Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

  • The Sesquipeditor would like to thank the Newsletter Committee for producing last week's edition on short notice. In case you missed it, it is now archived HERE.
  • Congratulations!

    • Philip Hofmeister has accepted a post-doctoral position at UC-San Diego in the Center for Research in Language, where he'll be doing ERP research with Marta Kutas and Robert Kluender. He'll also be joining alums Roger Levy and Rob Malouf in San Diego, where he will try to stay out of the sun... His postdoc starts in January, 2008. Nice going, Philip!
    • Bruno Estigarribia has been selected for a Centennial TA Award, to be awarded at a lunch in mid-June. (Since 1989 the Centennial TA program has recognized and rewarded outstanding teaching by Stanford TAs in the Schools of Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, and Earth Sciences.) Congrats, Bruno!
  • Look Who's Talking

    • Alessandro Jaker is presenting a paper titled `Geminate Ejectives and Tonal Feet in Yellowknife Dogrib' at this weekend's Workshop on American Indigenous Languages, being held at UC Santa Barbara.
  • Introductions from our incoming Linguistics Ph.D. students:

    • Seung Kyung Kim (Ewha Women College)
      My main interests center on phonology and phonetics. Speech perception, loanword phonology, and phonological acquisition are some of the topics I find interesting. I am a Korean girl, born and raised in Korea. I enjoy drinking coffee (almost addicted).
    • Sven Lauer (University of Osnabrueck/University of Amsterdam)
      I was born in Germany, where I got my undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science. Before coming to Stanford this fall, I will be busy finishing my MSc in Logic at the University of Amsterdam. In the past years, my interests have mostly centered on formal [semantics and pragmatics] (naturally extending to certain issues in the philosophy of language). Things I have concerned myself with include the semantics of tense, aspect and modality; the foundations of formal pragmatics; lexical semantics and polysemy; and non-truth- conditional conventional meaning.
    • James McElvenny (University of Sydney)
      I am from Sydney, Australia. At the moment I am mainly interested in language change, in particular historical change and change in contact situations. I am also interested in syntax and fieldwork.
    • Kyu won Moon (Seoul National University)
      My name is Kyu won Moon, and I studied Korean Linguistics in Seoul National University in Korea. What interests me most right now is linguistic variation, language as a social strategy, language and power, and discourse analysis.
    • Robert Munro (University of Sydney)
      Within linguistics I am particularly interested in computational linguistics and modeling variation, ambiguity, gradience and probabilities in formal linguistic theory. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney in 2004, completing majors in Linguistics, Computer Science, Information Systems, English and Film Studies, then worked for two years on the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. When away from a desk I love travelling, especially by bicycle. I've cycled across Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa but not yet the Americas, which is something I hope to achieve during my time at Stanford.
    • Stephanie Shih (UC Berkeley)
      I hail from El Sobrante ('The Leftover') in the East Bay and am studying English, music, and linguistics at UC Berkeley. Within linguistics, I am particularly interested in phonologyspecially prosody, rhythm, and meter. My main research now analyzes text-setting in jazz bop swing, and I also have an ongoing project with a Northern Tiwa language, Picuris. When not doing phonology homework or text-setting research, I play jazz vibraphone and classical percussion, bake, coordinate WCCFL 26 registration, and drink tea from my thirty-kinds-and-counting tea collection.
    • Laura Smith (Wayne State University)
      I'm a native of Detroit and a graduate of Wayne State University. I work primarily in sociolinguistics, and my goals within that subfield include expanding the present understanding of AAVE through considering its regional and register variation, as well as its role in the construction of black identity. Other linguistic interests include English nativization and the shifting sources of prescriptive authority in post-colonial situations.
  • Stanford Blood Center: Shortage of O-, A-, B-, B+ and AB-. For an appointment: or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies.

Caught in the Act


John Beavers leads anti-war protest

Local friends of John Beavers (Stanford PhD 2006) are becoming concerned, as no one has heard from him in the last 48 hours. Rumor has it that, after the unsuccessful anti-war rally he organized in Washington DC (see picture), he was the subject of an `extraordinary rendition' by agents of SD-6, a secret agency operating within the CIA, who apparently delivered him to an unknown location where his `treatment' could not be monitored by conventional surveillance techniques. Professor Stanley Peters' lab is rumored to have recently developed new software that would overcome these limitations, based on the most recent results in `computational semantics', which neither the CIA nor Google (apparently) has access to. But this rumor could not be confirmed by the time this newsletter went to press. Anyone with information regarding John's whereabouts is urged to contact Jennifer Garner, acting coach for the Stanford women's gymnastics team. Her extension is x4-4075.


Linguistic Levity

The Way Children See Things!

    I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!
    My son Zachary, 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he'd dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So I fished it out and threw it in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said with a charming little smile, "We better throw this one out too then, 'cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago.
    On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a Note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."
    A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup to come out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "It's the minister, Mommy," the child said to her mother. Then she added, "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."
    A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, ! ! ! "What's the matter haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"
    A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit." "And why not, darling?" "You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."
    A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write and they won't let me talk!"
    A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama, look what I found", the boy called out." What have you got there, dear?" With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear

Ole Blue

A young farm lad from North Iowa goes off to college, but about 1/3 of the way through the semester, he has foolishly squandered away all of the money his parents gave him. Then he gets an idea. He calls his daddy. "Dad," he says, "you won't believe the wonders that modern education is coming up with! Why, they actually have a program here at State that will teach our dog Ole Blue how to talk!" "That's absolutely amazing," his father says. "How do I get him in that program?" "Just send him down here with $1,000" the boy says. "I'll get him into the course. So, his father sends the dog and the $1,000. About 2/3 way through the semester, the money runs out. The boy calls his father again. "So how's Ole Blue doing, son," his father asks." "Awesome, Dad, he's talking up a storm," he says, "but you just won't believe this - they've had such good results with this program that they've implemented a new one to teach the animals how to READ!" "READ," says his father, "No kidding! What do I have to do to get him in that program?" Just send $2,500, I'll get him in the class. His father sends the money. The boy now has a problem. At the end of the year, his father will find out that the dog can neither talk, nor read. So he shoots the dog. When he gets home at the end of the semester, his father is all excited. "Where's Ole Blue? I just can't wait to see him talk and read something!" "Dad," the boy says, "I have some grim news. Yesterday morning, just before we left to drive home, Ole Blue was in the living room kicked back in the recliner, reading the Wall Street Journal, like he usually does. Then he turned to me and asked, 'So, is your daddy still messing' around with that little redhead who lives in town?' The father says, "I hope you SHOT that SOB before he talks to your Mother!" "I sure did, Dad!" "That's my boy!" (The kid went on to be a successful lawyer.......)



  • Friday, 11 May
    • Mini-Seminar on Information in Logic and Philosophy

      12:00--15:00 in Cordura 100

      Speakers: Patrick Girard (Stanford), Jose Saguillo (UC Berkeley), Johan van Benthem (Stanford and University of Amsterdam), John Perry (Stanford), Jouko Vaananen (University of Amsterdam and University of Helsinki), Alexei Angelides (Stanford), and Sherri Roush (UC Berkeley).
    • Philosophy Department Colloquium

      15:30 in Bldg. 90:92Q

      Charles Parsons (Harvard University)
      Some Consequences of the Entanglement of Logic and Mathematics
    • Linguistics Department Colloquium

      15:30 in MJH 126

      Geoffrey Nunberg (UC Berkeley School of Information/CSLI)
      Having a word for it.
    • Weekly Social

      17:00 in the department lounge. Gourmet delights from the Social Committee.
  • Monday, 14 May
  • Tuesday, 15 May
    • CSLI Tea

      15:00 in the Cordura Hall Greenhouse
    • Symbolic Systems Distinguished Speaker Series

      17:00 in 420:040 (Psychology)

      Elizabeth Loftus (UC Irvine)
      What's the Matter with Memory?
  • Wednesday, 16 May
    • Psychology Developmental Brownbag

      12:00 in Jordan Hall 420:102

      Bruno Estigarribia
      English yes/no questions: A model integrating variation as a determinant of children's acquisition
    • Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop

      12:00 in MJH 126

      Jonathan Ginzburg (King's College)
      Resolving Fragments: A Theory of Context for Conversation
    • SRI AI Seminar Series

      16:00 in EJ228 (SRI International)

      Matt MacMahon (University of Texas at Austin)
      Walk the Talk: Connecting Language, Knowledge, and Action in Route Instructions
  • Friday, 18 May
    • Locical Methods in the Humanities

      12:00 in Bldg. 60:62J

      Jouko Vaananen (University of Amsterdam and University of Helsinki)
      Dependence Logic
    • Weekly Social

      16:00 in the department lounge. Gourmet delights from the QP Fest Committee!.

  • Saturday, 19 May



  • END OF THE YEAR PARTY is Saturday, June 9. Live Music by Creole Formation and Dead Tongues! You don't want to miss this event.
  • 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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May 11, 2007
Vol. 3, Issue 27

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design and Production Consultant:
Philip Hofmeister

Contributing Humor Editor:
Susan D. Fischer

Beth Levin, Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Newsletter Committee: Scott Grimm, Graham Katz, Ani Nenkova

Photographer: Gretchen Lantz

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut