Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

  • Woo Hoo! Just published by MIT:
      H. Avelino, J. Coon and E. Norcliffe (eds.) 2009.
      New Perspectives in Mayan Linguistics
      MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Volume 59.
    (and there's a paper in there by "E"...)
  • The Linguists on PBS Next Week
  • The Linguists, the documentary about the fieldwork of K. David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, premiers on PBS on Thursday, February 26. Click through the image below for a trailer.


    Look Who's Talking

  • At the Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) Conference, to be held at THE Ohio State University from April 3-5, we have the following Stanford-related talks:
    • The puzzle of quasi prima and quasi dopo (poster)
      Patricia Amaral, Fabio Del Prete
    • Quantification in possessives (poster)
      Itamar Francez (Chicago)
    • A uniform analysis of conditional imperatives
      Stefan Kaufmann (Northwestern), Magdalena Schwager
    • Characterizing and progressive readings of the imperfective: partitions as quantificational domains
      Ashwini Deo (Yale)


    No Comment

    Dear UFPJ Supporter,

    We are very pleased to invite you to join a call with Noam Chomsky, one of the leading critics of U.S. foreign policy. He has agreed to do a one-hour discussion with United For Peace and Justice next Thursday, February 26. More specifically, he will be available to answer questions about any number of current foreign policy issues.

    Because we expect a great deal of interest in this call, we have set up a system for you to sign up in advance. It's real easy, see below for details. In addition to this being an incredible opportunity to hear from the most prominent left scholar of his generation, this call will also be a fund raising event for UFPJ. We are asking each person who signs-up to make a donation of $10 -- although larger donations are certainly appreciated as well.

    There is limited space on this conference call, so please sign-up immediately before space runs out! Again, see below for details.

    The conference call will take place on Thursday, February 26. It will begin at 8:30 PM EST (please adjust for your time zone) and will run for one hour.

    Since there will be many people on the call, it will not be possible to open up to questions on the spur of the moment. Instead, we are inviting you to submit your questions in advance, and no later than Wednesday, February 25 at 12 noon EST. Submit your question by sending an email to -- and you must include your name, the name of your group, and that this is a question you would like to pose to Noam Chomsky.

    We will sort through the questions submitted and pull out five questions that reflect the issues people raise. We will then inform those people who have been selected so they can raise the questions during the call. Below are some suggestions for areas you might want to submit questions on.

    Before the call, we will make sure everyone who has signed-up gets the call-in number.


    Leslie Cagan
    National Coordinator, UFPJ


    To sign up for the call:

    1) Click here to be taken to UFPJ's Donation Page.

    2) Fill out the form with your $10 (or more) donation (donations less than $10 will not be accepted for the Chomsky call).

    3) Under the tab 'Please Direct My Donation Towards...', select 'Chomsky Conference Call'. That will let us know the donation is for the call, not just a regular donation -- so this is very important for you to do!


    We suggest you submit questions on any of these issues:

    1) What the U.S. doing in Afghanistan and the relationship between U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

    2) The Israeli/Palestinian situation and what the current Gaza crisis tell us about the larger dynamic of Israeli-Palestinian relations -- what we might expect to see from the Obama administration in relation to this issue

    3) Changes throughout Latin America and how the U.S. is relating to those

    Of course, you should feel free to submit any questions related to foreign policy.


    Caught in the Act

    Happy Valentine's Day: What a social last Friday. Check out all the goodies we managed to photograph:


    Linguistic Levity

    Questions About the 2010 Olympics

    Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, people all over the world are asking questions. Believe it or not, these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. (Frightening, isn't it?)

    Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
    A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

    Q: Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
    A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

    Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto--can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)
    A: Sure, it's only four thousand miles. Take lots of water.

    Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
    A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your north...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

    Q: Which direction is north in Canada? (USA)
    A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here, and we'll send the rest of the directions.

    Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (UK)
    A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

    Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
    A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

    Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
    A: No, WE don't stink.

    Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
    A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

    Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
    A: Only at Thanksgiving.

    Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
    A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

    Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
    A: It's called a moose. It is tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to it. You can scare it off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

    Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
    A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.



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

    • Phonology Workshop

      Stephanie Shih, Jason Grafmiller, Richard Futrell, and Joan Bresnan
      "Rhythm's Role in Genitive and Dative Construction Choice in Spoken English"
      4:00pm, Chair's Office
    • SocioRap/Dissertation Proposal Talk

      Rebecca Greene
      "Eastern Kentucky English and Ideology"
      5:15pm snacks, 5:30pm talk, MJH 126
    • Berkeley Seminar on Information Access

      Tuukka Ruotsala
      "Finnish CultureSampo: Cultural Heritage on the Semantic Web"
      3:00pm, South Hall room 107, UC Berkeley
    • Department Social

      4:00pm, the lounge

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    And also, on March 7 there will be an all day conference at CSLI (Cordura 100):

    Spatial Relations: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

    List of speakers / titles:
  • James Pustejovsky (Brandeis / Computer Science)
    Spatiotemporal Properties of Motion in Language
  • Max J. Egenhofer (University of Maine / Spatial Information Science and Engineering)
  • Mark Gawron (San Diego State / Linguistics)
    Verbs and Axes
  • Darko Sarenac (Colorado State / Philosophy)
    Is S4 Complete over the Coast of Britain?
  • Herb S. Clark (Stanford / Psychology) and Leila A. Takayama (NRC)
    Displaced Places in Communication
  • Annie Zaenen, Daniel G. Bobrow, Cleo Condoravdi (PARC), and Elizabeth Coppock (CYC)
    Extended Paths
  • Rusty Bobrow (BBN)
  • Beth Driver (NGA)
  • divider

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

  • divider

    Blood needed!

    The Stanford Blood Center is reporting a shortage of types O-, A-. 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


    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? Write directly to


    20 February 2009
    Vol. 5, Issue 16

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Beth Levin
    Tom Wasow

    Alyssa Ferree
    Rob Munro

    Humor Consultant:
    Susan D. Fischer

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut