Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

  • Sesquicongratulations to Matt Adams and Kate Geenberg, both of whom received a fellowship to attend the LSA Linguistic Institute this summer at UC Berkeley!
  • And Symsys grad and UCSC Linguistics PhD Pete Alrenga has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in semantics at Boston University. Way to go, Pete!
  • There will be no New Sesquipedalian next week. The news humor and events will all follow from independently motivated principles...

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    Look Who's Talking

    Last weekend at the VoxCalifornia conference in Santa Barbara, one could find the following Stanford folks giving talks/posters:
    • Awesome!: Perceptions of California Speech
      Carmen Fought (Linguistics, Pitzer College)
    • The California Vowel Shift and Gay Identity
      Robert J. Podesva (Georgetown University)
    • Norteño and Sureño Gangs on YouTube: Localism in California through Spanish Accent Variation
      Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of Arizona)
    • Lauren Hall Lew
      "Ethnic Practice Is Local Practice: Phonetic Change in San Francisco, California"
  • And this weekend, if you're in Shampoo-Banana (Illinois), check out the 40th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, where you'll find the following papers:
    • Laura Whitton, Gender Specification and Mixed Agreement in Tigrinya
    • Scott Grimm, Inverse Number Marking in Dagaare
    • Tyler Schnoebelen, Classifying Shabo
  • Or, if you happen to be in New Haven (Connecticut) this weekend, check out the gathering on Imperfective form and imperfective meaning:

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    Donate to LinguistList

    OK. Good response. We're now out in front! But if we really want to win the Linguistlist fund drive, we'll need, as Arnold Zwicky points out, more small contributions...

    For information about this annual event, check out this website.

    Be sure to mention your Stanford Affiliation when you donate, which can be done in many ways:
    • You can donate right now using their secure credit card form here.
    • Alternatively you can also pledge right now and pay later. To do so, go to here.
    For all information on donating and pledging, including information on how to donate by check, money order, or wire transfer, please visit this site.


    Meghan's Mystery Name Game

    Got a sweet tooth? Got a good phonetic eye? Read this name and then be the first to find Meghan and tell her what it is. You can then win something sweet.... Good Luck!


    Linguistic Levity

    Medical Insurance Explained

    Q . I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
    A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. The doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and a diploma from a third world country.

    Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
    A. No. Only those you need.

    Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?
    A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

    Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
    A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

    Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?
    A. You really shouldn't do that.

    Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his/her office?
    A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving it a shot.

    Q W ill health care be different in the next decade?
    A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

    Health Q&A with Dr. Kenmiester

    Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
    A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

    Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
    A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

    Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
    A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

    Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
    A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

    Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
    A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain ... Good

    Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
    A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!. ..Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

    Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
    A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

    Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
    A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

    Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
    A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

    Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
    A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

    Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember: "Life should NOT be a journey with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - wine in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" Have a great holiday season!



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

    • Speech Lunch

      Jieun Oh (CCRMA)
      "Resolving conflicting linguistic and musical cues in the perception of metric accentuation in song"
      12:00pm, ExL Lab
    • Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop

      Chris Kennedy (U Chicago)
      "On Averaging"
      3:30pm, MJH 126
    • Department Social

      5:00pm, lounge
    • Social Theory Reading Group

      We will discuss "Theory in Anthropology since the Sixties" by Sherry Ortner (1984), and you should be getting ahold of Bourdieu's (1977) 'Outline of a Theory of Practice', the discussion of which will start next week.
      12-1:00pm, MJH 126
    • Semantic Demo Session

      Palo Alto Semantic Web Group. Presentations by:
        Zemanta Semantic Blogging
        ZAgile Semanti Wiki
        Cogito Answers Semantic Mobile
        Noovo Semantic Search and Share
        Uptake Semantic Travel
      And new and possibly never before seen applications from:

      6:30-9:00pm, Building 1 Conference Center, 1065 La Avenida St., Mountain View

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  • 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-, 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


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    9 April 2009
    Vol. 5, Issue 20

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Beth Levin
    Lauren Hall-Lew
    Tracy King

    Humor Consultant:
    Susan D. Fischer

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut