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Department News

  • [NOT HUMOR] Don't let a photocopier steal your identity! Check out the story.
  • Department Alum Jim Gee, in a talk this week given at Western Michigan University, says video games belong in the classroom. Read the press release HERE.
  • Congratulations!

    • Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (for you newbies: that's the alum formerly and presently known as `KCat', pronounced ['ke:kæt]) has accepted a tenure-track position, joining our own Judith Tonhauser in the Linguistics Department at The Ohio State University. (Always remember to use the definite article when referring to this institution, for reasons that completely elude the Sesquipeditor. Perhaps Stacy or Jason will write in to edify the rest of us concerning this odd naming practice...)
    • Ashwini Deo has accepted a `ladder' appointment in the Yale University Linguistics Department. No doubt this means that she will climb to ever higher linguistic glory in the course of her Yale career. Please note that the `the' in `the Yale University Linguistic Department' is departmental -- no need to start saying `The Yale University'.
    • Emily Bender (U. Washington) was recently awarded an NSF Presidential Early Career Award for her project: The Grammar Matrix: Computational Linguistic Typology. Here's part of what NSF says about it:

      • With this CAREER award, Dr. Emily Bender aims to develop a grammar customization system that combines a cross-linguistic core grammar with a series of `libraries' specifying alternate ways of realizing different linguistic subsystems that vary across languages (e.g., the expression of tense and aspect, coordination, or negation). This system will allow linguists to easily customize a small working grammar for a particular language, which they can then use as a test-bed for further linguistic investigation.
    • And Graham Katz, our visiting semanticist, has accepted a tenure-track position at Georgetown University, joining recent Stanford alum Rob Podesva.
    Congratulations to all you folks! (More job news to follow soon...)
  • The Stanford Blood Center has a shortage of all types. For an appointment, goto or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies.

Caught in the Act


Susanne Gahl at the Probalistic Grammar Kickoff

The Dynamics of Probabilistic Grammar Kickoff event was lots of fun -- engaging dialogue throughout. Here's Susanne Gahl (U. Chicago) arguing that grammar has to be probabilistic...


Linguistic Levity

  • Sesquisayings from our Humorist

    • A dog under any other coat is still a dog.
    • A stop-gap measure is better than no gap at all.
    • A lot of these arguments are fetious.
    • A problem swept under the table occasionally comes home to roost.
  • New Zealand Dialect Alert: Nikhila found this on her recent trip to NZ. Any idea what it means? And what does it have to do with Memphis (Egypt or Tennessee)?


  • As we all know, at some point we will come face to face with the fact that it may be time to relocate. The big question is where? Here are some tips.

    • You can live in Phoenix, Arizona where.....

      1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
      2. You've experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
      3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
      4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
      5. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.
      6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
    • You can Live in California where...

      1. You make over $250,000 a year and you still can't afford to buy a house.
      2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
      3. You know how to eat an artichoke.
      4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.
      5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
    • You can Live in New York City where...

      1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
      2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.
      3. You think Central Park is "nature,"
      4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
      5. You've worn out a car horn.
      6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.
    • You can Live in Maine where...

      1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco.
      2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
      3. You have more than one recipe for moose.
      4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
      5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.
    • You can Live in the Deep South where...

      1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
      2. "y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.
      3. "He needed killin' " is a valid defense.
      4. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Sue, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
    • You can live in Colorado where...

      1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike on top of your $500 car.
      2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and he stops at the day care center.
      3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.
      4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.
    • You can live in the Midwest where...

      1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
      2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
      3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
      4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"
      5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"
    • OR, You can live in Florida where..

      1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
      2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind -- even houses and cars.
      3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
      4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
      5. Cars in front of you are often driven by apparently headless people.


    • CSLI Tea

      15:00 in the Cordura Hall Greenhouse




  • 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 16, 2007
Vol. 3, Issue 21

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design and Production Consultant:
Philip Hofmeister

Contributing Humor Editor:
Susan D. Fischer
Humorist: Martin Kay

Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Newsletter Committee: Scott Grimm, Graham Katz, Ani Nenkova

Photographer: Penny Eckert

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut