Stanford Linguistics
A Stanford Linguistics 
       department        contribute        archives

Department News

  • Laura Staum Casasanto, Rebecca Greene, Alex Jaker, and Yuan Zhao all got GRO grants for their dissertation research. Congratulations to all of them!
  • Guido Seiler to Manchester: Sesquiped readers may remember Guido Seiler, who was a postdoc with Joan Bresnan at Stanford during 2003--2004. The word is that he's accepted a permanent position, starting February of 2008, as Lecturer in German Linguistics in the Department of German Studies at the University of Manchester.

  • divider

    Look Who's Talking

    At the upcoming LSA meeting in Chicago:

  • Arto Anttila, Olga Dmitrieva, Matthew Adams, Jason Grafmiller, Scott Grimm, and Yuan Zhao: Gradient OCP and harmonic alignment in English phonotactics.
  • Elisabeth Norcliffe: Variation and categorical constraints in Yukatek Mayan relative clause constructions.
  • Sarah Julianne Roberts: Autobiographical evidence of creolization in territorial Hawaii.
  • Paul Kroeger (Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics): The syntactic distribution of modal particles in Kimaragang Dusun.
  • Neal Snider: Exemplars and constructions in syntactic production.
  • Jeeyoung Peck (Asian Languages): Accounting for quantitative preferences in the distribution of argument locative PPs in Modern Chinese.
  • Anubha Kothari: Event culmination as implicature in Hindi perfectives.
  • Cala Zubair and John Beavers (University of Texas at Austin): Non-nominative subjects and the involitive construction in Sinhala.
  • Marie-Catherine de Marneffe and Scott Grimm: Re-examining instrumental subjects from an empirical stance.
  • Hannah Rohde, Roger Levy (University of California, San Diego), and Andy Kehler: Coherence-driven effects in relative clause processing.
  • Rebecca Starr: Corrective behavior and sociolinguistic knowledge in a Mandarin-English dual immersion school.
  • Gabriel Doyle and Roger Levy (University of California, San Diego): Mixed categories and gradient grammatical constraints.
  • Lauren Hall-Lew and Nola Stephens: 'Country Talk' and ideological speech communities.
  • Jong-Bok Kim (Kyung Hee University) and Peter Sells (SOAS): On the role of information structure with Korean kes.
  • Alex Djalali, Janet Pierrehumbert, and Brady Clark (Northwestern University): The effect of focus on bridging inferences.
  • Tatiana Nikitina: Nominalization in Wan: category mixing without mixed syntax?
  • Joel Wallenberg (University of Pennsylvania): The decline of early English object clitics.
  • Mary Rose (Ohio State University): Sociophonetics of aging: Articulating 'old' among peers.

  • And at the meeting of The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (held in conjunction with the LSA meeting):

  • Judith Tonhauser (Ohio State University): Yucatec Mayan predicate-argument structures.
  • Elisabeth Norcliffe: Filler-gap dependencies in Yucatec Maya.
  • Brook Danielle Lillehaugen (Seminario de Lenguas Indgenas; IIFl-UNAM): PLACE-Encoding body parts in Zapotec.
  • Andrew Koontz-Garboden (University of Manchester): Possession and property concepts in Ulwa.

  • divider

    Caught in the Act

  • From last week's Penn Speaker Series announcement:

    This Thursday we will welcome our final guest for the semester, Richard Kayne. He's declined to provide us with an abstract, but the title says a lot:

    5pm, Dec. 6th, 2007
    Richard Kayne, New York University
    "Antisymmetry and the Lexicon"

    All the normal details apply. Hope to see you there.

    [Perhaps, in order to provide them with an abstract, he would have conjugated... - the Sesquipeditor]

  • divider

    Fact, not Fiction!

  • Fiction, not Fact!

    John Fry writes:

    When I saw your Reagan diary entry on W, I thought it sounded too good to be true, and it turns out it is. See

  • divider

  • And now the news we've been waiting for all year:

    The 2007 Oxford New American Dictionary Word of the Year has been Announced!

    The 2007 Oxford New American Dictionary Word of the Year is locavore, the word for someone who prefers to eat food cultivated locally!

  • divider

    Linguistic Levity

  • Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. The winners are:

    1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
    2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
    3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
    4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
    5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
    6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
    7. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
    8. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over.
    9. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
    10. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
    11. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
    12. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
    13. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

    The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are winners:

    1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
    2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
    3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
    4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
    5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
    6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
    7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
    8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
    9. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
    10. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
    11. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
    12. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
    13. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

    And the pick of the literature:
    14. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

  • divider


    For events farther in the future consult the Upcoming Events Page.


    Blood needed!

    The Stanford Blood Center is reporting a shortage of O-, O+, A-, A+, B-, and AB-. For an appointment: or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies. The Blood Center is also raising money for a new bloodmobile.


    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


    7 December 2007
    Vol. 4, Issue 10

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag
    Andrew Koontz-Garboden
    Will Leben

    Humor Consultants:
    Susan D. Fischer, Tom Wasow

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut