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Summer Nooze

Believe it or not something other than the Linguistic Institute happened this summer. For starters:
  • Just to make sure all of you out there in alumniland know, Peter Sells, who has been at Stanford since 1985, has left to take a position at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. This is a great sorrow for all of us, but we wish him well in his new role as Head of the Linguistics Department there.
  • Congratulations to Lauri Karttunen (Consulting Professor of Linguistics and PARC Computational Linguist) who won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Computational Linguistics! Read more about it HERE.
  • Artist-in-residence Robert Moses and linguistics Professor John Rickford received a $25,000 grant to develop a new work commissioned for 2007-08 by Lively Arts for the Robert Moses' Kin Dance Company. The new dance, titled Jokes Like That Can Get You Killed, will focus on public notions of community, race, language, culture and performance.
  • John Niekrasz, ace researcher in CSLI's Computational Semantics Lab and lead guitarist in Dead Tongues, the "unofficial rock and roll band of the Stanford Linguistics Department", has gone back to graduate school in Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh. He will be missed.


Look Who's Talking

  • The department had a great turnout in August at the AMLAP (Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing) in Turku Finland. On the program were Hal Tily, Neal Snider, Anubha Kothari, Inbal Arnon, Joan Bresnan, Daniel Casasanto, and Florian Jaeger. Also present, giving posters and/or cheering on the Stanford crowd were Laura Staum, Ivan Sag and Tom Wasow.
  • Neal also presented a paper (Exemplars in Syntax: Evidence from Priming in Corpora) at the Workshop on Exemplar-Based Models of Language Acquisition and Use, held at Trinity College, Dublin in conjunction with ESSLLI 19.
  • Rebecca Scarborough, Jason Brenier, Yuan Zhao, Lauren Hall-Lew and Olga Dmitrieva presented a paper in August at the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Saarbruecken, Germany: An Acoustic Study of Imagined Foreigner-Directed Speech.
  • Laura Staum Casasanto and Daniel Casasanto meanwhile were off on a multi-city tour of Europe which included a stop in Cardiff, Wales, where they prevented a provocative paper at NDCL called Should liberals use conservatives' metaphors? Cognitive Linguistics meets Sociolinguistics. They were going back through London on the same day that Ivan arrived there to give his paper on Feature Geometry and Predictions of Locality at the Workshop on FEATURES held at King's College, London, where Ron Kaplan also gave a paper, entitled Formal Aspects of Underspecified Features. There were a bunch of Stanford alums there, including Mary Dalrymple, Miriam Butt, Ida Toivonen, Ash Asudeh, and Devyani Sharma (who was the local organizer).
  • Ivan arrived in London fresh from a few days in the Pyrenees, where Penny Eckert was doing research on Gascon (continuing her dissertation research from the 1970s!). Penny keeps finding new speakers to interview (Oc!), but she now has to go to higher and higher villages (spraining an ankle on one occasion (Ouch!)) and into retirement homes.
  • Stanford also had a significant presence at the REL07 (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Relative Clauses) Conference at Cambridge in September:
    • Inbal Arnon: On child and adult use of resumptive pronouns: children are sensitive to distribution in the target language. (paper)
    • Florian Jaeger (U. of Rochester) and Tom Wasow: Probability- Sensitive Reduction and Uniform Information Density. (paper)
    • Hal Tily: The processing complexity of English relative clauses: local efficiency guides language-wide change. (paper)
    • Roger Levy (UC San Diego), Ev Fedorenko (MIT) and Edward Gibson (MIT): The syntactic complexity of Russian Relative Clauses.
    • Yoshiko Matsumoto: Japanese Relative Clauses and Noun-Modifying Constructions: Integration of Frames.
  • Ashwini Deo (Yale University) was an invited speaker at the Workshop on Phonological Words in South Asia and Southeast Asia (funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG) held at the University of Leipzig, Germany, September 19-20.
  • Mary Dalrymple (Oxford University) will be an invited speaker at CSSP 2007, The Seventh Syntax and Semantics Conference in Paris, upcoming on October 4-6.
  • During the institute, Arnold Zwicky was, like, quoted in the International Herald Tribune. Check it out HERE.
  • And the Chicago Tribune quoted Penny Eckert's terse remarks in an article whose conclusion was that "Despite all the lore, a new study finds both sexes do the same amount of gabbing."
  • The Boston Globe also picked Arnold's wisdom preposition dropping. Look it HERE.


Linguistic Levity

Thanks to Susanne Riehemann for following up the Abbott and Costello lead from last week's newsletter. The original A&C routine can be read and heard HERE.

Speculative Grammarian (the journal of "satirical linguistics") published a piece recently entitled The Lexicalist Agenda: Exposing the Myths. 'It's a hoot', says the Sesquipeditor -- '3 thumbs up!'.




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.


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5 October 2007
Vol. 4, Issue 2

Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Gretchen Lantz

Senior Reporter:
Andrew Koontz-Garboden

Humor Consultants:
Susan D. Fischer, Tom Wasow

Assistant Editor:
Richard Futrell

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut

Previous Linguistics Department Newsletters: