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Department News

  • Recent alum John Beavers and PhD student Andrew Koontz-Garboden are kicking ass at a mini-workshop on dialectology to take place Nov. 10th at Georgetown University. Their talk deals with pronouns in colloquial varieties of American English (on which see also their recent Linguistic Inquiry squib `A Universal Pronoun in English?', preprint available HERE).

  • Overheard at the Kayelemetrics demonstration on 10/23/06:
    `Look at that mucus! That's beautiful!' --Heriberto Avelino.

  • 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

Peter, Mats, and

The Three Stooges?

Here's our Grad Advisor and Institute Director -- Professor Peter Sells -- once again caught in the act in 1982 doing, once again, we're not sure what, with Professor Mats Rooth (Cornell University) and a third party who has now been correctly identified by two readers (Joan Bresnan and Peter Sells himself) as one Nigel Fabb, seemingly now a professor of `Literary Linguistics' at the University of Strathclyde. The Sesquipedalian is still investigating numerous allegations, but we can already say with certainty that we're glad that Professor Sells has outgrown his playful, rebellious youth, where the communicative function of language (illustrated here with dixie-cup-and-string telephones) was a frequent object of parody in East Coast linguistics...


From the Sesquipedalian Archives

  • [First published: Oct. 22, 1992]

    WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE LITTLE HOTEL SOAPS-- Part 2 of 2 Picking up where we left off, here is the conclusion to the soap saga, to welcome you all back from the past week's flurry of conferences. If anyone has any surplus bars of hotel soaps, you can leave them off at my office for disposal.
    Dear Mr. Berman,
    Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.
    Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper
    Dear Mr. Kensedder,
    My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.
    S. Berman
    Dear Mr. Berman,
    I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
    Martin L. Kentsedder, Assistant Manager
    Dear Mrs. Carmen,
    Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap here. All I want is my bath-size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.
    S. Berman
    Dear Mr. Berman,
    You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.
    Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper
    Dear Mrs. Carmen,
    Just a short note to bring you up to date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess: On shelf under medicine cabinet, 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and one stack of 2; on Kleenex dispenser, 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and one stack of 3; on bedroom dresser, 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4; inside medicine cabinet, 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and one stack of 2; in shower soap dish, 6 Camay (very moist); on northeast corner of tub, 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used; on northwest corner of tub, 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3. Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure that the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-size Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.
    S. Berman


    • Speech Lunch

      No Speech Lunch today.
      Celebrate Rebecca's new baby instead!
    • Ethics at Noon

      12:00. Bldg. 100, Room 101K

      John Rickford (Linguistics/Education) The Black/White Achievement Gap in Reading/Language Arts in K-12 Schools and some Linguistic Strategies for Narrowing It
    • Logical Methods in the Humanities

      12:00. Bldg. 90, Room 92Q

      Dana S. Scott (Professor Emeritus, Carnegie Mellon University)
      The Future of Proof

      [Editor's Note: This may be your only chance to see this very famous mathematician and computer scientist...]

    • Sociorap
      14:00. MJH 126

      A discussion with William Labov (University of Pennsylvania)
    • Friday Cognitive Seminar

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

      Dan Yarlett. Estimating the probabilities of linguistic events.
    • Linguistics Department/Symbolic Systems Colloquium

      15:30pm. MJH 126

      Shalom Lappin (King's College, London)
      Stuart Shieber (Harvard University)
      Weak Bias Language Models and Universal Grammar
    • UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Colloquium

      16:00. Cowell College Conference Room (UC Santa Cruz)

      Ivano Caponigro (UCSD)
      The Questionable Nature of Rhetorical Questions
    • Weekly Social (Stanford)

      17:00. In the department lounge. Spectacular, cross-cultural, gourmet delights from the Social Committee.

    • Berkeley Linguistics Department Colloquium

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

      Pranav Anand (UC Santa Cruz)
      What dreams are made of: on the encoding of attitudes de se


    • Halloween Holiday: No scheduled activities :-)

    • SLSG (Statistical Learning Study Group) Meeting

      17:30. MJH 126

    • Jeremy will be talking about the learning of non-adjacent dependencies.

    • 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].
    • Linguistics Department Colloquium

      15:30pm. MJH 126

      Julie Sedivy (Brown University)
      Temporal dynamics of conversational implicature during real-time processing
    • 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 27 2006
Vol. 3, Issue 6

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

Photographer: Gretchen Lantz

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut