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Department News

  • There should be lots of food and drink at the Department Social today, since half the department is away at NWAV in scenic Columbus Ohio, where, believe it or not, today's projected high temperature (65 F) is one degree higher than Palo Alto's. Those socio people just follow the sun...

    [Editor's Note: But the high in Columbus is supposed to drop 18 degrees on Saturday, with the low going below freezing. Let's hope our brave socio folks read the whole weather forecast before they packed...]

  • The NY Times recently published a piece by Elizabeth Little which you might find amusing. It's called `Rituals - Ablative, Allative, Adessive, Obsessive'.

  • Overheard around the department:

    Phonologists in the Bay Area are hopping mad about the naming practices surrounding the conference formerly known as TREND. Not only has their conference name been prefixed, but it has been prefixed P-, creating the phonologically impossible English onset `pt', thereby making their conference name unpronounceable. Adding insult to injury, the imperialists have given their own conference a name prefixed with S-, creating a phonologically permissible English onset `st'. External observers are worried that the naming war may herald in a dark age of informed research on the phonology/syntax interface in Bay Area linguistics.

    [But no one seems to mind that Sociolinguistics has been excluded from the s-word. Why is this, wonders the Sesquipeditor?]


Caught in the Act


Lis N. somewhere in Mexico

Our foreign correspondent recently caught a glimpse of a certain Ms. Norcliffe somewhere in Mexico. We're not sure how she manages these international escapades while she's taking classes and TAing in addition... But you can be sure that our investigative reporters will get to the bottom of this sometime soon. If not, there is a rumor that the department may send one of its Israeli student agents to investigate... This newspaper sincerely hopes that no such drastic measures will be required.


From the Sesquipedalian Archives

  • Quayle Quotes

    The wisdom of former Vice President Dan Quayle, first published in the Sesquipedalian in October, 1992:

    • `I believe we are on an irreversible trend towards more freedom and democracy-- but that could change.'
    • `We should develop anti-satellite weapons because we could not have prevailed without them in "Red Storm Rising."'
    • `One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that word is "to be prepared."'
    • `We'll let the sunshine in and shine on us, because today we're happy and tomorrow we'll be even happier.'
    • `If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.'
    • `I want to be Robin to Bush's Batman.'

  • This week, we are proud to present the first installment of the notorious feature story that first ran in the November 19, 1992 issue of the Sesquipedalian:

    FINNISH: A WORLD LANGUAGE? (Part One of Three)

    [Original text: Richard Lewis. Swedish translation: Gunnel Stenberg. Translated back from Swedish by Tomas Riad. Post-editing: Kyle Wohlmut. Additional Finnish consulting: Arto Anttila.]

    Is it now the time for Finnish to take its place as the international language? It is obviously difficult to answer this question with certainty. At the moment there seem to be several factors which would hinder such a development. First of all, Finnish is currently spoken by a mere .05% of the world's population; secondly one cannot learn the language in ten easy lessons; thirdly, a large number of Finns still do not understand it.

    Although the advancement of Finnish has been a bit slow, there are Finns who point out the following advantages Finnish would have as a world language:

    1. It is an essentially logical language. The rules are absolute and reliable in all situations, except exceptions.
    2. It is a good sounding language; in other words, it is pleasing to the ear. This has to do with its wealth of vowels, which rules out ugly consonant clusters. It was recently suggested that some vowels should be exported to Czechoslovakia, where a shortage of vowels is imminent, and that some Czech consonants should be imported to Finland. However, negotiations collapsed at an early stage. The Finns would not deal with a language that calls ice-cream 'zrmzlina,' while the Czechs in turn distrusted a language that calls it `jaeaeteloeae.'
    3. It is a concise language. One Finnish word can mean several different things in English. Why lose time and energy saying 'the committee that takes care of negotiations concerning the truce' when you can use a simple little word like 'aseleponeuvottelutoimikunta?'
    4. Learning Finnish builds confidence. If you can learn Finnish, then you can learn anything.
    5. Finnish has longer and better swear words than any other language.

    In light of these facts we can see that the introduction of Finnish as a world language would be a blessing to all mankind. The problem we now face is how to convince the remaining 99.95% of the global population to learn Finnish. We hope the world can receive the benefit of our own experience with the language. After a few months of intensive (and sometimes downright desperate) research we have developed a method of fording this linguistic barrier which has so far proved to be one of the world's most formidable ones.

    (Continued next week with, 'Nouns and their Cases')



    • Stanford Humanities Center Conference

      all day in Cubberley Auditorium
      Imaging environment: Maps, Models, and Metaphors
    • 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

      15:30. MJH 126
      Daniel Buring (UCLA)
      Been there--marked that: a theory of second occurrence focus
    • Weekly Social

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

    • Syntax Lunch

      12:00-1:00. MJH 126

    • Developmental Brownbag

      12:15-1:15. Bldg. 420, room 102
      Quin Yow (Stanford Psychology)
      FYP Talk: How fast is fast mapping, exactly? An eye-tracking study of frequency effects in novel word learning by 2-year-olds.
    • SLSG (Statistical Learning Study Group) Meeting

      17:00. MJH 126
      Daniel Sternberg (Stanford Psychology) will be talking about statistical learning in non-linguistic domains (visual, tone sequence, etc.)

    • American Anthropological Association Conference

      all day at the San Jose Conference Center, San Jose, CA
    • A Lunch with Dan 'n Dan from IBM

      If you're interested in learning more about the new IBM search technology technology that will be showcased in the Linguistics special event at 3:30 (and installed on a cluster machine this afternoon) come meet Daniel Gruhl and Daniel Meredith. Please contact Liz Coppock (coppock at stanford dot edu).
    • 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].
    • Philosophy Department Colloquium

      15:15 in Building 90, room 92Q
      Agustin Rayo (MIT)
      On Specifying Content
    • Friday Cognitive Seminar

      15:15 in Bldg 420, room 050
      Idriss Aberkane (Stanford Psychology)
      `Concepts, an approach to the theoretical and observed limits of minds'
    • Linguistics Department Special Event

      15:30 in MJH 126
      Daniel Gruhl and Daniel Meredith (IBM)
      `Supercomputing Technology for the Web'

      [Editor's Note: This technology is supposed to include unlimited regular expression searching of the whole internet, expanding search capability to deal with punctuation, capitalization, morphology, etc...]
    • UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Colloquium

      16:00 in Baytree Conference Room D
      Idan Landau (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
      Two Routes of Control: Evidence from Case Transmission in Russian.
    • Weekly Social

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

  • MONDAY, 20 NOVEMBER (Yes, in the Thanksgiving Break!)



  • 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.


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November 10 2006
Vol. 3, Issue 8

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Design and Production Consultant:
Philip Hofmeister

Senior Reporter:
Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut