Stanford Linguistics
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Department News

Guess Which Department Member is coauthor of the paper currently sitting atop the `most downloaded in the last month' list over at the Journal of Linguistics website. To find the answer, click HERE.


Welcome, Visitors

Here's a couple of this year's visitors that you all should get to know:

Fabio del Prete
Fabio Del Prete. I'm from Milan, Northern Italy, where I got a PhD in Philosophy in 2006, defending a thesis on the semantics of some temporal connectives of Italian. For two years after that, I survived by teaching classes on syntax, semantics, and logic. Now I have a research grant from the University of Milan focused on the compositional analysis of temporal and modal expressions. I recently coauthored a paper with Andrea Bonomi (U. Milan) on the truth-conditional evaluation of future-tensed sentences in English. I'm here for the whole academic year and am looking forward to useful interactions both with linguists and philosophers during my stay.

Uli Sauerland
Uli Sauerland. Hi there! I'm teaching "Formal Pragmatics" this quarter, "Semantic Fieldwork" in the winter, and "Binding" and the undergraduate semantics class in the spring. I'm based in Berlin, Germany at the ZAS, a research institute in linguistics. I'm very excited about teaching graduate students this year -- graduate teaching doesn't really exist in Germany. I'm interested in anything in semantics and pragmatics, especially right now intonation, vagueness, and embedded sentences. My office is 460-030 and I'm very happy to talk about semanticy-matters, so please come by for a chat! Things other than linguistics I do are volleyball (though, I'm still looking for a team here), cycling, reading, and spending time with my three kids.

Kazuko Yatsushiro
Kazuko Yatsushiro. I did my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, working on Nominative Case licensing and VP structure in Japanese. I'm currently working on the acquisition of semantics and pragmatics, especially quantifier meaning, presuppositions and scalar implicatures by typically developing and SLI children. I'm also investigating the syntax/semantics of quantifiers and focus particles in Japanese.


Meghan's Mystery Name Game

  • Another Round! And the winner was.... Jason Grafmiller, who correctly identified last week's name. To claim this week's prize (doubtless as yummy as last week's), be the first to send a correct guess to sumner at stanford dot edu or to tell her in person. Here's this week's name:

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    Look Who's Talking (about Sarah Palin)

  • Bill Labov was on NPR a few days ago, talking about Sarah Palin's accent. In case you missed it, the interview is available HERE.

    Here's what some other people are saying about Sarah Palin:
  • "Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has many views. She says she's opposed to same-sex marriage. Did you know that? Yeah, Palin says everyone knows marriage isn't for gay people; it's for pregnant teenagers." --Conan O'Brien
  • "And you've got to love this: Sarah Palin is an avid hunter. An avid hunter. A vice president who likes guns? Well, what could go wrong there?" --David Letterman
  • "And how are you going to be the vice president of the United States with five kids to take care of? She's got a four-month-old of her own, she's about to become a grandmother, and she's partnered with John McCain. How many diapers can one woman possibly change?" --Jimmy Kimmel
  • "I think this is pertinent because McCain has been running this campaign based on 'we're at war, it's a dangerous world out there. The democrats don't get that. I John McCain am the only one standing between the blood-thirsty Al Qaedas and you. But if I die, this stewardess can handle it.'" -Bill Maher
  • "When they were vetting her for this job, like three seconds ago, she said, quote, I'm not making this up, 'What is it exactly that the VP does every day?' Let me field that for you, Sarah. They start wars, they enrich their friends, they subvert the Constitution, and they shoot people in the face. That's what the vice president does." -Bill Maher
  • "The McCain people believe that Americans will disregard her inexperience because they will fall in love with her story. She was a runner up in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant., which may sound trite, but you try walking in high-heeled snow shoes." -Bill Maher

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    Linguistic Levity

    More from the punning linguist:
    • Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a-head.'
    • I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
    • A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
    • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
    • The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium, at large.
    • The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
    • A backward poet writes in-verse.
    • In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
    • When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
    • Don't join dangerous cults, practice safe sects!


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

    • Berkeley Institute of Cognitive and Brain Seminar

      Susanne Gahl (UC Berkeley)
      "Pronunciation variation as a tool for psycholinguistic research"

      11:00am, Tolman 5101, UC Berkeley
    • Sociotea

      Meet in the Department Lobby at 11:00 AM to decide where to go...
    • Semantics and Pragmatics Workshop/
      Department Colloquium

      Mira Ariel (Tel Aviv)
      "Or Constructions: Meaning and Use"

      Jordan Hall, Room 065 (Linguistics Lab)
    • Department Social

      Gourmet delights by the Social Committee

      5:00pm, in the Department Kitchen
    • Cognition and Language Workshop

      Paul Kay (UC Berkeley, International Computer Science Institute)
      "Language, thought and color: Recent developments"

      4:15pm, Cordura 100
    • Symbolic Systems Forum

      Kamal Mansour (Monotype Imaging)
      "Multilingual Text: a glimpse below the surface"

      4:15-5:30pm, 380-380C

      ABSTRACT: We will briefly explore four diverse writing systems (Latin, Arabic, Devanagari, Japanese) that each serve a population of more than 100 million. By examining a few of their distinctive attributes, we will gain insights into their similarities and differences, their digital representation, as well as their differing requirements from keyboard entry to display.
    • Disaster Capitalism and the Rise of Democratic Reconstruction

      A conversation with Naomi Klein sponsored by the Aurora Forum
      7:30pm, Kresge Auditorium
    • Speech Lunch

      Olga Dmitrieva
      12pm, Linguistics Lab
    • Department Colloquium

      VPUE Summer Intern Presentations

      • Richard Futrell: "Predicting the Genitive Alternation"
      • Nicole Fernandez: "Abstract vs. Exemplar Theory: How do we learn to adapt to the speech of non Native speakers of English?"
      • Kimberly Chu: "Patterns of Acquisition and Use of Irregular Plural Nouns in Young Children"
      3:30pm, MJH 126
    • UCSC Linguistics Colloquium

      Jeroen van Craenenbroeck (Hogeschool-Universiteit, Brussel and NYU)
      "More ado about Nothing: Sluicing, Copular Clauses and Case"
      12pm, Humanities One Bldg, room 210, UC Santa Cruz
    • Department Social

      Gourmet delights by the Social Committee

      5:00pm, in the Department Kitchen


  • 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, B-, and AB+. For an appointment, visit 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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    10 October 2008
    Vol. 5, Issue 3

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Alyssa Ferree

    Beth Levin
    Andrew Koontz-Garboden

    Humor Consultant:
    Susan D. Fischer

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut

    Read Shih Comics Here
    Previous Linguistics Department Newsletters: