Past Events

  • 2013 Nov 14

    Linguistics Happy Hour



    John Harvard's, 33 Dunster Street, Cambridge, MA

    The first Happy Hour event of the year will take place at John Harvard's!

    Organized by HGSL.

  • 2013 Nov 07

    Universals: Paul de Lacy

    5:00pm to 6:30pm


    Boylston 303

    What counts as evidence for universals?

    Abstract: My talk is about Generative theories of the phonological module (PhM). I will identify some core requirements that such theories impose on evidence for the PhM, then discuss several cases where these evidential requirements are not met. I will then argue that these cases are fairly representative of work in phonological theory, with the consequence that an unknown (but presumably large) number of claims about PhM universals have an uncertain status.

    Some optional background reading:

    de Lacy, Paul (...

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  • 2013 Nov 06

    Universals: Norbert Corver (UiL-OTS, Utrecht university)

    5:15pm to 7:00pm



    Small but Intense

    Abstract: "Ideation reigns supreme in language, […] volition and emotion come in as distinctly secondary factors." With these words, Edward Sapir (1921:217) claimed that language is primarily a tool for the expression of thought (ideas). The expression of affect is only secondary. This secondary role is reflected in the form of language: "[T]he emotional aspect of our psychic life is but meagerly expressed in the build of language;" (Sapir ibidem). Roman Jakobson (1960) acknowledges the supremacy of the expression of thought but emphasizes...

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  • 2013 Oct 17

    Circles: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Arizona)

    5:30pm to 7:00pm


    Boylston 303

    Steps to the Physics of Language

    Abstract: The study of complex systems seems to affirm the Thompson-Turing claim that “some physical processes are of very general occurrence.” Notably, those involving Fibonacci-based “golden” forms, ubiquitous in nature, and a number of mathematical models standard in modern physics (matrix representation of operators, with associated eigenvalues and eigenvectors expressing directional stability). This lends immediate interest to the observation that the repeated  structural motif in the human syntactic system, the X-bar...

    Read more about Circles: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Arizona)