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Department News

  • WECOL is coming up at Cal State Fresno (October 27-29) and Joan Bresnan is giving a plenary address on Predicting the Dative Alternation -- How and Why. Ivan Garcia-Alvarez (now teaching at University of Salford) is also presenting a paper titled Connected exceptives and nonmonotonic inference.

  • A full paragraph of Dan Jurafsky quote appeared in an October 11 article on text-to-speech technology in The International Herald Tribune. Check it out HERE.

  • Mea culpa, mea culpa... And multas gratias to the 11,412 readers (well, at least 4...) who wrote in to correct a typo in last week's Sesquipedalian, where it was reported that alumnus Paul Kroeber would be a commentator at a workshop on Comparative Austronesian Syntax at UCSD. Now the Sesquipeditor knows both Paul Kroeber ([kro:bər]; a Research Associate at Indiana University's Department of Anthropology specializing in Salishan languages and an alumnus of the University of Chicago) and our alum Paul Kroeger ([kre:gər]; Associate Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Applied Linguistics at SIL's Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL)). The Sesquipeditor must have just been in a Kroeby mood...

  • Although the Sesquipedalian declared a moratorium on `How I spent my summer' submissions, we've decided to include the following, since not all of you know Heriberto Avelino, our visiting phonetician, who responded to our original request, saying:

    Dear Sesquipedalian,

    Ok, you asked for it.
    Last summer I was invited to the Binational US-Mexico Meeting on Endangered Languages, organized by the new National Institute for Indigenous Languages of Mexico (INALI, by the acronym in Spanish). A government office dealing with all aspects of indigenous languages in the country and beyond.
    It was a very interesting and productive meeting, which brought together more than 160 researchers from both countries, community leaders, native speakers of dozens of Indigenous languages from Mexico.
    The goals of the Meeting were to organize a central committee and several commissions which are going to start working on a broad spectra of issues related to Indigenous Languages from Mexico, from language planning, research and documentation, archiving, technology to publications. There were a number of familiar names around, Joan Maling, Lyle Campbell, Heidi Johnson and Terry Kaufman among others.
    I had the opportunity to be elected to the committee for language policies and planning.
    I presented two talks at the National School of Anthropology and at the Linguistics Department of National Institute of Anthropology and History.
    *However, my most important accomplishment of the Summer -- at least regarding domestic duties -- was that my wife, Adriana Cruz, obtained her PhD from the Department of World Arts and Cultures from UCLA.

    [Editor's Note: If you haven't met Heriberto yet, you should introduce yourself. His office is right opposite Stanley's...]

  • Recent revelations lead to the conclusion that notwithstanding Aristotle's claims to the contrary A does not equal A. As reported on his own webpage, our recent alumnus Lev Blumenfeld turns out not to be Lev Blumenfeld. Sesquiped has also recently learned that Department Chair and English verb classist extraordinaire Beth Levin is neither Beth Levin, Beth Levin, nor Beth Levin (despite the tidiness of her office). More evidence against Aristotle's position: Penny Eckert is neither Penny Eckert, Penny Eckert, nor Penny Eckert, though the last of these shares certain nononomastic properties with our own Penny Eckert, e.g. both have PhDs and both are into social construction! Imagine a coauthored paper -- how do they decide who would be first author? Or would it be by The Penny Eckerts? The Pennies Eckert? These puzzling observations notwithstanding, it appears to be true that Andrew Koontz-Garboden, who deserves the credit (or blame) for this entire line of research, is still Andrew Koontz-Garboden. No doubt, better semantic theories will explain data like these some day...

    [Editor's Note: Or not...]

  • Stanford Blood Center: Shortage of everything. For an appointment: or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies.

  • And after (or before) you've contributed blood, consider contributing something to the Sesquipedalian. Just email to


Caught in the Act

The Social Committee

The 2006 Social Committee

Today's social being planned with the utmost care by the Department Social Committee, where members discuss the proper way to serve beet sticks, olives, pita bread, hummus, and turnip sticks. Last Friday's argument turned into a drunken brawl (one faculty member and two students rushed to the ER), after which it was agreed that the Social Committee's budget had to be increased (Final Vote: 23 to 0, with the three casualities abstaining), so it is with bated breath that we await the 3-star delights that we're confident will appear at today's Social. Everyone be sure to come! (still - no pressure on the Social Committee)

By the way, last Friday's turnip/jicama controversy is resolved HERE.


From the Sesquipedalian Archives - In our pages 50 years ago:

1951 Social Committee

The 1956 Social Committee

One of the 1956 socials being planned with the utmost care by the United Social Board (which became known as the `Department Social Committee' after the opening of Chez Panisse in 1971), where members discuss the proper way to prepare lobster consomme using only a pair of tongs and some charcoal. Only Glen van der Burghi (the one without a tie) would ever manage to graduate after completing his seminal punctuation thesis The Evolution of Apostrophes in Eastern Uzbekistan. (still - no pressure on the Social Committee)


Letters to the Editor

Dear Sesquip,

Here's an idea: do you think people would have any enthusiasm for posting summaries and/or reviews of talks (not of a particularly critical nature, but perhaps containing information or opinions not belonging to the speaker), so that those of us who could not attend them could find out what they were about? One alternative that might have a similar effect is to ask speakers if they have a handout our powerpoint presentation that they would be willing to have a link to through the sesquiped, so that it could be a source for not just information about future events, but also past ones? Just a not very well thought out thought...

Laura Staum (

[Editor's Reply: Dunno... Let's see what readers think.]




    Speech Lunch
    12:00-13:00. MJH 126
    (meet at 11:55 at the Thai Cafe (Bldg. 420 basement).

    Gautam Vallabha (Stanford Psychology)
    Perceptuomotor biases in vowel imitation.

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

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

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


    Berkeley Linguistics Department Colloquium
    16:00 -- 17:30. 182 Dwinelle Hall. (UC Berkeley)

    Mary Paster (Pomona College)
    Phonologically Conditioned Suppletive Allomorphy: Cross-Linguistic Results and Theoretical Consequences.


    NLaSP (Natural Language and Speech) Colloquium
    16:15pm -- 17:30pm. Bldg 200, Rm. 205.

    Stuart Shieber (Harvard University)
    Developments in Synchronous Grammars

    SLSG (Statistical Learning Study Group) Meeting
    17:30. MJH 126

    Inbal Arnon and Liz Coppock will lead a discussion about using statistical learning to study rule formation and generalization in children and adults.


    The Academic Job Search: An Inside Look
    Career Development Center panel including Beth Levin
    12:00-13:30. Graduate Student Center, Havanna Room

    Stanford Phonology Workshop
    16:00. MJH 126

    A Discussion of ``Variation as accessing `non-optimal' candidates: A rank-ordering model of EVAL'' by Andries Coetzee.

    Symbolic Systems Forum
    16:15. Bldg. 380, Room 380C

    Stuart Shieber (CS, Harvard University)
    Resurrecting the Turing Test

    SPLaT (Stanford Psychology of Language Tea)
    17:15. MJH 126
    (munchies first; talk starts at 17:30)

    Dimitri Manin
    Predictability of word in context and information rate in natural language


    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].

    Friday Cognitive Seminar (Psychology Department)
    15:15. Jordan Hall 420, Room 050

    Casey Williams Learning to listen ahead in Spanish: First language learners are more efficient than second language learners in online sentence processing

    Linguistics Department Colloquium
    15:30pm. MJH 126

    Undergraduate VPUE research presentations
    5 presentations by Pat Callier and Cole Paulson, Doug Kenter, Rafe Kinsey, Gabe Recchia, and Bea Sanford

    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.

  • TREND (TRilateral weekEND) is coming. Mark your calendars!
    TREND includes presentations by students and faculty from Stanford, UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley.

    Saturday, 18 November
    P-TREND: a one-day workshop on phonetics and phonology
    Sunday, 19 November
    S-TREND: a one-day workshop on syntax and semantics
    370 Dwinelle Hall (UC Berkeley)


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October 13 2006
Vol. 3, Issue 4

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design: Philip Hofmeister

Production Consultant: Philip Hofmeister

Senior Reporter: Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Reporters: Philip Hofmeister, Beth Levin

Photographer: Gretchen Lantz

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut