THREE SLUG PAPERS IN LI

A paper by Ryan Bennett (PhD ’12 and current faculty member), Boris Harizanov (PhD ’14), and Robert Henderson (PhD ’12) has appeared in the latest issue of Linguistic Inquiry (LI). The paper, entitled “Prosodic Smothering in Macedonian and Kaqchikel,” proposes a novel analysis of dependent morphemes which idiosyncratically trigger prosodic restructuring of their hosts.

Another paper by Boris Harizanov appears in this issue, entitled “Word Formation at the Syntax-Morphology Interface: Denominal Adjectives in Bulgarian.” The paper seeks to understand mismatches between syntactic representations and corresponding morphological representations.

A paper by faculty member Ivy Sichel also appears in the issue, entitled “Anatomy of a Counterexample: Extraction from Relative Clauses.” The paper argues for an approach to extraction from RCs where locality is determined syntactically, in combination with a more fine-grained structure for RCs and a theory of how extraction interacts with the theory of locality.

ADLER TO NLP COMPANY

Congratulations to alum Jeff Adler (MA ’17), who will soon be starting a new job at NLP Ad Tech company Semasio. He reports:
Starting May 21, I will be working at a new NLP Ad Tech company Semasio, currently based in Germany and Portugal, but moving their HQ to New York City. Semasio uses “semantic behavioral targeting” to create user profiles that advertisers can use to more accurately and efficiently reach their target audience. For anyone whose interesting, I’ll unpack what that means:
One of the primary focuses of Advertising Tech (“Ad tech”) is to discover algorithmic methods of chopping up the population into demographic segments, so that the right people are hit with the right advertisements. Semasio’s language-based take on this challenge is to first, extract keywords from the web, and build a gigantic semantic network based on which keywords correlate with others. Then, information is gathered about where past consumers of a given product would fall in this network. That is, what is the semantic profile of people who have purchased a given product in the past. Finally, we locate users who have not yet purchased the product, but fall in similar quadrants on the network. In this way, we use a linguistic bottom-up, data-driven approach (= probabilistic, = Surfeit (= Not Poverty) of the Stimulus, = Generativisits will roll their eyes but haters gon’ hate, right?) to build consumer profiles.
My role at the company will be Client Development Manager. Basically, that means I will be consulting with our clients to show them how to best use our software, and what kind of analytic insights we can gain by tweaking different parameters. So, this means is that I will not be doing much NLP or data science or even coding myself, but rather, acting as an ambassador for the product, and the language/data scientists that built it. The reason I say this is to make the point that, for any graduate students who are flirting with the idea of leaving academia, but are afraid that, unless they can code, they will have no avenue, they are Dead Wrong.
There are tons of opportunities for people who, even if they do not want to be on the technical side of things, can communicate technical topics in a easily-digestible manner. In other words, if you’re the type of person who, like me, hated learning R but loved giving talks, or just discussing interesting topics, you’re so much more marketable than you think you are. To that end, if anyone wants to talk about how to find those opportunities, feel free to write!
Congratulations again, Jeff!

MCNALLY GRANTED HUMBOLDT RESEARCH AWARD

PhD alum Louise McNally (UPF, Barcelona) was recently granted a Humboldt Research award, which will allow her to spend an extended sabbatical with Artemis Alexiadou’s group at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Find out more about the award here. Louise writes:

The Humboldt Foundation has great programs both for junior and senior researchers who want to spend time in Germany (for example, 2-year postdoctoral grants), and what I was most interested to learn is that the opportunities the Foundation affords continue even after the grant period technically finishes. I encourage you all to check out the foundation’s web page for more information.

Congratulations, Louise!

SLUGS AT FASAL

On March 31 – April 1 Emily Manetta (UCSC PhD 2006; now at University of Vermont), current MA student Mansi Desai, and Rachel Showstack (UCSC BA History, 2006; PhD Hispanic Linguistics UT Austin, now a linguist at Wichita State) attended the eighth annual Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages (FASAL) conference at Wichita State University. Mansi presented a poster entitled “Agreement Probes in Standard Gujarati” and Emily gave a talk on adverbs, polarity and verb movment in Hindi-Urdu in a session chaired by Rachel. A photo of the slug crew is below. Behind them is a recently restored original Miró mural “Personnages Oiseaux”, composed of over a million glass and which is part of the permanent collection of Wichita State’s art museum.

SLUGS AT CUNY

At the end of winter quarter, Jed Pizarro-Guevara, Matt Wagers, and Adrian Brasoveanu traveled north along with an entourage of Santa Cruz psycholinguists (Margaret Kroll, Steven Foley, Nick Van Handel, Jake Vincent, and Netta Ben-Meir) for the CUNY Sentence Processing Conference at UC Davis. Jed presented a poster co-authored with Matt Wagers entitled “Not all filler-gap dependencies are perceived alike: Evidence from Tagalog”. Meanwhile, Adrian presented joint work with Jakub Dotlačil: both a poster called “Modeling Lexical Access in ACT-R” as well as a talk on “A cognitively realistic left-corner parser with visual and motor interfaces“. Several former Slugs also attended, including Shayne Sloggett (BA, ‘10), Caroline Andrews (BA, ‘11), Adam Morgan (MA, ‘13), Ekaterina Kravtchenko (MA, ‘13), and Chelsea Miller (BA, ’14, MA, ’16). On-leave faculty Amanda Rysling graced CUNY with her presence, and organized a joint UMass-UCSC dinner. Delicious Indian food was had, and many bottles of wine, consumed.