Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

  • Sesquicongratulations to John Rickford, who recently was awarded an endowed chair! John is now the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor in the Humanities. But don't worry; he still responds to "Professor Rickford", or even "John"... :-)
  • Dan Jurafsky appointed to the technology advisory board of Sensory, Inc, the (self-proclaimed) "leader in speech technologies for consumer products". Read more about it HERE
  • How to organize all those .pdf files you've downloaded. Check it out HERE.

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    In Memoriam

  • Carol Chomsky, Linguist and Educator
  • Isidore Dyen, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Yale University

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    Look Who's Talking

  • Uriel Cohen-Priva gave a colloquium on Christmas day at Tel-Aviv University's Department of Linguistics, in The Shirley and Leslie Porter School of Cultural Studies' THURSDAY INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLOQUIUM. The title was: Phone informativity: function and grammar.

    [That's Funny - my phone has been less and less informative, ever since I started using email... - The Sesquipeditor]
  • Stanford is represented at the CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on the Foot being held this week:
    • Kristin Hanson (University of California, Berkeley)
      "Metrical Feet and Dancing Feet"
    • Alessandro Jaker "Opacity, Level Ordering, and Tonal Feet in Dogrib''
  • And we're also very well represented at the upcoming BLS meeting, where you can find:
    • William Croft (University of New Mexico)
      Invited talk in the General Session
    • Jong-Bok Kim (Kyung-Hee University)
      The Big Mess Construction: Revisited
    • Patricia Amaral (Ohio State U.) and Scott Schwenter (Ohio State U.)
      Discourse and Scalar Structure in Non-Canonical Negation
    • Klinton Bicknell, Roger Levy (UCSD), Vera Demberg
      Correcting the incorrect: Local coherence effects modeled with prior belief update
    • Thomas Grano (U. of Chicago)
      Investigating an asymmetry in the semantics of Japanese measure phrases
    • Lauren Hall-Lew
      Ethnicity and Sound Change in San Francisco English


    Caught in the Act

    It was great to see you at the Stanford Party at the LSA Meeting. A great time was had by all, and this time the Department was able to pay the whole tab (be sure to thank Tom Wasow!). Anyway, those of you who left early missed the fun, as you can see from a late night photo that our reporter managed to smuggle out:

    3 AM at the Stanford LSA Party


    Linguistic Levity

  • In Memoriam
    The Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Hebronics
  • The New York City Public Schools have officially declared Jewish English, now dubbed Hebronics, as a second language. Backers of the move say the city schools are the first in the nation to recognize Hebonics as a valid language and a significant attribute American culture.

    According to Howard Ashland, linguistics professor at Brooklyn College and renowned Hebronics scholar, the sentence structure of Hebronics derives from middle and eastern European language patterns, as well as Yiddish.

    Professor Shulman explains, "In Hebronics, the response to any question is usually another question with a complaint that is either implied or stated. Thus 'How are you?' may be answered, 'How should I be, with my bad feet?' "

    Shulman says that Hebronics is a superb linguistic vehicle for expressing sarcasm or skepticism. An example is the repetition of a word with "sh" or "shm" at the beginning:

    "Mountains, shmountains. Stay away. You should want a nosebleed?"

    Another Hebronics pattern is moving the subject of a sentence to the end, with its pronoun at the beginning: "It's beautiful, that dress."

    Shulman says one also sees the Hebronics verb moved to the end of the sentence. Thus the response to a remark such as "He's slow as a turtle," could be: "Turtle, shmurtle! Like a fly in Vaseline he walks."

    Shulman provided the following examples from his best-selling textbook, Switched-On Hebronics:

    Question: "What time is it?"
    English answer: "Sorry, I don't know."
    Hebronic response: "What am I, a clock?"

    Remark: "I hope things turn out okay."
    English answer : "Thanks."
    Hebronic response: "I should be so lucky!"

    Remark: "Hurry up. Dinner's ready."
    English answer: "Be right there."
    Hebronic response: "Alright already, I'm coming. What's with the 'hurry' business? Is there a fire?"

    Remark: "I like the tie you gave me; I wear it all the time."
    English answer: "Glad you like it."
    Hebronic response: "So what's the matter -- you don't like the other ties I gave you?"

    Remark: "Sarah and I are engaged."
    English answer: "Congratulations!"
    Hebronic response: "She could stand to lose a few pounds."

    Question: "Would you like to go riding with us?"
    English answer: "Just say when.."
    Hebronic response: "Riding, shmiding! Do I look like a cowboy?"

    To the guest of honor at a birthday party:
    English answer: "Happy birthday."
    Hebronic response: "A year smarter you should become."

    Remark: "It's a beautiful day."
    English answer: "Sure is."
    Hebonic response: "So the sun is out; what else is new?"

    Answering a phone call from a son:
    English answer: "It's been a while since you called."
    Hebronic response: "You didn't wonder if I'm dead already?"

    Email, shmemail! Luck and happiness will or will not come to you regardless if you send it to another eight people!!!

    The Famous, the Infamous, the Lame - in your browser.



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

    • Logical Methods in the Humanities

      Grigori Mints
      "Review of chapter 1 of Fixing Frege"
      12:00pm, 380-383N
    • Semantics Workshop

      Tine Breban (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
      "Synchronic and diachronic perspectives on the deictification of English adjectives"
      3:30pm, MJH 126
    • Department Social

      5:00pm, lounge
    • Empirical Syntax Research Seminar

      Rob Munro
      3:20pm, the ExL Lab (Jordan Hall basement)
    • Special Logic Presentation

      "The Language of Mathematics"
      [NB. This language is based on DRT - the Sesquipeditor]
      Mohan Ganesalingam (Cambridge University)
      4:15, Cordura 100, CSLI
    • Special Department Seminar

      Chris Potts (UMass Amherst)
      "The Dynamics of Apposition"
      3:30pm, Bldg. 160 (Wallenberg Hall), Room 331
    • Stanford Psychology of Language Tea (SPLaT!)

      Mirjam Ernestus (MPI Nijmegen)
      "The comprehension and lexical representation of reduced speech"
      5:15pm, 460-126
    • Cognition and Language Workshop

      Ronald Langacker (UCSD)
      4:15pm, Cordura 100


  • UPCOMING EVENTS (always under construction)
  • Got broader interests? The New Sesquipedalian recommends reading or even subscribing to the CSLI Calendar, available HERE.

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    Blood needed!

    The Stanford Blood Center is reporting a shortage of types O+ and 0-. For an appointment, visit or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies. And the Blood Center recently got a new bloodmobile. Check it out HERE


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    16 January 2009
    Vol. 5, Issue 11

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Andrew Koontz-Garboden
    Beth Levin
    Tom Wasow

    Humor Consultant:
    Susan D. Fischer

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut