Spell-Out Blog

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. 

Week of April 14, 2014

GSAS Indo-European and Historical Linguistics Workshop:

Gašper Beguš (Harvard University)
Vedic Metrics and the Restoration of the Lost *v
Monday, April 14 | 5:15pm | Boylston 303

Language Universals/Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Bronwyn Bjorkman (University of Toronto)
Ergative as Perfective Oblique
Wednesday, April 16 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Linguistics Circle Workshop 

Alec Marantz (New York University)
Competition and Prediction in Word Processing: MEG Studies of Visual and Auditory Word Recognition
Friday, April 18 | 4:30pm | Boylston 103

Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium

The 11th Annual Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium at Harvard, hosted by the Harvard College Linguistics Group and the Harvard Linguistics Department, will take place this Saturday, April 19. The event will feature a keynote speech by Professor Wesley Jacobsen, as well as presentations of original research by over 20 undergraduates from universities across the country. More information including the schedule can be found in the program.

Harvard at CLS 50

Jenny Lee presented her work "Root allomorphy in Ranmo (Papuan)" at the 50th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, which took place at the University of Chicago, April 10-12.

Congratulations, Dr. Liu!

Congratulations to Chi-Ming (Louis) Liu who has successfully defended his dissertation, "A Modular Theory of Radical Pro Drop."


Left to right: Maria Polinsky, Louis Liu, C.-T. James Huang.

Congratulations, Louis!
[Photos by Edwin Tsai]

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 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. 

Week of April 7, 2014

Thesis Defense

Chi-Ming (Louis) Liu
A Modular Theory of Radical Pro Drop
Tuesday, April 8 | 3pm-5:30pm | Boylston 303

Polinsky Wins Advising Award

Professor Maria Polinsky, Linguistics Director of Undergraduate Studies, has won a faculty advising award from the Star Family Prizes for Excellence in Advising from the Advising Programs Office. Established three years ago, the award recognizes 12 advisors each year for their outstanding guidance and mentorship in their work with undergraduates. Congratulations, Masha!

Language Universals/Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Duygu Ozge (Harvard University)
Morpheme-based incremental processing in head-final child language
Wednesday, April 9 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

GSAS Indo-European and Historical Linguistics Workshop:

Nicholas Zair (University of Cambridge)
Why the Oscans couldn't spell, and what it tells us about Oscan
Wednesday, April 9 | 5:15pm | Boylston 303

I will be talking about the spelling of Oscan inscriptions written in the Greek alphabet from the south of Italy. Contrary to previous suggestions, I'll show that there were no fixed spelling conventions for these inscriptions; this variation provides evidence for interesting things to do with the phonology and morphology of Oscan (and Proto-Italic), and also has implications for approaches to the dating of inscriptions and the sociolinguistics of Oscan in the south.

Linguistics Circle Workshop 

Mark Baker (Rutgers University)
Parameters of Structural Case
Thursday, April 10 | 5:30pm | Sever Hall 306

Clemens at University of Iowa

Lauren Eby Clemens gave a colloquium talk on her work "A Prosodic Account of Niuean Pseudo Noun Incorporation" on Thursday, April 3 at the University of Iowa.

Harvard at GLOW 37

A number of student and faculty presenters represented Harvard at the 37th Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) that took place April 2-4 in Brussels:

  • Zuzanna Fuchs, Maria Polinsky, and Gregory Scontras: ‘The Differential Representation of Number and Gender in Spanish’
  • Yimei Xiang: Focus structure and NPI-licensing
  • Laura Grestenberger: Localizing Voice in bivalent voice systems: passive and middle in Sanskrit and Greek
  • Isabelle Charnavel: The Clitic Binding Restriction revisited: evidence for antilogophoricity (joint work with Victoria Mateu, UCLA)

Week of March 31, 2014

GSAS Indo-European and Historical Linguistics Workshop:

Alexander Forte & Caley Smith (Harvard University)
The Parallel Reception of Traditional Poetry in Early Philosophy
Monday, March 31 | 5:15pm | Boylston 303

Linguistics Department Spring Open House

The Linguistics Department Spring Open House for prospective concentrators will take place on Tuesday, April 1 from 4:00 to 6:00pm in the department lounge. Refreshments will be provided. Everyone is very much welcome to attend and mingle!

Harvard at PLC 38

Jenny Lee presented her work "Constructed dual in Hopi: A cyclic insertion approach" at the 38th Penn Linguistics Colloquium (PLC) on Saturday, March 29.

MIT Colloquium 

Adamantios Gafos (Haskins Laboratories, Universität Potsdam)
Friday, April 4 | 3:30-5pm | 32-141

Thesis Defense

Chi-Ming (Louis) Liu
A Modular Theory of Radical Pro Drop
Tuesday, April 8 | 3pm-5:30pm | Boylston 303

Laura Grestenberger
Feature Mismatch: Deponency in Indo-European Languages
Wednesday, April 23 | 2pm-5pm | Sever 213

Lauren Eby Clemens
Wednesday, April 30 | 11am-2pm | Boylston 303

Week of March 24, 2014

Language Universals/Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Spanish Agreement II: A discussion of Spanish agreement in native and heritage speakers
Discussion led by Maria PolinskyGreg ScontrasZuzanna Fuchs
Wednesday, March 26 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Linguistics Circle Workshop 

Sharon Inkelas (UC Berkeley)
ABC+Q: segmental subdivisions in correspondence
Friday, March 28 | 4:30pm | Boylston 103

Phonological theory has long been challenged by the behavior of contour segments and contour tones in harmony patterns. Sometimes these entities participate in phonology as whole units; at other times, their subsegmental parts act independently. This talk, based on joint work with Stephanie Shih (Stanford/Berkeley), builds on insights from Aperture Theory (Steriade 1993), Articulatory Phonology (Browman and Goldstein 1989; Gafos 2002) and Autosegmental Theory (Goldsmith 1976) to propose a novel phonological representation for segments: each segment (‘Q’) is subdivided into a maximum of three ordered subsegmental phases (‘q’) that host unitary sets of distinctive features and can participate in harmony and other processes. Embedded into Agreement by Correspondence theory (Hansson 2001, Rose and Walker 2004), Q theory makes it possible to describe the dual behavior of contours. Q-level correspondence gives rise to whole-contour assimilation and dissimilation; q-level correspondence gives rise to interactions among the parts of contours. The predictions of ABC+Q theory are illustrated with evidence from local and nonlocal interactions among consonants, vowels, and tones.

Week of March 17, 2014

Happy Spring Break!

Harvard's Spring Recess began Saturday, March 15, and ends Sunday, March 23. There will be no classes and the department will have limited hours.

Larson, Nicolae, Majer, and Stranahan Win Teaching Award

Visiting Lecturer Bradley LarsonCollege Fellow Andreea Nicolae, Marek Majer and Laine Stranahan have won Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • Brad Larson: Ling 102 "Sentence Structure" and Ling 112 "Syntactic Theory I"
  • Andreea Nicolae: Ling 116 "Semantic Theory I"
  • Marek Majer: Ling 108 "Introduction to Historical Linguistics" (TF)
  • Laine Stranahan: Ling 102 "Sentence Structure" (TF)

Congratulations!

Week of March 10, 2014

Call for Abstracts: Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium 2014

The 11th Annual Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium at Harvard will take place April 19-20, 2014. The conference is open to all interested students regardless of area of interest or level of training. See the call for abstracts for more information. The deadline for receipt of all submissions is Wednesday, March 19.

Harvard at WCCFL 32

Isabelle Charnavel presented "Antilogophoricity in Clitic Clusters" (joint work with Victoria Mateu) at the 32nd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 32) which took place on March 7-9 at the University of Southern California.

Language Universals/Polinsky Lab Meeting 

Spanish Agreement I: A discussion of syntax and processing in Spanish number and gender agreement
Discussion led by Maria Polinsky, Greg ScontrasZuzanna Fuchs
Wednesday, March 12 | 5:15pm | 2 Arrow Street (4th floor conference room)

Please go to the event page for the readings.

MIT Colloquium 

Marcel den Dikken (CUNY)
Friday, March 14 | 3:30-5pm | 32-141