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Department News

It's HALLOWEEN and the Department is going to the dogs:


Look Who's Talking

  • Inbal Arnon is away today at the BU Child Language Conference, where she's presenting her paper (coauthored by Michael Ramscar from Psychology): "How order-of-acquisition shapes learning: the case of grammatical gender". Nola Stephens is there also, with a poster on "Candy bars hurt people: Inanimate subjects in child and child-directed transitives". Bruno Estigarribia (UNC) has a poster there as well, on: "Measuring the emergence of yes/no questions: Structural break estimation techniques".
  • Meghan Sumner will head up to Albuquerque next week to talk at the High Desert Linguistic Society Conference (November 6-8). Her title is "Gross category adjustment and perceptual learning."
  • And Asya Pereltsvaig is off to Paris soon to present a paper on "Variations in distributivity" at the Workshop on Nominal and Verbal Plurality, to be held November 7-8, 2008.
  • Also coming up next month is the Annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Miami, where we have Yuan Zhao presenting a poster on "Statistical inference in learning of non-native phonetic categories."
  • Plus there are a few alums giving talks at the upcoming Second International Conference on East Asian Linguistics being held in Vancouver:
    • Jong-Bok Kim (Kyung Hee University) and Nam-Geun Lee (Chosun University)
      A Non-movement Approach to Korean Numeral Classifier Constructions
    • Thomas Grano (University of Chicago)
      Chang-Chang, Wang-Wang, and Domain Restriction in Mandarin Quantificational Adverbs
    • Shiao-wei Tham (Wellesley College)
      An Activity + Achievement Event Structure for Mandarin Resultative Compounds

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    Meghan's Mystery Name Game

  • Last week? The winner was Lauren Hall-Lew, who correctly identified her own name, thereby winning a Ritter Sport Bar! Got a craving for chocolate? All you have to do is be the first to identify this week's mystery name (Contact Meghan, not us!). This week's gram is:

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    Look Who's Talking (about Sarah Palin)

  • Breakthrough in Discourse Analysis! Researchers have now uncovered the rules and principles underlying the grammar of Sarah Palin's debate and interview language. The results of this research have now been published HERE.
  • Watch Robin Williams on Sarah Palin HERE.
  • And you have to watch The Vet Who Did Not Vet, available HERE.
  • And here's what some other people are saying about Sarah Palin:
    • "John McCain's VP pick is the governor of Alaska, an unknown hockey mom named Sarah Palin that no one ever heard of. The only other job she had in politics was the mayor of a small town known as Wasilla, Alaska, and now she has the opportunity to be on a ticket opposite of Barack Obama, the first black man she's ever seen." -Bill Maher
    • "Speaking of Sarah Palin, she said she's a life-long member of the National Rifle Association. Which may explain why she's in favor of shotgun weddings." --Conan O'Brien
    • "You know, Sarah Palin, John McCain selected her to be the vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket, and she's also the governor of Alaska, and outdoors, likes the outdoors, likes assault rifles, has a collection of rifles, likes to shoot assault rifles. I'll say this for her daughter's boyfriend - the kid's got guts." --David Letterman
    • "The legislative panel in Alaska investing Troopergate released their report that says Sarah Palin illegally abused her power as governor by firing the state police chief because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband. But they said she didn't actually break the law so she won't go to prison. Which is a pity because it would have been the first time she was ever involved in a complete sentence." --Bill Maher
    • "In Boca Raton, Florida, yesterday, a woman who looked like Sarah Palin caused a near riot when she walked into a diner for breakfast. And after a minute or two, people finally realized it wasn't her when she started answering questions." --Jay Leno
    • "Of course, the most controversial thing Sarah Palin said last night was she felt the vice president should have more power. More power? Dick Cheney is shooting people in the face and doesn't even get arrested. You cannot get any more powerful than that." --Jay Leno

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

    • Socio-Journal

      10:00am, MJH 126
    • Speech Lunch

      Discuss Readings (Clarke et al. and Clopper et al.)

      12pm, Linguistics Lab
    • UCSC Linguistics Colloquium

      Luis Vicente (University of Amsterdam)
      Verb fronting in Mandarin Chinese (joint work with Lisa Cheng)

      3:30-5:00pm, Humanities 1, Rm. 210, UCSC
    • Department Social

      Gourmet delights by the Social Committee

      4:00pm, in the Department Kitchen

      Vote at the Graduate Community Center. There will be long lines, so be prepared!
    • Berkeley Linguistics Colloquium

      Yaron Matras (Manchester)
      Borrowing verbs: Formal and functional aspects

      4:00pm, 310 Hearst Mining, UC Berkeley
    • Stanford Libraries Discussion

      "Discussion on the Digital Information Technologies in the Research Library Environment Report"

      4:30pm, Cubberley Auditorium
    • Stanford Psychology of Language Tea (SPLaT!)

      Yuan Zhao
      "Statistical Inference in the Learning of Novel Phonetic Categories"

      Tea at 5:15pm, talk at 5:30pm, MJH 126
    • Berkeley Institute of Cognitive and Brain Seminar

      Michael Spivey (Cognitive Science, UC Merced)
      "Continuous Temporal Dynamics in Real-time Cognition"

      11:00am, Tolman 5101, UC Berkeley
    • Speech Lunch

      12pm, Linguistics Lab
    • Department Social

      Gourmet delights by the Social Committee

      4:00pm, 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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    31 October 2008
    Vol. 5, Issue 6

    Sesquipedalian Staff

    Editor in Chief:
    Ivan A. Sag

    Beth Levin
    John Rickford

    Humor Consultant:
    Susan D. Fischer

    Assistant Editor:
    Richard Futrell

    Melanie Levin
    Kyle Wohlmut

    Read Shih Comics Here