Capping off the inaugural year of the Workshop on the Languages of Meso-America is the Symposium on Oaxacan Linguistics on Monday, June 12 from 9am-5pm in Hum 1, Room 210. The symposium will feature talks on a variety of languages by invited speakers Christian DiCanio (SUNY Buffalo) Emiliana Cruz (UMass Amherst), and Eric Campbell (UCSB), as well as UCSCers Jason Ostrove, Steven Foley, Nick Kalivoda, and Kelsey Sasaki. For more information, see the full program here.


One of the standout features of our department is the special way in which undergraduate research is encouraged and acknowledged. LURC this year represented a diversity of interests, with excellent talks delivered by Richard Bibbs, Brianda Caldera, Justin Talbott, Anny Huang, and our Distinguished Alumna speaker Maura O’Leary (UCLA), on topics in syntax, diachronic linguistics, morphophonology, sociolinguistics and semantics, in a variety of languages from Chamorro and Polynesian languages, to Spanish-English border slang, to Mandarin Chinese and English.
LURC presenters
Front Row: Ivy Sichel, Maura O’Leary
Back Row: Anny Huang, Brianda Caldera, Richard Bibbs, Justin Talbott
(Photo by Kelsey Sasaki)


Continuing the recent departmental trend of espousing our beliefs at UChicago were a trio of graduate student talks at the latest instantiation of the Chicago Linguistics Society, May 25-27. Jason Ostrove discussed the morphology-prosody interface in San Martín Peras Mixtec clitic doubling, Steven Foley rhapsodized on the Gender Case Constraint in Zapotec (joint work with Nick and Maziar ), and Tom Roberts contemplated the semantic nature of responsive predicates in Estonian. Under the omniscient eye of Ida Noyes, the conference was a great success, bringing together linguists of many different stripes for fruitful discussion, vigorous debate, and heartbreaking renditions of such karaoke klassics as Txoria Txori.


Jim McCloskey was one of the many Santa Cruz linguists traveling to the University of Chicago in recent times. In Jim’s case it was for a talk (on May 18th) in the department’s colloquium series. The title of the talk was Microparameters in a Tiny Space — Stranding at the Edge and it returned to the topic of Wh quantifier stranding in a
range of local forms of English. Besides meeting with many graduate students, Jim had the chance to spend some quality time with alums Chris Kennedy and Jason Merchant.


This Friday, May 26th, at 2:40pm in Humanities 2, Room 259, there will be a colloquium by Susan Lin (Berkeley). Her talk is entitled “Gradience from variation in articulatory magnitude and timing,” and the abstract is given below:

Gradient synchronic variation in speech has long been proposed to be at the root of most sound change, whether through the generation of phonemically ambiguous speech or the creation of phonological innovations available to language learners. However, there exists a disconnect between this form of gradient variation and its typically discrete resulting phonological form. In this talk, I examine two articulatory factors thought to contribute to gradient variation: the magnitude and relative timing of articulations. Using ultrasound data, I focus on the relationship between articulatory magnitude and timing in post-vocalic laterals in English, while exploring some of the factors, including lexical frequency and speech speed, which contribute to that relationship.


In a special joint meeting of S-Circle and LaLoCo, we have this week a talk by Daniel Altshuler (Hampshire College/UMass Amherst) at 11:45am on Tuesday, May 23rd, in Stevenson 217. He’ll be presenting on “Temporal cataphora and revision,” details of which can be found in the abstract below:

Inferring a rhetorical relation between two discourse units (DUs) is non-monotonic: given a discourse context C and two DUs π1, π2 to be related by a relation R, it may be that C makes R(π1, π1) the most plausible inference, but an extension of C may make it more plausible that a distinct R'(π1, π1) is preferred (Asher and Lascarides 2003). Since rhetorical relations often entail temporal constraints, anaphoric connections between eventualities often undergo revision. This is especially apparent in the French novella, Sylvie, where, famously, the reader chooses a resolution strategy that she later finds to be incoherent and is thus forced to revise. The goal of this talk is to derive the incoherence and model the revision that the reader is forced to make. To do so, we extend Haug’s (2014) PCDRT to the temporal domain and to temporal cataphora in particular, taking important strides to synthesizing this framework with Asher and Lascarides’s (2003) SDRT, something that we think is necessary to model (in)coherence and the provisional nature of phoric expressions


This weekend, Deniz Rudin was in the Windy City for the Subjectivity in Language and Thought workshop at the University of Chicago. Deniz objectively had these subjective thoughts to share on the experience:

“Various semanticists and philosophers gathered in a smoke-filled back room and participated in under-the-table deals guaranteed to define the landscape of the theory of subjectivity in natural language for years to come. Santa Crucians will be happy to hear that their lobby commands significant influence within the deep state—our own Deniz Rudin, in conspiracy with Phil Crone of Stanford University, presented on “Assessor-Relativizable Predicates”, and Pranav Anand’s work was on display via a talk delivered by co-conspirator Natasha Korotkova of Tübingen, titled “Acquaintance inferences and the grammar of directness.” Daniel Lassiter, an honorary Santa Crucian by virtue of his place of residence, delivered a polemical and compelling presentation about Mathematical counterfactuals. The ultimate testament to the iron grip our community exerts on the subterranean mechanisms of intellectual governance, however, is that the entire event was organized by PhD alum Chris Kennedy (who says hi), in conspiracy with Malte Willer, both of U. Chicago. Spirited debate was followed by communal indulgence in food and drink, graciously paid for by Neubauer Collegium, which helped us to set aside our differences and replace them with a feeling of primal solidarity.”


This past weekend, Pranav Anand was at the University of Maryland for the 27th edition of Semantics and Linguistic Theory as one of the invited speakers, giving a delightfully-titled talk on “Facts, alternatives, and alternative facts”. Pranav had these non-alternative facts to say about the experience:

“This edition of SALT was extremely well organized. It also included the first ever most distinguished pre-tenure paper award, which went to Ryan Bochnak (grandalum of the department) for a paper on sequence of tense in Washo, a language with optional tense. The sessions were thematically tight, but the program was expansive, with talks and posters in formal and experimental pragmatics as well as formal semantics. Included in that mix was a provocative co-authored poster by alum Kyle Rawlins on the pragmatic components of questions, and rhetorical questions in particular and an extremely convincing co-authored poster by alum Marcin Morzycki on degree modifiers. There was a palpable focus on lesser-studied languages as well. Alum Scott AnderBois delivered a lovely talk on the interaction of reportative evidentials and imperatives in Tagalog and Yucatec. The invited talks were by Maribel Romero, Sarah Murray, and alum Chris Barker, who argued that NPI licensing should be viewed as governed by a scopal economy condition. For my part, I tried to give the new local speciality of fake facts a respectable semantics.”