John Beavers (Georgetown U.) gave a talk at the University of Kentucky on Feb 23rd, called "Semantic Prominence in the Syntax: A Case Study in English Object/Oblique Alternations". He's also presenting at the upcoming Georgetown University Round Table (March 10th): "Predicting argument realization from preposition semantics".
    • And those CUNY papers. Lots of Stanford folks and lots of alums:

      • Jennifer E. Arnold and Shin-Yi C. Lao
        Put in the object position... something previously unmentioned: Heavy-NP-shifting affects on-line reference comprehension
      • Vera Demberg, Frank Keller and Roger Levy
        Eye-tracking Evidence for Frequency and Integration Cost Effects in Corpus Data
      • Evelina Fedorenko, Aniruddh Patel, Daniel Casasanto, Jon Winawer and Edward Gibson
        Structural integration in language and music: A shared system.
      • T. Florian Jaeger and Neal Snider
        Surprisal and Cumulativity in Syntactic Priming - Evidence for Implicit Learning
      • Roger Levy, Evelina Fedorenko and Edward Gibson
        The syntactic complexity of Russian relative clauses
      • Harry Tily, Inbal Arnon, Joan Bresnan, Anubha Kothari and Neal Snider
        What makes a construction predictable? Using semantic and contextual cues to better model phonetic reduction
      • Evelina Fedorenko and Roger Levy
        Information structure and word order in Russian sentence comprehension
      • Philip Hofmeister
        Memory Retrieval in Dependency Processing
      • Roger Levy and Frank Keller
        Sentence position and time-course in expectation-based processing of final verbs
      • Laura Staum and Ivan Sag
        Multiple That: A strategy for reducing integration costs
    • And at WCCFL:

      • Phonological constraints on constituent ordering
        Arto Anttila
      • A diachronic account of English deverbal nominals
        Stephen Wechsler
      • Object-sharing as symmetric sharing: Evidence from serial verb constructions and predicate clefting
        Ken Hiraiwa and Adams Bodomo
      • Long-distance dependencies in Tagalog: The case for raising
        Veronica Gerassimova and Peter Sells
  • Stanford Blood Center: Shortage of all types. For an appointment, go to or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies.


Caught in the Act


Spare the Staff; Spoil the ...

It's been a tough week around the department, with all the old furniture begin ripped out and the new furniture being installed (eventually). Here's Shami and Nikhila pondering the main office transition, where apparently the Chair's office, seen in the background, was temporarily turned into a blue psychedelic den playing Iron Butterfly dvds. Why is Nikhila smiling?...


Linguistic Levity


It's widely believed that so-called `trace theory' was first used by our own Tom Wasow, whose 1972 dissertation thanks Peter Culicover for the idea. But it turns out that syntactic traces (at least wh-traces) were invented at least 125 years earlier, given the recent discovery of S.W. Clark's manuscript, shown above. [credit: David Dowty's webpage] It is important to recognize that S.W. is not related to either H.H. or E.V. Clark, neither of whom adheres to any form of trace theory, as far as anyone in the department has been able to discern [e]...



    • Berkeley Institute of Cognitive and Brain Seminar

      11:00 in Tolman 5101 (UC Berkeley)

      Lotfi Zadeh (UC Berkeley)
      A Natural-Language-Based Computational Theory of Perceptions (CTP) (abstract)
    • SocioLunch

      12:30 in MJH 110 (the Former Ugly Dark Room)
    • Berkeley Syntax and Semantics Circle

      14:30-16:00 in 233 Dwinelle Hall (UC Berkeley)

      David Allison will present a talk on his research on automatic document classification.
    • Weekly Social

      17:00 in the department lounge. Gourmet delights from the Social Committee.

    • CSLI Tea

      15:00 in the Cordura Hall Greenhouse
    • UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Colloquium

      16:00 in 210 Humanities 1 (UC Santa Cruz)

      Daniel L. Everett (Illinois State University)
      The nature and nurture of grammar. (abstract)
    • SRI AI Seminar Series

      15:00pm in EK255 (SRI International)

      Mark Greaves (Vulcan, Inc. - and formerly CSLI)
      Knowledge Representation in Practice: Project Halo and the Semantic Web

    • Department Open House

    • Department Lunch

      12:00 - 13:00 in MJH 126

      Come meet the prospective students
    • Psychology Department Colloquium

      15:45 in Jordan Hall (420:041; Psychology)

      Helen Neville (University of Oregon)
    • Party in Honor of Prospective Students

      For all grad students, prospective students, and faculty:
      In Cordura Hall, Room 100

      18:30 -- Dinner
      20:00 -- Live music by Dead Tongues, the Linguistic Department's unofficial rock band.

    • SocioLunch

      12:30 in MJH 110 (the former Ugly Dark Room)
    • Friday Cognitive Seminar (Psychology)

      15:15 in Jordan Hall (Bldg. 420), room 050

      • Steve Flusberg: Thinking about thinking about thinking: language, space, and folk psychology
      • Jeremy Glick: Trigrams, ah, ah, ah: Counting the way towards Bayesian connectionism with word segmentation.
      • Daniel Sternberg: Causality as context in implicit contingency learning
    • Linguistics Department Colloquium

      15:30 in MJH 126

      John McCarthy (U. Mass.)
      Getting to Optimality (abstract)
    • UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Colloquium

      16:00 in Humanities 202 (UC Santa Cruz)

      Penny Eckert (Stanford U.)
      Title: The Sound of Gender: Beyond the Linguistic Binary
    • Weekly Social

      17:00 in the department lounge. Gourmet delights from the Social Committee.



  • Neal Snider at SPLaT
    Thursday, March 15, 2007.

    Friday, March 16, 2007.
  • For local linguistic events, always consult the Department's event page, available RIGHT HERE

  • Got broader interests? The New Sesquipedalian recommends reading or even subscribing to the CSLI Calendar, available HERE.

  • What's happening at UC Santa Cruz? Find out HERE.

  • What's going on at UC Berkeley? Check it out HERE.


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March 2, 2007
Vol. 3, Issue 19

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design and Production Consultant:
Philip Hofmeister

Contributing Humor Editor:
Susan D. Fischer

Newsletter Committee: Scott Grimm, Graham Katz, Ani Nenkova

Photographer: Dan Jurafsky, not Philip Hofmeister

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut