YANG COLLOQUIUM ON FRIDAY

This Friday, Charles Yang (University of Pennsylvania) will give a colloquium at 1:20 PM in Humanities 1, Room 210. The talk is titled “Learnability vs. Grammar,” and an abstract is given below.

Both the linguist and the child are tasked with capturing significant linguistic generalizations, which gives rise to a tension between learning and the theory of grammar. In this talk, I explore a learnability based approach to grammar, focusing three well-studied topics in English: certain selectional restrictions in derivational morphology, the verbal and adjectival passives, and the dative constructions. In all three cases, generalizations believed to be significant turn out to be marginal, and thus not worthy of codifying in the architectural principles of grammar. If successful, a learnability-based approach will, at least in part, shift the burden of explanatory adequacy away from the machinery of UG, leading to a less complex conception of language and its place in cognition.

LINGUISTS AWARDED THI FELLOWSHIPS

The Humanities Institute (THI) at UCSC recently released the names of summer fellowship awardees, which include two graduate students in Linguistics! Margaret Kroll earned a THI Summer Research Fellowship for her project “A Matter of Perspective: Constructing Meaning and Truth,” and Thomas Roberts earned a THI Summer Dissertation Fellowship for his project “Dimensions of Belief in Verbal Semantics.”  Congratulations, Margaret and Tom!

FROM PHREND TO PHORUM

After the very successful PHREND on Saturday, April 6 (see the last WHASC), Junko and Armin stayed in Berkeley and gave a talk on Monday, April 8, at the Phonetics and Phonology Phorum entitled “Syntax-Prosody Faithfulness.” The Phorum talk titles and abstracts, including Junko and Armin’s, can be found here.

DEPARTMENTAL HONORS TO RECENT GRADUATES

Congratulations are in order for several undergraduate students who graduated at the end of winter quarter and received departmental honors. Linguistics majors Brianda Caldera and Julia Jennings received this distinction, as did Language Studies major Erik Koenitzer. Congratulations, graduates!