Spell-Out Blog

Week of September 22, 2014

Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Brad Larson (Harvard University)
Coordinated Wh-Questions
Wednesday, September 24 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

GSAS Indo-European and Historical Linguistics Workshop:

Alexander Forte and Caley Smith (Harvard University)
Stylistics and the Question of Authorship in Early Poetry
Friday, September 26 | 4:30pm | Boylston 103

Language Universals Workshop Fall 2014

Oct 9 - Dan Lassiter (Stanford)
Nov 10: Larry Hyman (Berkeley)

Harvard at Sinn und Bedeutung 19

Two students represented Harvard at the 19th Sinn und Bedeutung (SuB19) that took place at the Georg August University at Göttingen, Germany, September 15-17:

  • Dorothy Ahn: 'The semantics of additive either'
  • Yimei Xiang: 'A Grammatical View of Exhaustification with Focus Movement: Evidence from NPI'

Harvard at Questions in Discourse

Andreea Nicolae (PhD 2013) and Yimei Xiang gave invited talks at the Questions in Discourse conference that took place at the University of Göttingen, Germany, September 18-20:

  • Andreea Nicolae: 'Exhaustivity and NPI Licensing in Wh-Questions'
  • Yimei Xiang: 'A Semantic Approach to the Distribution of Mention-Some Questions'

Nicolae and Tsai Win Teaching Award

Andreea Nicolae (PhD 2013) and Edwin Tsai have won Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • Andreea Nicolae: Ling 205 "Syntax Semantics Interface"
  • Edwin Tsai: Ling 241 "Practicum in Linguistics" (TF)


Week of September 15, 2014

Department Fall Reception

The Department of Linguistics Fall Reception will take place in Boylston Hall at 5:15pm this Thursday, September 18. All undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and visitors are invited. Please join us in welcoming everyone to Linguistics!

Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Masha Polinsky (Harvard University)
Experimental approaches to ergativity
Wednesday, September 17 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Majer appears in Russian Linguistics

Marek Majer's article entitled "The origin of the ‘l-less perfect’ in the Novgorod birchbark documents" has been published in Russian Linguistics Vol. 38, Issue 2.

Harvard Circles Colloquium 2014-2015

(Subject to change)
October 24 - Howard Lasnik
November 14 - Draga Zec
January 30 - Florian Schwarz
March 27 - Jon Gajewski
April 10 - Satoshi Tomioka

Week of september 8, 2014

Fall 2014

Study Card Day is tomorrow (Tuesday, September 9). Completed study cards for all students are due between 9 am and 5 pm. 

Here is a list of seminars being taught this semester:

  • Silent but Meaningful: On Ellipsis
    Ling 204r Topics in Syntax | Liu | Th 1-3
  • Focus: Uniformity or Diversity?
    Ling 205r The Syntax-Semantics Interface | Charnavel | F 1-3
  • Comparative and Historical Morphology of the Greek and Latin Verb
    Ling 221r Workshop in Indo-European | Jasanoff | Th 3-5 

The Department of Linguistics Fall Reception will take place in Boylston Hall at 5:15pm on Thursday, September 18. All undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and visitors are invited. Please join us in welcoming everyone to Linguistics!

Polinsky Lab Meeting

Wednesday, September 10 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor)

The first Polinsky Lab meeting of the semester will be this Wednesday. The meeting's agenda includes introductions and mapping out the schedule for the semester.

Harvard at AMLaP

Laine Stranahan presented her work "Effects of Working Memory Load on the Processing of Numerals and Scalar Quantifiers"  (a project with Qingqing Wu, Manizeh Khan, and Jesse Snedeker) at the 20th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP), which took place at the University of Edinburgh, September 3-6, 2014.

Harvard at SciLAC

Dora Mihoc presented her work "The broader epistemic future" at Commitment phenomena through the study of evidential markers in Romance languages, an international conference which took place at the Institute for Language and Communication Sciences, University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Sep 4-5, 2014.

Clemens, Coon, Mateo Pedro, Morgan, Polinsky, and Tandet appear in NLLT

The paper "Ergativity and the complexity of extraction: a view from Mayan" co-authored by Polinsky Lab members Lauren ClemensMaria Polinsky, and Gabrielle Tandet '13 and former lab members Jessica Coon, Pedro Mateo Pedro, and Adam Milton Morgan has been published in the journal Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

Week of September 1, 2014

Welcome to the Fall 2014 semester!

Classes begin this Tuesday, September 2. Please remember that Study Card Day is Tuesday, September 9. 

If you have news or announcements that you would like to be posted on Spell-Out anytime during the semester, please email us at spelloutblog@gmail.com. Unless you specify otherwise, submissions received by the end of working hours on Friday will be reviewed and posted in the following week's issue.

Students at the G1 Welcome Picnic
Photo by Edwin Tsai

Huang named LSA Fellow

The Harvard Department of Linguistics would like to welcome Prof. C.-T. James Huang back from his sabbatical as we begin the fall 2014 term.

In addition, the Department is excited to share the news that Prof. Huang has been named a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. Welcome back, Jim, and congratulations!

Week of August 25, 2014

Welcome G1s!

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to welcome this year's incoming students to the PhD program:

This Year's Visitors

Four visitors will be joining the department this academic year. The Department would like to give a warm welcome to this year's visitors:

  • Professor Birong Huang (Shanghai Ocean University, China)
  • Professor Ling Jiang (Henan University, China)
  • Professor Angelo Mercado (Grinnell College)
  • Hang Wei (Peking University, China)

Fall Events and Deadlines

Wednesday, August 27 is the deadline for all GSAS students including Special Students and Visiting Fellows to register online for the fall term which will begin on Tuesday, September 2. Registration Deadline for all Undergraduate students is Tuesday, September 2. Check the FAS Academic Calendar for more information.

Week of August 11, 2014

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

Four doctoral students and twelve undergraduates received degrees from the Department of Linguistics this year. The Department would like to congratulate them on their accomplishments and their plans for the future.

  • Katryna Cadle, A.B.
  • Sharon Carlson, A.B.
  • Paul Castrigano, A.B.
  • Martin Cseh, A.B.
  • Miriam Farkas, A.B.
  • Michael Goncalves, A.B.
  • James Hamilton, A.B.
  • Nicholas Longenbaugh, A.B.
  • Christine Maroti, A.B.
  • Allison Ray, A.B.
  • Preston So, A.B.
  • Matthew Williams, A.B.

Left to right: Louis Liu, Lauren Eby Clemens, Andreea Nicolae, Gregory Scontras, Laura Grestenberger.


Farewell to Departing Visitors

The Department of Linguistics has been fortunate to have the following scholars with us for the 2013-2014 academic year:

  • Professor Andres Enrique-Aries (Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain)
  • Professor Takeo Kurafuji (Ritzumeikan University, Japan)
  • Professor Ping Liu (South-Central University for Nationalities, China)
  • Professor Thi Thuy Hong Pham (Vietnam National University)
  • Professor Kazue Takeda (Bunkyo University)
  • Manuel Kriz (University of Vienna)
  • Giuseppe Ricciardi (IUSS Center for Ne.T.S., Pavia, Italy)
  • Shalom Kim of (Northeastern University)

Farewell to all of you, and we wish you the best!

Nicolae to ZAS, Germany

College Fellow Andreea Nicolae (PhD 2013) has joined the Center of General Linguistics in Berlin (ZAS) as a post-doctoral fellow, and she will be working with Uli Sauerland on an XPrag.de (experimental pragmatics) project entitled "The Strength of Scalar Inferences".

Charnavel Receives NSF Grant

Assistant Professor Isabelle Charnavel has received a three-year NSF grant for her research project titled "Collaborative Research: Typology and Theory of Anaphora". Congratulations, Isabelle!

Conferences in the summer

Yujing Huang presented her work "Explaining phonological variation: a case study of Mandarin tone sandhi" at MfM22 (Manchester Phonology Meeting 22) which took place in Manchester, UK, May 29-31.

(Jelena) Lena Borise presented her work "How to say “no” to a “no”: polarity reversal in English and Russian" at the 11th WoSSP (Workshop on Syntax, Semantics and Phonology) that took place at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, June 5-6.

Week of May 12, 2014

Spring Semester Ends

The Spring 2014 semester officially ends with the last day of Spring Examination Period on Saturday, May 17. Commencement for 2014 will be on Thursday, May 29. As of June 2, the Department of Linguistics operate on summer hours.

Spell-Out will resume its weekly postings in September. If you have news you would like to share during the summer, please send an email or fill out the submission form. The blog and the Harvard Linguistics Facebook page will be updated once a month until September.

Thesis Defense

Gregory Scontras
The Semantics of Measurement
Tuesday, May 20 | 2pm-5pm | Boylston 303

Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Michael Goncalves (Harvard University)
Speech Errors in the Tongue Twister Paradigm
Wednesday, May 14 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street

Nick Longenbaugh (Harvard University)
Title TBA
Wednesday, May 21 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street

Week of May 5, 2014

Senior Thesis Colloquium

Tuesday, May 6 | 2:15pm-4:30pm | Sever 102

This year's Senior Thesis Colloquium will take place tomorrow, Tuesday May 6. The event will feature a welcoming remarks by Professor Maria Polinsky. More information can be found in the program.

Department Spring Reception

Tuesday, May 6 | 5:15pm | Boylston

The Department of Linguistics will have its Spring Reception on Tuesday, May 6th at 5:15 pm. We hope everyone is able to attend!

Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Gregory Scontras (Harvard University)
The Semantics of Morphological Number
Wednesday, May 7 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Harvard at LSRL

Assistant Professor Isabelle Charnavel gave two talks at the 44th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL) which took place at Western University in London, Ontario, May 2-4. Incoming graduate student Aurore Gonzalez also presented at the symposium.

  • Isabelle Charnavel: How French sheds new light on scalar particles
  • Isabelle Charnavel: Clitic Coreference Restrictions and Antilogophoricity in French and Spanish (joint work with Victoria Mateu (UCLA))
  • Aurore Gonzalez & Hamida Demirdache (LLING-EA 3827) Negative Coordination: ni vs. ni ... ni in French

Congratulations, Dr. Clemens!

Congratulations to Lauren Eby Clemens who has successfully defended her dissertation, "Prosodic noun incorporation and verb-initial syntax."

[Photo by Laine Stranahan]

Left to right: Ryan Bennett, Kevin Ryan, Lauren Eby Clemens, Maria Polinsky, Sharon Rice, Matt Clemens, Baby Beatrice
[Photo by Kate Pilson]

Congratulations, Lauren!

Week of April 28, 2014

IX Whatmough Lecture

Barbara Partee (UMass-Amherst)
The History of Formal Semantics: Changing Notions of Semantic Competence
Monday, April 28, 2014 | 4:00pm to 6:00pm | Sever Hall 113

This year's Annual Joshua and Verona Whatmough Lecture will feature Barbara Partee, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Philosophy at UMass-Amherst. Please find the abstract here.

Thesis Defense

Lauren Eby Clemens
Prosodic noun incorporation and verb-initial syntax
Wednesday, April 30 | 11am-2pm | Boylston 303

Language Universals/Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Tyler Lau (Harvard University)
The Interaction of Vowel Devoicing and Pitch Accent in Shiraho Yaeyaman
Wednesday, April 30 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Harvard at PhoNE

Yujing Huang presented her work "Tone Sandhi Variation in Mandarin: a non-cyclic analysis" at the Phonology in the Northeast Conference (PhoNE), which took place at MIT on April 26.

Next week at Harvard

Senior Thesis Colloquium
Tuesday, May 6 | 2:15pm-4:30pm | Sever 102

Department Spring Reception
Tuesday, May 6 | 5:15pm | Boylston

Congratulations, Dr. Grestenberger!

Congratulations to Laura Grestenberger who has successfully defended her dissertation, "Feature Mismatch: Deponency in Indo-European Languages."

Left to right: Laura Grestenberger, Jay Jasanoff, and Marek Majer

Congratulations, Laura!

[Photos by Pooja Paul]

Week of April 21, 2014

Thesis Defense

Laura Grestenberger
Feature Mismatch: Deponency in Indo-European Languages
Wednesday, April 23 | 3pm-6pm | Boylston 303

GSAS Indo-European and Historical Linguistics Workshop:

Alan Nussbaum (Cornell University)
Greek νῶκαρ ‘lethargy’ and Other Weighty Matters
Friday, April 25 | 5:15pm | Boylston 303

Harvard at ECO5

Three student presenters represented Harvard at this year's Maryland-MIT-Harvard-UMass-UConn Workshop in Formal Linguistics (ECO5) that took place at the University of Maryland on April 19:

  • Dorothy Ahn: 'Additive either as a disjunctive NPI counterpart of too'
  • Laurence B-Violette: 'Object-subject obviation: evidence from French'
  • Lena Borise: 'The Syntax of Answers to Negative Polarity Questions in English and Russian'

Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium

The 11th Annual Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium at Harvard that took place this past weekend was a great success. Twenty-one undergraduates representing 13 different schools presented the results of their hard work and shared novel ideas or approaches to a broad range of issues in linguistics. The organizers of the event would especially like to thank Helen Lewis for all her help with organizing the event; Edwin Tsai for his constant reminders and advice; Professor Masha Polinsky for speaking at the opening ceremony; Professor Jacobsen for a great keynote talk; and to the linguistics department as a whole for the support, both in terms of funding and encouragement.

Left to right: Kenneth Mai, Carl Rogers, Priyanka Sen (Organizers)

[Photos by Carl Rogers]

MIT Colloquium 

Richard Kayne (NYU)
Friday, April 25| 3:30-5pm | 32-141

IX Whatmough Lecture

Barbara Partee (UMass-Amherst)
Monday, April 28, 2014 | 4:00pm to 6:00pm | Sever Hall 113

This year's Annual Joshua and Verona Whatmough will feature Barbara Partee, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Philosophy at UMass-Amherst. She is one of the founders of contemporary formal semantics.