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Department News

  • Brook Lillehaugen, visiting faculty in our department last year, has taken a position as a Researcher in Mexico City. You can reach her at:

    Instituto de Investigaciones Filologicas
    Seminario de Lenguas Indigenas
    Circuito Mario de la Cueva
    Ciudad Universitaria, 04510
    Mexico, D.F.


  • If you're not on ling-dept, you might have missed Penny Eckert's pointer to Scott Kiesling's post to Linganth, entitled Malaysia to Levy Fines for Poor Speech, now available HERE.

  • Aha! Dmitry Levinson's work and Paul Kiparsky's work were sighted bing cited in last week's UMass newsletter.

  • Tom Wasow, linguist by day and Vice President of the the nonprofit Community Working Group by night?, was cited in the Stanford Daily on the construction of a new `Opportunity Center' for the homeless. Check it out HERE.

  • Overheard on the first day of Ling 1 (Introduction to Linguistics):

    `I've been waiting my whole life to take Linguistics!'

    [Editor's Note: No kidding?]

  • Dmitry Levinson presented a paper in Antwerp at Chronos 7 (Colloque international sur la temporalité verbale, les aspects, les modes et la modalité) entitled Is topic time needed to account for Russian aspect?

  • Tanya Nikitina presented her paper Syntax of nonfinite clauses in Wan at the 2nd Conference on the Syntax of the World's Languages (SWL 2) in Lancaster before arriving at Chronos 7, where she presented a paper on Time reference of aspectual forms in Wan.

  • Peter Sells and Doug Ball are off at UC San Diego this weekend to attend a workshop on Comparative Austronesian Syntax, where Peter will be a commentator on papers by Joseph Sabbagh and Edith Aldridge. Alumnus Paul Kroeber will also be a commentator there. Stanford Austronesianists rock!

  • Dan Jurafsky was coauthor of three posters at Interspeech 2006. Yuan Zhao was a coauthor of one of them: Detection of Word Fragments in Mandarin Telephone Conversation. Dan's other posters (coauthored by various Stanford and non-Stanford folks) were: Have We Met? MDP Based Speaker ID for Robot Dialogue and Limitations of MLLR Adaptation with Spanish-Accented English: An Error Analysis

  • Ani Nenkova also presented a paper at Interspeech 2006, called Summarization Evaluation for Text and Speech: Issues and Approaches.


Caught in the Act

The Social Committee

The Social Committee

[Editor's Note: Here they are again... the Social Committee still burning the midnight oil. We caught them again planning haute cuisine for today's social. Move over, Jesse Cool! (still no pressure)]


From the Sesquipedalian Archives

[First published - October 9, 1992]:

Overheard in actual linguistics classes:
  • `If I had to go to my grave defending that that-deletion occurs at LF, I would not die a very happy man.'

  • `Is everyone happy with this? Well, maybe `happy' is the wrong word-- has everyone copied this onto a piece of paper?'

  • `Of course I meant `sesquidecennium', not `sesuidecennum'.'

[First published - October 16, 1992]:
    This week, the official department buzzword is `ulotrichous.' Please use it every chance you get this week. If you can't think of anything you can describe with this word, you might try looking in the department refrigerator at some of those leftover lunches that have long since gone to their reward... (although, in all honesty, your editor could also be described as ulotrichous.)

    `The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century.'

    - Vice President Dan Quayle (The New Yorker, October 10, 1988, p.102).

Letters to the Editor

From: Dani Rowan (
To: "Sesqui pedalian" (
Subject: Re: Announcing the New Sesquipedalian
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 20:27:03 -0600

Hi, I've been getting some of your emails about your newsletter, and I fear they have gone astray. Though I, too, am a linguistics enthusiast, I am not who you are looking for! I think you mean to send these to (the address on your website), not my email address. Just a heads up!

[Editor's Note: Please be careful in addressing email to the sesquipeditor, whose account name is sesquip, not sesquiped. Please also avoid sesquipede, sesqui, sesquipeditor, sesquipededitor, sesquipedalian, sesquipedophile, etc....]



Dear Department,

It's the beginning of the academic year, and people are having trouble finding things in the library. The Sesquipedalian is proud to reprint this email from our recent grad John Beavers (with his permission, of course) about this problem.

The Sesquipeditor

Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 14:25:32 -0800 (PST)
From: John Beavers
Subject: library recall etiquette

Now that the academic year is underway, some people in the department have already been hit with strings of library book recalls. At the request of one such beleaguered grad student (who I will refer to simply as Andrew K.-G.), I thought I'd send a gentle reminder to new people about the usual etiquette for recalling library books. (Note that this etiquette is not universally supported, and in fact a vigorous opposition was led last year by a grad student who I will refer to simply as A. Koontz-Garboden, who at the time hadn't suffered any recalls).

In general, if you're looking for a linguistics book in the library that you desperately need and it's not there, chances are that (i) someone in the department has it (ii) someone in the department has a personal copy (iii) a copy exists in the department library. While the library does allow you to recall books, it means that someone who may also really need it has to return it rather promptly, perhaps before they're finished. To minimize the hassle, it's considered polite to first check the department library, and if it's not there to then send out an email to the entire department ( requesting a copy of the book if anyone has it, either to share the library copy or to borrow someone's personal copy. If you still can't find the book, then consider a recall.

Now, something everyone should be aware of: it *IS* possible to find out who has a book out if your needs for the book can be met `by a brief check of a quotation, citation, etc., in that item in which case the borrower's name, telephone number and/or electronic mail address will be disclosed to any member of the Stanford University community... UNLESS the borrower has on file, with the Privileges Office, a signed request for non-disclosure.' (http://library/geninfo/circpol.html#disclose)

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with people finding out I have a book, thus avoiding nasty recall wars, although I'm quite dismayed that disclosure rather than non-disclosure is the default option with the library. If you find this (as I do) to be an invasion of your privacy feel free to email the Library Privileges Office and tell them so (




    Speech Lunch
    First meeting of the year
    12:00-13:00 in the Phonetics Lab (Bldg. 420 basement).
    (Try to arrive a couple minutes early to avoid the long noon line at the Thai Cafe).

    Logical Methods in the Humanities
    12:00. Bldg. 90, room 92Q
    John McCarthy (Stanford Computer Science)
    Formalizing common sense in mathematical logic

    Weekly Social
    16:00. In the department lounge.


    UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Colloquium
    16:00. Baobab Lounge, Merrill College (UC Santa Cruz)

    Masha Polinsky (UCSD/Harvard University)
    Why 'want' is special: A new perspective on an old problem.


    Syntax Lunch.
    12:00. MJH Rm. 126
    Bring your own lunch; share your interests; talk syntax; all welcome.

    [Editor's Note: We have Syntax Workshop, too... This isn't that.]


    SLSG (Statistical Learning Study Group) Meeting
    17:00. MJH Rm. 126

    Michael Ramscar will lead a discussion about probablistic aspects of cognition and general learning models.

    [Editor's Note: Linguists are reminded to ask Professor Ramscar to slow down about every 5.23 (p < .005) minutes...]


    Stanford Phonology Workshop
    16:00. MJH Room 126

    A Discussion of `Osage fills the gap: The quantity insensitive iamb and the typology of feet', by Daniel Altshuler. Paper available at:


    Speech Lunch

    12:00-13:00 in the Phonetics Lab (Bldg. 420 basement).
    (Try to arrive a couple minutes early to avoid the long noon line at the Thai Cafe). Topic to be announced [watch this space].

    Stanford Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop: "The Construction of Meaning"
    15:30pm. MJH Rm. 126

    Graham Katz (Stanford University)
    Against a neo-Davidsonian account of stative verbs

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



  • For local linguistic events, always consult the Department's event page, available RIGHT HERE

  • Got broader interests? The New Sesquiped 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.


Want to contribute information? Want to be a reporter? Want to see something appear here regularly? Want to be a regular columnist? Want to take over running the entire operation? Contribute something at the top of this page or write directly to


October 6 2006
Vol. 3, Issue 3

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design: Philip Hofmeister

Production Consultant: Philip Hofmeister

Senior Reporter: Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Reporters: Lauren Hall-Lew, Beth Levin, Arnold Zwicky

Photographer: Gretchen Lantz

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut