Congratulations to Margaret Kroll, who successfully defended her second Qualifying Paper on April 28. The paper, entitled “Is working memory sensitive to at-issueness? Experimental evidence from at-issue appositives”, examines a curious asymmetry between how long restrictive relative clauses and long appositive relative clauses differentially impact sentence complexity. In a series of acceptability judgment studies, she demonstrates that it is not due to the variable relationship of the appositive relative clause to the discourse, contra existing proposals in the literature. Her committee consisted of Adrian Brasoveanu, Donka Farkas and Matt Wagers (chair).


For those who are of such a mind, there will be a summer school on historical/diachronic linguistics, with a particular focus on sentence types/speech acts. (One might surmise that having done a recent seminar on such topics could be relevant here.) The summer school will take place in Göttingen, Germany (site of Max Planck’s grave) from July 24th-August 4th, and is free including accommodation for University of California students. The deadline for application is February 28th.


On Tuesday, January 31st, Hannah Sande (UC Berkeley) will be giving a colloquium at 1:30pm in Hum 1, Room 210. Her talk is entitled “Modeling the morphology/phonology interface: Evidence from process morphology in Guébie”, and the abstract is below.

Work on the relationship between morphology and phonology has long been split between two views: 1) phonological phenomena occur due to the concatenation of underlying items, or 2) phonological phenomena occur due to the application of some process (Hockett, 1954; Anderson, 1992).

Here I present novel data from Guébie, an endangered Kru language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, which bears on the crucial question of whether morphology involves item arrangement or processes. I describe two distinct phenomena in Guébie–scalar tone shift and phonologically determined agreement–which demonstrate that not all morphology involves affixation (contra Trommer and Zimmermann, 2014; Zimmermann 2016). I present a unified analysis of these two phenomena, in which morphological processes are modeled with cophonologies (Ito and Mester, 1995; Anttila, 2002; Inkelas and Zoll, 2005) that can apply in phrasal as well as in lexical contexts (cf. McPherson 2014, McPherson and Heath 2016).


The Brandeis M.A. Program in Computational Linguistics, offered by the Department of Computer Science, is an accessible, intensive two-year curriculum for students with a linguistics, language, computer science, mathematics, or science background, including students without prior study of computer science or linguistics. It features individualized curriculum plans and close teaching/mentoring relationships with faculty and boasts high placement rates in industry jobs and PhD programs. Visit the program website for more information.