The program for the next SALT (Semantics and Linguistic Theory) meeting is live, and Pranav Anand and alumnus Chris Barker (now Professor and Chair of Linguistics at NYU) are among the four invited speakers for the meeting. SALT 27 is to be hosted by the Linguistics Department of the University of Maryland, College Park, and it will take place on May 12 through May 14, 2017. For more info, see the website here.


Are you interested in pursuing a career in computational linguistics or thinking about applying your linguistic skills in the tech industry? If so, come to the Computational Linguistics/Linguistics in the High Tech Field career workshop!

When: Thursday, March 2nd, 5:00pm-6:30pm
Where: Linguistics Common Room (Stevenson 249)

Light refreshments will be provided.


Join us this Tuesday, February 21st, for a colloquium talk by Sam Zukoff (MIT), at 1:30pm in Hum 2, room 259. His talk is entitled “Stress Restricts Reduplication” and the abstract is given below:

This paper considers the typology of reduplicant shape, and argues that a system with freelyrankable templatic constraints on reduplicant size/shape over-generates. A survey of Australian languages with quantity insensitive left-to-right alternating cyclic stress systems finds that monosyllabic prefixal reduplicants are not attested; all prefixal partial reduplication patterns in such languages are disyllabic. The disyllabic pattern allows for complete satisfaction of all otherwise undominated stress constraints, whereas any monosyllabic reduplicant would induce violation of one of these constraints. The typological absence of the monosyllabic pattern in these languages thus follows only if templatic constraints (“Reduplicant Size”) must be subordinated to otherwise undominated stress constraints (“Stress Requirements”). This is captured through a meta-ranking condition on the phonological grammar: StressReq >> RedSize (S>>R). The paper further explores how this meta-ranking is compatible with prosodically variable yet predictable reduplicant shape in Ponapean, and an apparently problematic case of monosyllabic reduplication in Ngan’gityemerri which turns out to be the exception that proves the rule.


Our second talk this week will be Thursday, February 23rd, given by Ryan Bennett (Yale), at 1:30pm in Hum 1, room 202. His talk is entitled “Idiosyncrasy and contextual variability in the prosody of functional morphemes” and the abstract is given below:

Dependent morphemes (affixes, clitics) may idiosyncratically select for prosodic properties of their hosts (Inkelas 1990, Zec 2005, etc.). For example, the English comparative suffix -er does not attach to stems greater than two syllables in size (smart-er vs. *intelligent-er). Violation of a prosodic subcategorization frame may lead to simple ungrammaticality (e.g. *pretentious-er). In other cases, subcategorization requirements are met by restructuring the prosody of a morpheme’s host. In this talk we consider several case studies in which functional morphemes idiosyncratically impose a particular prosodic structure on their hosts, sometimes with dramatic results.

In Macedonian, preverbal object clitics are typically unstressable ( ‘(s)he saw him’, *). But in the presence of wh-words or sentential negation, such clitics are parsed into the same prosodic word as the verb and may bear stress ( ‘Who saw him?’). In Kaqchikel, a variety of diagnostics indicate that absolutive agreement markers have a different prosodic parse depending on the presence or absence of outer aspect marking (e.g. [xin-b’e] ‘I went’ vs. [in=jwi’] ‘I am intelligent’). The puzzle here is understanding why the prosody of “inner” morphemes (e.g. object clitics) depends on the occurrence of a specific “outer” morpheme (e.g. wh-words).

We propose that these patterns arise from prosodic subcategorization: the “outer” morphemes in question have subcategorization requirements which force re-parsing of their hosts, including any dependent morphemes present in the same structure. We account for this behavior in a novel theory of subcategorization which makes extensive use of prosodic recursion, and which emphasizes the prosodic result of combining a dependent morpheme with its host. We then consider possible extensions of this framework to Chamorro and English, and conclude with the theoretical and methodological implications of our proposal.


On Thursday, February 9, graduate student Erik Zyman gave a talk at the University of Florida (in Gainesville) entitled “Raising out of Finite Domains: The View from P’urhepecha.” He reports that he received a warm welcome and a great many interesting questions and comments. The next day, before returning to California, he was taken to a local nature preserve, where he saw alligators, egrets, herons, and trees draped with epiphytic Spanish moss.


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.