Congratulations to Jeff, now rightly honored by the University as a Distinguished Scholar Teacher, one of "a small number of faculty members each year who have demonstrated notable success in both scholarship and teaching." Jeff joins Paul, Howard and Colin in this honor. Winners of the award give a public presentation of their research; we look forward to Jeff's next year.
March 27-29, WCCFL 33 features work by Dongwoo, Kate, Valentine and Jeff, as well as alumni Alexis Wellwood, Alex Drummond, Dave Kush, Brad Larson, and imminent Terp Maria Polinsky. Alumnus Matt Wagers will even give one of the keynote addresses!
Kaitlyn Harrigan, Valentine Hacquard and Jeffrey Lidz, Syntactic Bootstrapping in the Acquisition of Attitude Verbs
Bradley Larson and Alexis Wellwood, A long-distance morphosyntax and semantics for comparative clauses
Bradley Larson, Nicholas Longenbaugh and Maria Polinsky, Subject/Object Parity in Niuean and the Labeling Algorithm
Matt Wagers, Structuring Expectations
Alex Drummond and Dave Kush, Decomposing the Spanish Reflexive Passive
Just out in Linguistic Variation, "The role of case in A-bar extraction asymmetries: Evidence from Mayan," by Jessica Coon, Pedro Mateo Pedro and our own Omer Preminger. The paper asks why, in some morphologically ergative languages but not others, ergative subjects cannot be extracted. It answers that this reflects, not properties of the ergative subject itself, but rather locality properties of absolutive case assignment. It then argues that the Agent Focus construction in Q'anjob'al, a Mayan language of Guatemala, circumvents the restriction by assigning case to internal arguments.
Now out in Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences, "Hyper-active Gap-filling" by Akira Omaki, Ellen, Colin, and RAs Imogen White, Myles Dakan and Aaron Apple. The paper studies the processing of sentences in verb-medial languages where a wh-object has been fronted. It asks whether comprehenders wait to consult verb transitivity information before constructing filler-gap dependencies, or instead make representational commitments on the gap position before verb transitivity information becomes available. In the latter case, disruption should be observed when the verb is intransitive. In three reading experiments (self-paced and eye-tracking) that manipulated verb transitivity, the authors found evidence for reading disruption when the verb was intransitive, although no such reading difficulty was observed when the critical verb was embedded inside a syntactic island structure, which blocks filler-gap dependency completion. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that in English, as in verb-final languages, information from preverbal NPs is sufficient to trigger active dependency completion without having access to verb transitivity information.
Congratulations to Dan, class of 2014, now winner of the J.J. Katz Young Scholar Award. The award recognizes the paper or poster presented at the Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing that best exhibits the qualities of intellectual rigor, creativity, and independence of thought exemplified in the life and work of Professor Jerrold J. Katz. In this honor Dan joins his classmates Wing-Yee Chow and Sol Lago, who won in 2012.
March 19-21 at USC, the CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing hosts 40 presentations by 30 UMD students, faculty, RAs, alumni, postdocs and visitors, drawn from Linguistics, HESP, CASL, NACS, Psychology and Philosophy. This makes for about 15% of the total program. Our presenters are Dustin, Jeff Green, Shota, Zoe, Ellen, Colin and Alexander from Linguistics; RA Julia Buffinton; BA alumna and current RA Anna Namyst; alumni Brian Dillon '11, Dave Kush '13, Diogo Almeida '09, Jon Sprouse '07, Masaya Yoshida '06, Matt Wagers '08, Nina Kazanini '05, Sol Lago '14, Wing-Yee Chow '13; 2005-7 postdoc Ming Xiang; 2001-2 visitor Natalia Slioussar; 2010-1 Baggett alumnus Shayne Sloggett; Mike McCourt from Philosophy; Bob Slevc from Psychology; Alix Kowalski, Yi Ting Huang and Rochelle Newman and Matt Goupell from HESP; NACS alumna Erika Hussey; plus Nina Hsu and Jared Novick from CASL.
Talks with present Terps
- Bob Slevc, "Parses of corrected errors persist"
- Michael McCourt, Jeffrey Green, Ellen Lau and Alexander Williams, "Syntax or discourse: Processing implicit control from passives"
- Nina Hsu and Jared Novick, "Dynamic engagement of cognitive control facilitates recovery from misinterpretation"
- Shota Momma, Hiromu Saki and Colin Phillips "Give me several hundred more milliseconds: The temporal dynamics of verb prediction"
- Sol Lago, Anna Namyst and Ellen Lau, "N400 semantic expectation effects provide evidence for rapid pronoun resolution"
- Yi Ting Huang, Rochelle Newman, Allison Catalano and Matthew Goupell, "Using prosody to infer discourse status in normal-hearing and cochlear-implant listeners"
Posters with present Terps
- Alix Kowalski and Yi Ting Huang, "The influence of discourse information on syntactic cues to grammatical role assignment"
- Dustin Chacón and Colin Phillips, "When resumptive pronouns complete unbounded dependencies they do so inadvertently"
- Shota Momma, Bob Slevc and Colin Phillips, "The timing of verb planning in active and passive sentence production"
- Wing Yee Chow, Ilia Kurenkov, Julia Buffinton, Becca Kraut and Colin Phillips, "How predictions change over time: Evidence from an online cloze paradigm"
- Zoe Schlueter and Ellen Lau, "How quickly is Definiteness Information incorporated into Comprehender Expectations?"
Talks with past Terps
- Laurel Brehm, Erika Hussey and Kiel Christianson, "Cue strength and executive function in agreement comprehension"
- Michael Frazier, Peter Baumann, Lauren Ackerman, David Potter and Masaya Yoshida, "Does wh-filler-gap dependency formation resolve local ambiguity?"
Posters with past Terps
- Lauren Ackerman, Nina Kazanina and Masaya Yoshida, "Does the cataphoric dependency formation help the parser resolve local ambiguity?"
- Helena Aparicio, Ming Xiang and Chris Kennedy, "Online processing of relative vs. absolute adjectives: A visual world study"
- Aaron Apple and Akira Omaki, "Development of sentential complement ambiguity processing"
- Peter Baumann and Masaya Yoshida, "A psycholinguist asking who binds himself: Interference effects in the processing of reflexives"
- Peter Baumann, Nina Kazanina and Masaya Yoshida, "Online processing respects a pragmatic constraint or Hurford's constraint"
- Peter Baumann, Kathleen Hall, Nayoun Kim, R. Alexander Schumacher and Masaya Yoshida, "The processing of adjunct wh-questions"
- Daria Chernova and Natalia Slioussar, "The time course of syntactic ambiguity processing: Evidence from Russian"
- Wing-Yee Chow and Manuel Carreiras, "Effects of ergative case marking in online verb predictions: ERP evidence from Basque"
- Wing-Yee Chow and Manuel Carreiras, "Effects of verb transitivity on subject-verb agreement processing: ERP evidence from Basque"
- Scarlett Clothier-Goldschmidt and Matt Wagers, "Grammatical Person, Pronouns and the Subject-Object Asymmetry in Relative Clauses"
- Brian Dillon, Charles Clifton, Shayne Sloggett and Lyn Frazier, "Only some relative clauses cause retrieval interference in filler-gap processing"
- Brian Dillon, Adrian Staub, Joshua Levy and Charles Clifton, "Distinguishing discrete from gradient grammaticality using Likert scale data"
- Julie Franck and Matt Wagers, "Hierarchical structure and memory retrieval mechanisms in attraction: A SAT study"
- Margaret Grant, Brian Dillon and Shayne Sloggett, "Similarities in processing attachment and pronominal ambiguities"
- Kathleen Hall and Masaya Yoshida, "Parallelism in pronoun-antecedent dependency resolution"
- Erika Hussey, Kiel Christianson, Nathan Ward, Michael Nosek and Arthur Kramer, "Stimulation of executive control regions influences garden-path recovery"
- Michael Frazier and Masaya Yoshida, "Morphological and syntactic cues in the processing of gapping"
- Dave Kush and Julie Van Dyke, "When the gap-filling gets tough: Resolving multiple filler-gap dependencies"
- Sol Lago and Claudia Felser, "Computation of number agreement in native and non-native speakers of German"
- R. Alexander Schumacher and Masaya Yoshida, "Verb subcategorization and syntactic prediction"
- Natalia Slioussar and Natalia Cherepovskaia, "Number, gender and case feature interaction in processing: Evidence from Russian"
- Shayne Sloggett and Brian Dillon, "Interference in reflexives is the result of a logophoric interpretation"
- Anya Stetsenko, Tatiana Matushkina and Natalia Slioussar, "Agreement attraction errors and Russian case syncretism: Production experiments"
- Matthew Tucker, Ali Idrissi and Diogo Almeida, "Plural type matters for on-line processing: Self-paced reading evidence from Arabic"
- Matthew Tucker, Ali Idrissi, Jon Sprouse and Diogo Almeida, "Resumption ameliorates but does not repair island violations: Evidence from Modern Standard Arabic acceptability"
- Sandra Villata, Brian McElree, Matt Wagers and Julie Franck, "Temporal dynamics of weak islands: A speed-accuracy trade-off study"
- Ming Xiang, Juanhua Yang and Suiping Wang, "Classifier mismatch in ellipsis resolution"
March 13 Alexander gives the colloquium talk at Rutgers. One of only nine colleges founded before the Revolutionary War, Rutgers was until 1825 named "Queen's College", in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of mad King George III. Rutgers thus shares its earlier namesake with the Haida Gwaii of British Columbia.
March 4-6 in Leipzig, at the Alternative to Formal Features Workshop sponsored by the German Society for Linguistics, Omer presents "Syntactic operations exceed what the interfaces can account for.'' The audience will surely leave quoting the student in Goethe's Faust: "Mein Leipzig lob' ich mir! Es ist ein klein Paris und bildet seine Leute."
Congratulations to Montgomery Blair student Harini Salgado, now a semi-finalist in the Intel Talent Search for her "Using Kullback-Leibler Divergence to Study the Effects of Vocal Tract Length Normalization on Dialect Differences in Vowel Speech Samples." The paper grew out of work Harini did at UMD last summer with Caitlin and Naomi. Each year the Talent Search chooses only 300 students as semifinalists. From this select pool, 40 are then invited to Washington, DC in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for three top awards of $150,000 each.
Now out in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Omer's “Case in Sakha: are two modalities really necessary?", co-authored with Ted Levin. The paper argues against the 2010 claim from Baker & Vinokurva that Sakha, a Siberian Turkic language, requires two modes of case assignment, both by configurational rules and by functional heads, and shows that rules of the former sort are sufficient.
Congratulations to Elika! The '08 Baggett alumna is one of Forbes's "30 Under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing The World"! The magazine celebrates Elika's finding – reported here, here, and in her 2013 UPenn dissertation under Dan Swingley – that while "around 6 months, infants start understanding words for foods and body parts, not until 10 months do they get words like 'uh-oh' or verbs like 'eat'."
January 9 at U. Paris Diderot, Sayaka presents "Locality on generalized pied-piping and wh-agreement in Bantu," a talk at the 23rd Conference of the Student Organization of Linguistics in Europe.
Congratulations to Kenshi, who in 2015 becomes Assistant Professor at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics in Tokyo.
December 15-19, TAU hosts a workshop with UMD, first in a series to promote research collaborations and student exchanges between the two universities. The UMD team is Bill, Colin, Dustin, Kasia, Laurel, Masha, Naomi and Omer. This first workshop is on two themes – phonological learning and resumptive pronouns – that benefit from cross-language comparison and multi-disciplinary approaches. It brings together experts in syntax, phonology, computational modeling, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and language disorders.
Congratulations to 2013 alumnus Dave Kush, who has been awarded 3 years of support from the NIH, through its highly competitive NRSA fellowship, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. Dave's research proposal is titled "Retrieval dynamics and interference in anaphoric resolution: Skilled and unskilled readers."
In Technology's Latest Quest: Tracking Mental Health, Newsweek reports work by Philip that looks for "signals in language use that help produce insight into people’s mental health status." Also discussed is related research by Carol Espy-Wilson, Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering.
Now out as Ch.11 in Experimental Perspectives on Presuppositions, "Three-Year-Olds’ Understanding of Know and Think," by Rachel Dudley, with Naho Orita, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz. The paper investigates three-year-olds’ representations of the attitude verbs think and know, in an attempt to assess children’s understanding of factivity. The results show that some three-year-olds are able to distinguish think and know, particularly in ways that suggest they understand that know presupposes the truth of its complement, and that think does not. The remaining three-year-olds, however, seem to treat both as non-factive. This suggests that early representations of know may be non-factive, and raises the question of how children come to distinguish the verbs.
November 13 Paul is at U. Konstanz, talking to their "Foundations of Semantics" group, and reporting on his work with Jeff Lidz, in "Semantic Framing: The Meaning of 'most'." Lake Constance, on whose banks met the council that ended the Great Schism, is today the only area in Europe with no agreed borders.
Rachael Richardson, Naomi Feldman and William Idsardi, "What defines a category? Evidence that listeners' perception is governed by generalizations"
Caitlin Richter, Naomi Feldman and Aren Jansen, "Representing speech in a model of phonetic perception"
Now out in Frontiers in Psychology, Local anaphor licensing in an SOV language, by '13 alumnus Dave Kush, along with Colin Phillips. Dave and Colin studied the licensing of reciprocals in Hindi, an SOV language, in order to determine whether pre-verbal anaphors are subject to morphological interference from feature-matching distractors in a way that post-verbal anaphors are not. They found no evidence that distractors eased processing of an unlicensed reciprocal. However, the presence of a distractor increased difficulty of processing following the reciprocal. This paper discusses the significance of these results for theories of cue selection in retrieval.
November 7, USC honors the late Jim Higginbotham with the first lecture in a biennial series, Paul Pietroski on "Form and Composition." In this talk Paul compares Higginbotham's view of semantics to those represented by Heim and Kratzer, on the one hand, and Polly Jacobson, on the other. The Higginbotham Lectures are hosted jointly by the departments of Linguistics and Philosophy.
November 7-9 in Tübingen at a workshop on pronouns under attitude verbs, postdoc alum Tom Grano presents “How to neutralize a finite clause boundary: Phase theory and the grammar of bound pronouns,” joint work with Howard Lasnik.
Congratulations to Kasia, who has received a Paula Menyuk Travel Award to help with travel expenses for BUCLD. Kasia will be presenting "Cognitive Limitations Impose Advantageous Constraints on Word Segmentation", joint work with Yale's Gaja Jarosz.
November 7-9, BUCLD features talks and posters by fifteen current or former Maryland language scientists: Angela, Julie, Kasia, Kate, Katie Leech, Naho Orita and Rachel; Colin, Jeff, Naomi, Valentine and Yi Ting; Akira Omaki, Elika Bergelson and Morgan Moyer; and also Meredith Rowe.
- A. He and J. Lidz: Development of the verb-event link between 14 and 18 months
- K. Hitczenko and G. Jarosz: Cognitive Limitations Impose Advantageous Constraints on Word Segmentation
- E. Bergelson and R. Aslin: Meaning Specificity in One-Year-Olds’ Word Comprehension
- A. Omaki, T. Kobayashi and J. Lidz: Cue reliability in the acquisition of Japanese case markers
- J. Gerard and J. Lidz: 4-5 year olds do not attach non-finite adjuncts too low
- Y. Huang, K. Leech and M. Rowe: Understanding difficulties in children’s interpretation of passives: A SES comparison
- M. Moyer, K. Harrigan, V. Hacquard and J. Lidz: 2-year-olds’ comprehension of personal pronouns
- N. Orita, H. Ono, N. Feldman and J. Lidz: A conservative interpretation of the reflexive zibun by Japanese children
- M. Sundara, C. Ngon, K. Skoruppa, N. Feldman, G. Onario, J. Morgan, S. Peperkamp: Young infants’ discrimination of subtle phonetic contrasts
Student workshop: The publication process
- Jeffrey Lidz, University of Maryland, Editor-in-Chief of Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics
Poster Symposium: Linguistics for Everyone: Engaging a broader public for the scientific study of language acquisition.
- Representing UMD at this symposium will be: Jeff Lidz, Rachel Dudley, Katie Leech (UMD/Harvard), Meredith Rowe (Harvard), and Colin Phillips.
October 24, Omer presents "The syntax (and morphology) of non-valuation" at the UMass linguistics colloquium. In this talk Omer argues that, not only in morphology but also in syntax, what was traditionally thought of as one member in a set of possible feature values actually corresponds to the absence of valued features altogether, and that this view of (non‑)valuation leads to empirical advancements in the domains of case assignment and agreement intervention.
Now out in Language and Linguistics Compass, "Expanding our reach and theirs: When Linguists go to High School." In this paper Jeff and Yakov describe our outreach programs at local public schools, including their activities, their motivations and goals, and their prospects.
Congratulations to Angela, one of two recipients of the annual SLD Student Award, for "a record of achievement, and of sustained interest in interdisciplinary research" on language development. The prize helps defray the costs of attending the Society for Language Development Symposium – whose theme this year is "The Representation of Number: Origins and Development" – for graduate students who are presenting papers or posters at BUCLD.
Baggett Fellow alumna Elika Bergelson was awarded $1.25M by the National Institute of Health for being named one of the 2014 Early Independence Award recipients. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester, and her work uses a wide variety of creative methods to examine how babies acquire language.
Just published, "The structure-sensitivity of memory access: evidence from Mandarin Chinese", by Brian, Wing Yee, Matt, and Colin – a big family of Maryland psycholinguists! – with Taomei Guo and Fengqin Liu from Beijing Normal University. The paper, which is based largely on work Brian and Wing Yee did at Maryland and in China as students, examines the processing of the Mandarin Chinese long-distance reflexive ziji. It evaluates the role that syntactic structure plays in the memory retrieval operations that support sentence comprehension, using the multiple-response speed-accuracy tradeoff (MR-SAT) paradigm. The results suggest that not all locality effects may be reduced to the effects of temporal decay and retrieval interference.
Congratulations to Omer, whose book is now published! Agreement and its Failures "investigates how the obligatory nature of predicate-argument agreement is enforced by the grammar," and as Mark Baker writes in his back-cover endorsement, it "does a masterful job of showing how a small-looking and semi-familiar fact about agreement is rich in theoretical consequences which the rest of us have not taken seriously enough."
Sept. 21 at MIT, Naomi presents a plenary talk for Phonology 2014, "Using Speech Corpora in Phonetic Modeling." Also giving a plenary talk, "Asymmetries in the representation of categorical phonotactics", is NYU's Gillian Gallagher, a visitor with us this semester.
Hail to 12 Maryland language scientists and alums, plus their crew, who ran the Ragnar Relay in 28hrs 59mins 30secs on 12-13 September 2014.
The relay stretched over an epic 200-mile route from Cumberland, in the western tip of Maryland, "east through thick forest trails and scenic paths [...] through the quiet streets of many charming historic Civil War-Era towns," pausing for the now traditional petits déjeuners chez Hornstein and Weinberg, ending ultimately at the National Harbor just down the Potomac from Washington DC. Each runner covered 3 of the 36 legs, covering a total of 13-22 miles. The crew began on Friday morning, then ran continuously for around 28 hours and 59 minutes and 30 seconds, running many legs at night, through early autumnal drizzles, ending around 3pm on Saturday.
Bravo also to this year's tireless support crew.
A warm welcome our new class of PhD students: Sigríður Björnsdóttir (Iceland), Kasia Hitczenko (Yale), Nick Huang (Yale), Gesoel Mendes (Paraná, Brazil), and Laurel Perkins. We look forward to five happy and fruitful years!
Congratulations to Chris Dyer (PhD '10), and also to Hal Daumé III in CS, for winning Google Faculty Research Awards, in Machine Translation and Natural Language Processing, respectively. These are "one-year awards structured as unrestricted gifts to universities to support the work of world-class full-time faculty members at top universities around the world."
Congratulations to Naomi, who with OSU's Micha Elsner, has been awarded an NSF grant for "Cognitive models of the acquisition of vowels in context." The project examines how language learners can take into account coarticulatory influences between neighboring sounds when acquiring the sound categories of their language.
Hello to Omer, our new Assistant Professor, who starts with us this semester.
Jeff is one of three students representing UMD at the National Central University of Taiwan (NCU) annual Immersion Program in Chinese language and culture, August 11-29. NCU has graciously offered tuition remission to three UMD graduate students – including course fees, teaching materials, accommodations, meals, local field trips, and special events. The UMD Graduate School will cover your roundtrip airfare to and from Taiwan.
Congratulations to Yakov, who has accepted at postdoctoral research position with Dan Swingley in the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology, investigating phonetic learning and language acquisition. He begins in October.
In Philadelphia Yakov will join Megan Sutton, who is beginning a postdoc in the same department, with John Trueswell. The two Marylanders will maintain the terpitude at Penn, after Professor Swingley's recent graduation of Baggett alumna Elika Bergelson, who is now on a postdoc at the University of Rochester, in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Huge congratulations to Ellen Lau, and Happy Birthday to her healthy and beautiful boy Tadeu, born July 15th in the morning! Also, a big happy slap on the back alumnus Diogo Almeida for becoming an uncle!
July 18 at the Nanzan University Center for Linguistics, Mike and Koji Sugisaki present "On the Nature of Null Objects in Japanese: Preliminary Report of Psycholinguistic Experiments with Adults and Children" at the 2014 Comparative Syntax and Language Acquisition Workshop (CSLA).
July 14-18, the IASCL features work by Aaron, Alexis, Angela, Kate, Naho, Rachel, Shevaun, as well as Valentine, Jeff, Alexander, and Meredith Rowe including (at least) five papers, a poster and three workshops.
The role of grammar and extralinguistic cognition in verb learning, convened by Angela Xiaoxue He
- John Trueswell, with Lucia Pozzan, Judith Köhne and Lila Gleitman: "Learner's sentence processing limitations shape word and grammar acquisition"
- Sandy Waxman, with Kathleen Geraghty, Brock Ferguson and Xiaolan Fu: "When less is more: Evidence from Mandarin-acquiring infants acquisition of novel transitive verbs"
- Ben Ambridge: "Explaining children's difficulties with reversible passives: The role of verb and construction meanings"
- Angela Xiaoxue He, with Alexis Wellwood, Jeffrey Lidz and Alexander Williams: "When participant structure and argument structure do not match: Participant structure construction in adults and prelinguistic infants"
- Letitia Naigles, discussant
2. Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic contributors to the acquisition of attitude verbs, convened by Valentine Hacquard and Jeffrey Lidz
- Kaitlyn Harrigan: "'Want' is easier than 'think' for preschoolers"
- Shevaun Lewis: "Three-year-olds' difficulty with false belief is pragmatic"
- Aaron Steven White: "Syntactic sources of semantics and pragmatics"
- Rachel Dudley, with Naho Orita: "The factivity of 'know' in three-year-olds"
- Jeff Lidz and Valentine Hacquard, discussants
3. Fostering preschool children’s academic language, convened by Meredith Rowe
- Angela Xiaoxue He, Xiangzhi Meng, Alexander Williams and Jeffrey Lidz: "Thematic role assignment in Resultative Constructions in English- and Mandarin-learning children"
- Aaron White: "Contextually modulated syntactic variability in child-directed speech"
July 1 at the École Normale Superieure in the former Lutetia, Jeff Lidz delivers "Children's Attitude Problems," reporting joint work with Valentine Hacquard and the Attitudes Group: Rachel, Aaron, Kate, Naho, Morgan and Shevaun.
June 30-July 4 in Auckland, Chris presents "A more slowly ticking clock isn’t less useful" at the Universitas 21 Graduate Research Conference: Celebrating Ageing Research. This is Maryland's first year in the Universitas 21 network, and Chris is one of three UMD students chosen to be our first representatives to this annual conference, winning full support for this big trip to the other side of the world!
Congratulations to Chris, who is among the authors of an article now out in Psychological Science: "Long-Term Temporal Tracking of Speech Rate Affects Spoken-Word Recognition," by Melissa M. Baese-Berk, Christopher C. Heffner, Laura C. Dilley, Mark A. Pitt, Tuuli H. Morrill, and J. Devin McAuley. The article finds that, when a portion of speech is sped up or slowed down, the rate of the surrounding speech influences what words are heard.
Congratulations to Megan, who has won the Howard Lasnik Distinguished Linguistics TA Award. This annual award, granted by faculty consensus, honors excellence in TA'ing. From all of us: thank you Megan!
We are delighted to welcome Maria Polinsky to our faculty! Masha will leave Harvard and begin as Professor of Linguistics here in Fall 2015. She will also be Associate Director of the Language Science Center.
June 22-27, the 52nd ACL features much Terpwork! Naho Orita presents "Quantifying the role of discourse topicality in speakers' choices of referring expressions," joint work with undergraduate major Eliana Vornov, as well as Naomi Feldman and Jordan Boyd-Graber. The paper is part of a ACL workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics, for which Naomi is a keynote speaker. Naomi also has joint work with Stella Frank and Sharon Goldwater at the general ACL conference, title "Weak semantic context helps phonetic learning in a model of infant language acquisition". Meanwhile Philip Resnik is co-chairing a workshop, "Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology," and is co-author on two papers. These papers also involve '09 alumnus Yuval Marton, and LING-affiliates Jordan Boyd-Graber and Hal Daumé III.
- "A Unified Model for Soft Linguistic Reordering Constraints in Statistical Machine Translation" - Junhui Li, Yuval Marton, Philip Resnik, and Hal Daumé III
- "Political Ideology Detection Using Recursive Neural Networks" - Mohit Iyyer, Peter Enns, Jordan Boyd-Graber and Philip Resnik
Jordan and Hal are also co-authors on three further papers:
- "Anchors Regularized: Adding Robustness and Extensibility to Scalable Topic-Modeling Algorithms" - Thang Nguyen, Yuening Hu and Jordan Boyd-Graber
- "Polylingual Tree-Based Topic Models for Translation Domain Adaptation" - Yuening Hu, Ke Zhai, Vladimir Eidelman and Jordan Boyd-Graber
- "Predicting Instructor's Intervention in MOOC forums" - Snigdha Chaturvedi, Dan Goldwasser and Hal Daumé III
June 21-29, UMD hosts the 6th NASSLI, or North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information. The school features top faculty in linguistics, philosophy, cognitive and computing sciences teaching a dozen and a half intensive 5-day courses, as well as 5 one-hour sessions of student presentations. The faculty includes our own Norbert Hornstein and 2010 alumnus Tim Hunter, as well as Angelika Kratzer, Frank Veltman, James Pustejovsky, Larry Moss, Yoad Winter, Shalom Lappin, Dan Lassiter, Gregory Kobele, Sylvain Salvati, David Danks, Kevin Zollman, Lucas Champollion, Lutz Schröder, Dirk Pattison, Justin Bledin, Alexandru Baltag, Bryan Renne, Sonja Smets, Nina Gierasimczuk, Jakub Szymanik, Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Jan Broersen, Wiebke Petersen and Kata Balogh. Concurrently, semantic valueballers will be competing for the Beaver Cup, in honor of David Beaver, director of the 2012 NASSLLI at Austin, and member of the steering committee.
June 13, in the Gascon Bayonne, Jeff gives an invited talk at "Quantifier Scope: Syntactic, Semantic, and Experimental Approaches," a workshop in Bayonne, France. Bayonne, overrun by Björn Ironside in 842, and namesake to Bayonne, NJ, has since developed one of the world's great hams, as well as the longest tradition of bull-fighting in France.
June 3-7, Colin is is giving 5 talks in the Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series at the Chinese University of Hong Kong: "Linguistic Illusions: Where you see them, and where you don't," "Generating expectations and meanings in language comprehension and production," "Encoding and navigating structured linguistic representations: Recent surprisings," and "Language acquisition and language processing: Could less really be more?," plus one mystery talk. This Colinpalooza follows recent talks at Edinburgh, Lund, and Bristol. Let's hope for a good rest upon Colin's return to Maryland!
May 24, Naomi is an invited speaker at a symposium on Bayesian Methods in Cognition, part of the Association for Psychological Science Convention. Naomi's talk is titled "Modeling statistical learning in language acquisition."
May 13-15, Valentine is an invited speaker at the workshop on Perspective and Modal Semantics, hosted by Linguistics at OSU. She is presenting "Child semantics and the meaning of attitudes," as well as well as joint work with Pranav Anand on "Attitude Reports, Discourse Reports, and Factivity."
May 13th at the CUNY Syntax Supper, Carolina presents "(Hyper)-raising and Long Distance Agree and minimality effects: a view from Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Romanian," joint work with Arhonto Terzi and Michaella Marchis Moreno.
Congratulations to alumna Shevaun Lewis, who took first in the under 30 women's division at the Azalea Classic 5K run, with a time of 25:16, after finishing second in that division last year! Speedy postdoc Tom Grano took 6th in the highly competitive division of men in their 30s, at 21:37. At 24:50, Bob Slevc from Psychology took 9th in that same division, with Alexander Williams puttering 3 seconds behind Bob, earning 7th among men in their 40s. Liz Redcay from Psychology was at 29:44, while Andrea Zukowski and Valentine Hacquard – first-time 5Kers, along with Alexander – tied at 31:24. Here's a photo.
A round of applause for Alexis, who is to be Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, starting in Fall 2014. Yes, quaecumque sunt vera! Northwestern and Maryland are partners in the CIC, so we can look forward to continued institutional connections with our happy alumna.
Three cheers for Wing Yee Chow, who this fall will join the faculty of Linguistics at UCL, University College London, as Lecturer in Experimental Linguistics (equivalent to our Assistant Professor). We can all agree with the UCL motto: Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward! ("Cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmae," Vergil).
May 2-4 in London, Ontario, Carolina presents "On locality effects in Brazilian Portuguese and Romanian: hyper-raising vs. LDA," a paper with Mihaela Marchis, at the 44th Linguistics Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL) at The University of Western Ontario.
Congratulations to Terje, who is now Professor of English Linguistics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the youngest full professor in all of Norway.
April 19, Morgan presents "2-year-olds’ Comprehension of Pronouns" at the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium, reporting on work she has done for her Honors thesis under the supervision of Valentine Hacquard.
Congratulations to former RA Cybelle Smith for winning an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Cybelle is currently in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Congratulations also to Rachel Dudley and Allyson Ettinger for receiving Honorable Mention. Here is the total list.
April 17, Omer talks at the NYU Syntax Brown Bag. New York City, a city in New York, is believed by some to have once known been known as Lenapehoking, a word believed by some to mean 'in the land of the Lenape people' in the Algonquian language of the Lenape, a group known to European colonists as the Delaware Indians.
April 14th at the Utah Department of Linguistics colloquium, Yakov presents "A Bayesian model of categorical effects in consonant and vowel perception: Ockham's Razor and applications to L2 learning." The talk builds on previous joint work with Emily Coppess and Naomi Feldman and presents recent work on nasals with Jack Diaz (Linguistics/CS undergraduate at UMD) and extensions to L2 learning with alumna and Utah faculty, Shannon Barrios, as well as Bill Idsardi and Matt Winn of UW-Madison.
Congratulations to Sol! She has accepted a postdoc with Claudia Felser at the Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism. Beginning this August, Sol will be right outside of Berlin, occupying the residence of the Prussian kings.
Yakov was named a finalist for the prestigious University of Maryland Graduate Student Distinguished Service Award.
The Service Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 4th at 4:30pm.
Dustin will be presenting a poster at the 4th Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages (FASAL IV) Conference at Rutgers, March 29-30. The poster is titled "Word Order Effects on Long-Distance Dependency Resolution: Within and Between Languages" and presents work done by Dustin and a host of collaborators on long-distance extraction in Bangla. Safe trip, Dustin!
In the news after its publication in Language this month, is Gagliardi and Lidz's "Statistical Insensitivity in the Acquisition of Tsez Noun Classes." Let's hope this is the first ripple in a huge splash!
Huge congratulations to Dan, who is to be Assistant Professor in the Program in Linguistics at the College of William and Mary, second oldest institution of higher learning in America (after Harvard), in historic Williamsburg, Virginia.
Congratulations to alumnus Terje Lohndal for two recent awards: the Young Research Prize from the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters, and the Nils Klim Prize, "awarded to a younger Nordic researcher under the age of 35 who has made an outstanding contribution to research in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology." Terje is Associate Professor of English Linguistics Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
March 17 at the Utah Department of Linguistics colloquium, Jeff presents "Remote Control: Evidence against grammatical binding of PRO in reason clauses," building on recent joint work with Mike McCourt, Alek, Ellen and Alexander. The University of Utah is Jeff's alma mater, and faculty home to alumna Shannon Barrios.
March 13-15, work by Alek, Anna, Anton, Dan, Dustin, Ilia, Katie Leech, Mike McCourt, Shota and Sol, along with Alexander, Bob Slevc, Colin, Ellen, Jared Novick, Meredith Rowe, Polly O'Rourke and Yi Ting Huang, plus PhD alumni Shevaun Lewis, Wing-Yee Chow, Brian Dillon, Akira Omaki, Matt Wagers and Masaya Yoshida, postdoctoral alumna Ming Xiang, Baggett/RA alumni Glynis MacMillan and Michael Shvartsman, as well as BA alumna Cynthia Lukyanenko, and even Blair High School intern Alan Du, will be presented at the 27th Annual CUNY Conference on Sentence Processing. Wow! Watch out for Terrapins ambling through Ohio's third largest city.
- Dan Parker, Alan Du (Blair High School) and Colin Phillips: "Time heals semantic illusions, but not syntactic illusions"
- Brian Dillon, Joshua Levy, Adrian Staub and Charles Clifton: "Linear order effects in agreement: Evidence from English wh-questions"
- Polly L. O'Rourke and Gregory J. H. Colflesh: "The P600 and the n-back task: Evidence that domain general conflict resolution ability underpins the resolution of garden-paths"
- Michael Shvartsman, Richard Lewis and Satinder Singh: "Spillover Frequency Effects in a Sequential Sampling Model of Reading"
- Dustin Chacón, Mashrur Imtiaz, Shirsho Dasgupta, Sikder Monoare Murshed, Mina Dan, and Colin Phillips: "Structural and non-structural locality effects in Bangla filler-gap dependencies"
- Wing Yee Chow, Glynis MacMillan, Shefali Shah, Ilia Kurenkov, Ellen Lau and Colin Phillips: "Partial use of available information in the early stages of verb prediction"
- Shevaun Lewis and Colin Phillips: "Pragmatic processing costs reflect linking to context, not enrichment"
- Mike McCourt (PHIL), Aleksandra Fazlipour, Ellen Lau and Alexander Williams: "Implicit Agents in Short Passives and Remote Control of Reason Clauses"
- Shota Momma, Robert Slevc and Colin Phillips: "The effect of syntactic category on advance planning in sentence production"
- Sol Lago, Diego Shalom, Mariano Sigman, Ellen Lau and Colin Phillips: "Yo pienso, tu piensas, él piensa: Crosslinguistic agreement effects in comprehension"
- Ellen Lau and Anna Namyst: "Dissociating neural effects of predictability and incongruity in adjective-noun phrases"
- Dan Parker and Colin Phillips: "Selective priority for structure in memory retrieval"
- Natalia Slioussar, Anton Malko and Colin Phillips: "Two Distinct Attraction Profiles in Comprehending Russian Gender Agreement"
- Yi Ting Huang, Kathryn Leech and Meredith Rowe: "Exploring socioeconomic differences in syntactic development through processing"
- Yi Ting Huang: "Pragmatic inferencing across scales: Linguistic and extra-linguistic effects"
- Cynthia Lukyanenko and Cynthia Fisher: "Abstract agreement: Children's sensitivity to subject-verb agreement in comprehension does not require knowledge of specific lexical co-occurrences"
- Brian Dillon: "Locality in filler-gap dependencies: Evidence from extraposition"
- Akira Omaki, Brian Dillon, Takuya Kubo, Manami Sato and Hiromu Sakai: "Anti-locality preference in the processing of Japanese reflexive binding"
- Manuel F. Borja, Sandra Chung and Matt Wagers: "Relative clause processing and competing pressures in an agreement-rich language"
- Emily Pendleton and Matt Wagers: "Animacy and the active construction of filler-gap dependencies in relative clauses"
- Ming Xiang, Emily Hanink and Genna Vegh: "Before and after, and processing presuppositions in discourse"
- Sandra Villata, Luigi Rizzi, Akira Omaki and Julie Franck: "Relativized Minimality: a systematic investigation on intervention effects"
- Lauren Ackerman, Michael Frazier and Masaya Yoshida: "Resumptive pronouns salvage island violations in forced-choice tasks"
- Michael Frazier, Peter Baumann, Lauren Ackerman, David Potter and Masaya Yoshida: "Local coherence effects and crossing reflexive- and wh-dependencies"
- Nina Hsu, Susanne Jaeggi and Jared Novick: "A common neural basis for syntactic and non-syntactic conflict-control"
- Richard Lewis, Michael Shvartsman and Satinder Singh: "Why do Interference Effects Arise in Sentence Processing? A Sampling Theory of Memory as Optimal Discrimination Among Noisy Traces"
March 7-9 in Los Angeles, Chris talks about "Local plural anaphora as sub-event distributivity" at WCCFL 32. He will be joined by Terp alums Tim Hunter and Masaya Yoshida, with a talk on “Condition C Reconstruction, Late-Adjunction and LF-Form-Chain Analyses of Sluicing," as well Mrs. Ivana LaTerza, with a poster on "Relative Clauses in an Article-less Language."
Congratulations to Eleanor Roosevelt HS interns Amina Iro and Uchenna Uzomah, who won first place and honorable mention in the Behavioral Sciences category at the Eleanor Roosevelt Science and Engineering Fair for EEG projects they are conducting with Ellen. Amina is investigating how quickly word predictions are generated, and Uchenna is investigating whether differences in the neural responses observed to nouns and verbs reflect their syntactic or semantic differences.
Congratulations to Mike, for winning a place in the NSF's East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program. From June through August of 2014, Mike will be doing research on the acquisition of argument ellipsis under Dr. Koji Sugisaki at Mie University. In Mie, Mike will be only 90 minutes away from Iga, considered to be "one of the birthplaces of the ninja clans," who some believe invented ellipsis.
February 20 in Palo Alto, Alexis gives an invited talk in the Cognition & Language Workshop, a series of talks on experimental studies of natural language meaning hosted by the Center for the Study of Language and Information and the Stanford Humanities Center.
Just out in Frontiers in Psychology, "On Recursion" by Watumull, Hauser, Roberts, and Hornstein. The essay endeavors to clarify discussions of recursion, as they pertain to languages and the language faculty.
Congratulations to Allyson, whose paper with Tal Linzen and Alec Marantz is out in Brain and Language. Titled "The role of morphology in phoneme prediction: Evidence from MEG", the paper reports evidence from surprisal in an MEG study that morphology and phoneme prediction are central in auditory word recognition.
As reported in the Huffington Post, research on perfect pitch involving Baggett alumnus Lawrence Chen was recently published in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. The article ("Valproate reopens critical-period learning of absolute pitch" by Judit Gervain, Bradley W. Vines, Lawrence M. Chen, Rubo J. Seo, Takao K. Hensch, Janet F. Werker and Allan H. Young) reports that "adult men who took valproate (VPA) (a HDAC inhibitor) learned to identify pitch significantly better than those taking placebo—evidence that VPA facilitated critical-period learning in the adult human brain."
January 2-5, work by Alexis, Angela, Chris H., Chris L., Dan and Dustin, with support from Jeff, Colin, Bill and Alexander, will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Minneapolis. There will also be a presentation by Scott Jackson from CASL, and three talks (!) involving alumna Annie Gagliardi.
Chris Heffner and Bill Idsardi, Limits on Phonetic Category Learning
Chris LaTerza, Ruth Kramer, Morgan Rood and Dustin Chacón, Plural Shifted Indexicals are Plural: Evidence from Amharic
Dan Parker and Colin Phillips, Negative polarity illusions and the format of hierarchical encodings in memory
Andrew Wedel, Rebecca Sharp and Scott Jackson, Phonetic cues distinguishing minimal pairs are hyperarticulated in natural speech
Ann Gagliardi, Input ≠ Intake: the case of Norwegian noun classes
Ann Gagliardi, Pedro Mateo Pedro and Maria Polinsky, The Acquisition of Relative Clauses in Q’anjob’al Mayan
Ann Gagliardi, Michael Goncalves, Nina Radkevich and Maria Polinsky, The Biabsolutive in Nakh-Dagestanian: Syntax and Learnability
Alexis Wellwood, Decomposing gradable adjectives and introducing degrees
Angela Xiaoxue He, Alexis Wellwood, Jeffrey Lidz and Alexander Williams, Assessing event perception in adults and prelinguistic children: A prelude to syntactic bootstrapping
December 18-20, Valentine gives an invited talk at the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium, within a workshop titled: "More on Modals: New Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives." Also from Maryland, Jeff Horty, Professor of Philosophy, is giving the E.W. Beth Foundation Lecture.
Congratulations to Norbert and alumnus Jon Sprouse, whose Experimental Syntax and Island Effects is now published! Congratulations also to all the authors, who include several Maryland faculty and alumni, not only Norbert and Jon, but Colin, Brian Dillon, Johannes Jurka, Dave Kush, Akira Omaki, Lisa Pearl, Matt Wagers and Masaya Yoshida. The book grew out of the 2008 Mayfest, "Island Perspectives."
Congratulations to undergrad alumna Cynthia Lukyanenko, whose honors thesis work with Stacey Conroy and Jeff Lidz is now out in Language Learning and Development. The article, "Is she patting Katie? Constraints on pronominal reference in 30-month-olds," investigates young children’s knowledge of syntactic constraints on noun phrase reference, by testing 30-month-olds’ interpretation of two types of transitive sentences. It finds that, in a preferential looking task, children’s adult-like interpretations are consistent with adherence to Principles A and C of Binding Theory.
Just out in Language Learning and Development, "No Fear of Commitment: Children's Incremental Interpretation in English and Japanese Wh-Questions" by Akira Omaki, Imogen Davidson-White, Takuya Goro, Jeff Lidz and Colin Phillips. The paper explores whether children incrementally resolve filler-gap dependencies, using Japanese and English ambiguous wh-questions of the form "Where did Lizzie tell someone that she was gonna catch butterflies?", in which one could answer either the telling location (main clause interpretation) or the butterfly–catching location (embedded clause interpretation). It finds that English-speaking adults and children generally prefer the main clause interpretation, whereas Japanese adults and children both prefer the embedded clause interpretation. Also, Japanese children were unable to inhibit their embedded clause interpretation bias when the sentence was manipulated to syntactically block such analyses. These findings suggest that syntactic and interpretability cues may have distinct impacts on children’s sentence comprehension processes.
This week Ellen Lau is at the Neurobiology of Language Conference in San Diego, where she's serving as the Meeting Liaison and presenting a poster on 'Costs and benefits of prediction in adjective-noun phrases' with former RA Allison Fogel and undergrad alumna Tania Delgado.
In the new LI, three articles by Terps: two (!!) by Brad, one of which is with Norbert, and one by Masaya. Masaya's article, with Isaac Rottman, is Sluicing, Idioms, and Island Repair. Brad's solo piece is Arabic Conjunct-Sensitive Agreement and Primitive Operations. His article with Norbert is A Note on P-Stranding and Adjunct Extraction from Nominals. Amazing! Congratulations guys.
Congratulations to Megan, whose abstract for BUCLD38 had the highest ranking of any with a student as the first author, earning her the Jean Berko Gleason Award. In related good news, Rachel Dudley received the Paula Menyuk travel award, to help defray her travel costs.
October 29 at ZAS in Germany, Colin presents "Generating expectations and meanings in comprehension and production."
Huge congratulations to Sara McVeigh, who has been awarded the Dean's Senior Scholar Award by the College of Arts and Humanities. An active member of the acquisition lab, TA, and undergraduate major, Sara is one of only seven recipients of this prestigious annual award, which recognizes "distinguished and creative academic performance [and] promise of continued distinction in the discipline," as well as "leadership qualities and a commitment to community involvement." Sara's award will be announced at the Fall Scholar Reception, and again at Commencement. Hurray for Sara!
Go see, at 2:14-2:51, Kate, Sol, Dave Kush, Anton and Anna Chrabaszcz, as well as Jared Novick, Andrea and Colin, in President Wallace Loh's latest video message to the university community. Here the president celebrates the opening of the new Language Science Center.
November 1-3, Angela, Alexis, Megan, Mike, Naho, Rachel, Yakov, Morgan Moyer, Erin Bennett and Alix Kowalski, will be presenting talks or posters at the 38th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, together with 5 faculty members from linguistics – Alexander, Colin, Jeff, Naomi, and Valentine – plus Yi-Ting Huang from HESP. Wow.
Colin Phillips, "Parsing and learning: Could less really be more?" (invited talk in Sunday's symposium, "A new approach to language learning: Filtering through the processor")
Rachel Dudley, Naho Orita, Morgan Moyer, Valentine Hacquard and Jeffrey Lidz, "Factivity in three-year-olds' understanding of 'know' and 'think'" (talk)
Megan Sutton, Mike Fetters and Jeffrey Lidz, "Principle C Effects are Structural, not Linear, in 30 Month-Olds" (talk)
Angela He, Alexis Wellwood, Jeffrey Lidz and Alexander Williams, "Assessing event perception in adults and prelinguistic children: A prelude to syntactic bootstrapping" (poster)
Erin Bennett, Yakov Kronrod and Naomi Feldman, "Modeling effects of input variability in phonetic acquisition" (poster)
Yi-Ting Huang and Alix Kowalski: Baseball bats & butterflies: Context effects on pragmatic inferencing in adults and children (alternate talk)
October 18-20, NELS 44 features work by Chris, Dustin, Sayaka, Aaron, plus an invited talk by Colin. Chris and Dustin present "Plural shifted indexicals are plural: evidence from Amharic", joint work with Georgetown's Jen Johnson, Ruth Kramer and Morgan Rood. Sayaka Goto's talk is titled "Locality/Anti-Locality and Weak Crossover Effects." Aaron White will give a poster called "Factive-implicatives and modal complementizers".
Congratulations to Ellen, whose paper "Automatic semantic facilitation in anterior temporal cortex revealed through multimodal neuroimaging," with Alexandre Gramfort, Matti Hamalainen and Gina Kuperberg, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Bravos to 12 Maryland language scientists, friends and alums, plus their support crew, who ran the Ragnar Relay on 4-5 October 2013. The relay stretched over a monstrous 200-mile route from Cumberland, in the western tip of Maryland, "east through thick forest trails and scenic paths [...] through the quiet streets of many charming historic Civil War-Era towns" – and past shut-down national parks – pausing for petit fours and spritzers chez Hornstein and Weinberg, ending ultimately at the National Harbor just down the Potomac from Washington DC. Each runner covered 3 of the 36 legs, covering a total of 13-22 miles. The crew began at 10:30am on Friday, then ran continuously for around 26 hours and 22 minutes, running many legs at night, through Indian Summer temperatures in the 80s, ending at 12:52pm on Saturday.
October 11-13 at JK23, Sayaka Goto gives a poster titled "Two types of accusative subjects in Japanese" and Dongwoo Park gives a poster titled "Korean ECM construction and Cyclic Linearization." This year the conference is at MIT.
Just out in Semantics and Pragmatics, "Epistemics and Attitudes" by Pranav Anand and Valentine Hacquard. The paper investigates the distribution of epistemic modals in attitude contexts in three Romance languages, as well as their potential interaction with mood selection, and gives an account of which attitude verbs allow epistemic modals in their complements.
Congratulations to alumna Annie Gagliardi and Jeff Lidz, whose "Statistical Insensitivity in the Acquisition of Tsez Noun Classes" has been accepted for publication in Language.
September 19, Alexander talks about Russell on descriptions with the Philosophy Club at Kenmoor Middle School in Landover Maryland. This is part of an outreach program started by graduate students in the Philosophy Department, in conjunction with the Talented and Gifted Program at Kenmoor. Someone from the department will join the Club twice every month this semester.
September 17 the College of Arts and Humanities honors Alexis Wellwood with the Student Service Award at its Annual Faculty & Staff Convocation. The Dean will also announce faculty appointments and promotions from the past academic year, including the promotion of Valentine Hacquard to Associate Professor.
September 18-21, Tom is at the University of Split in Croatia, to talk about "Restructuring at the syntax-semantics interface." The talk will be at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, within the "Workshop on Infinitives at the Syntax-Semantics Interface: A Diachronic Perspective." Split, centered on the palace of Emperor Diocletian and named after a common shrub of the area, is the second largest city in Croatia - making this the second time in two weeks that a talk by Tom has been delivered in the second largest city of some country.
September 14-15, Paul shares keynote speaker honors with Barbara Partee at Semantics: Mathematics or Psychology?. The conference, hosted by Princeton University, is supported by the Cooperative Research Network in Analytic Philosophy, or CRNAP, a recently launched "international scholarly network linking the Princeton Department of Philosophy, the Australian National University School of Philosophy, University of Oxford Faculty of Philosophy, and the Institut Jean-Nicod (Paris)."
September 11-13 Tom and Aaron present their poster "An experimental investigation of partial control" at Sinn und Bedeutung 18 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the second largest city in the Basque Country.
We are delighted to welcome six new members to our PhD program: Lara Ehrenhofer (Oxford), Allyson Ettinger (Brandeis), Jeff Green (Utah), Anton Malko (St. Petersburg), Chris Neufeld (Toronto), and Zach Stone (NYU). Here's to a happy half decade!
A warm welcome two new Baggett Scholars, Aleksandra Fazlipour (Rochester) and Natalia Lapinskaya (Toronto), as well as Ilia Kurenkov (UMass Amherst), Anna Bonnet (Maryland) and Caitlin Richter (Edinburgh), who will be RAs for Colin, Ellen and Naomi, respectively.
To appear in Child Development, "Referential labeling can facilitate phonetic learning in infancy," by Henny Yeung, Lawrence Chen, and Janet Werker. The paper shows a link between infants' understanding of word labels and the development of speech perception.
Naomi Feldman has been awarded a 2-year grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "Integrating low-level speech features into a model of speech perception". This interdisciplinary project draws on techniques from cognitive modeling and speech recognition to look at how people's perception of speech sounds is shaped by the speech they hear. The research will be carried out in collaboration with Aren Jansen at Johns Hopkins University.
July 31 in Berlin, Naho Orita presents "Discovering pronoun categories using discourse information" at the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. This is work done with Rebecca McKeown, Naomi Feldman, Jeff Lidz and Jordan Boyd-Graber.
To appear in Psychological Review, "A role for the developing lexicon in phonetic category acquisition", by Naomi Feldman, Tom Griffiths, Sharon Goldwater, and James Morgan. The paper presents a joint model of phonetic and lexical acquisition, illustrating how learning about words can help children learn about sounds.
Congratulations to Alexis, who has been honored with the ARHU Graduate Student Service Award. The award recognizes "those students who have consistently demonstrated excellence in service to their department and to the College, in their "commitment to the department and the College," their "exceptional work ethic," their "initiative and service above and beyond the job description." There is a plaque on display in the Dean's office with the engraved names of Service Award winners. Look for Alexis!
Congratulations to Shannon, the first recipient of the "Howard Lasnik Distinguished Linguistics TA Award." And thank you Howard, from all our students and faculty, for maintaining and encouraging such high standards in teaching for so many years! We look forward to giving this award annually for years to come.
Felicitations to Ewan, who has accepted a post-doc in the Laboratoire de Science Cognitive et Psycholinguistique at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
2013 is an exciting year for several recent alumni! Phil Monahan and Eri Takahashi begin at U. Toronto, Scarborough, Phil as Assistant Professor and Eri as Lecturer. Jon Sprouse is moving to Connecticut as Associate Professor of Linguistics. Lisa Pearl and Usama Soltan have both been promoted to Associate Professor, Lisa in Cognitive Science at UC Irvine and Usama in Arabic at Middlebury. Tim Hunter begins his Assistant Professorship of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. And Matt Wagers, Assistant Professor at Santa Cruz, together with Sandra Chung, received an NSF grant on "The Real-Time Grammar of Chamorro WH-Dependencies." Congratulations to all our old friends!
Congratulations to Yuki Ito, whose paper "Raising to object in wager/assure-class verbs: A PF account of the defective paradigm" has been accepted for publication by Studia Linguistica.
Big congratulations to Wing-Yee who in September begins a post-doc at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language. BCBL is in Donostia-San Sebastián, capital city of Gipuzkoa, on the Bay of Biscay.
May 16-18 at the University of Riga, Alexis Wellwood will present work with Rachel Dudley, Chris Vogel and Brendan Ritchie, at the 9th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication: Perception and Concepts. Their paper, "Talking about Causing Events," grew out of a project with PHLING.
In the sixth installment of the WORLDWISE Arts & Humanities Insights Videos, Colin Phillips provides insights on how we seem to understand language so effortlessly even though it is not effortless at all. Also featured in the video are many of our students, graduate and undergraduate, including Chris Heffner, Glynis MacMillan, Kate Harrigan, Morgan Moyer, Sol Lago, Dan Parker, Shota Momma, Wing Yee Chow, Shevaun Lewis, and Dave Kush.
May 3-5 at Semantics and Linguistic Theory 23, Michaël presents "Part and Parcel of Eliding Partitives". This paper argues, contrary to the common analysis, that in sentences such as "Ten students entered and many sat down", "many" is equivalent not to "many students" but rather to "many of them," with ellipsis of the partitive.
Congratulations to Alison Shell, Shevaun Lewis, and Colin Phillips who won honors at Saturday's Azalea Classic 5K run! Alison took 2nd place overall among women, while Shevaun took 2nd in the women's 20-29 age group. Colin took 3rd place overall among the men, with an mean speed of 10.205 mph. Hot on their heels were Yakov Kronrod and Bob Slevc.
Yakov Kronrod has been awarded the first annual Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Leadership. The award is "in recognition of his leadership skills and for exemplifying a new generation of student leaders from the University of Maryland, College Park." This was one of only three awards given campus-wide, one each for the categories of leadership, innovation, and community development.
Congratulations to junior Sophia Sanborn, a double major in linguistics and philosophy, for winning the Beinecke Scholarship, one of only 20 awarded nationally each year. Sophia was nominated by the Philosophy Department to the University, who then chose her to represent Maryland in the annual competition. The scholarship provides a very substantial stipend for graduate study in a field of the winner's choosing. Sophia plans to choose either linguistics or philosophy.
April 18, Naho Orita and Rachel Dudley will be giving talks in Masaya Yoshida's lab, Northwestern University. Naho will present, "The role of discourse in the acquisition of pronouns," and Rachel will present, "Bootstrapping the semantics of attitude verbs."
In April 17-19, in New York (CUNY), Carolina Petersen is presenting her paper "Raising and hyper-raising across experiencer in Brazilian Portuguese: a vP phase evidence" at the 43th Linguistics Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL).
April 18-20 at CLS 49, Yuki Ito presents "Asymmetric A-movement within vP," while Rachel Dudley, Naho Orita, Morgan Moyer, Valentine Hacquard, and Jeff Lidz present "Three year olds' understanding of "know" and "think"".
April 13, Dustin Chacón goes to Northfield, Minnesota, to present at the Minnesota Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium as an invited speaker. He presents his research done in collaboration with Mike Fetters, Kate Harrigan, Eric Pelzl, Colin Phillips, and Rachel Dudley on learning that-trace effects and language variation. This project started as a Special Interest Group last Winter Storm.
Michaël Gagnon: "Noun Phrase Ellipsis Revisited"
Alexis Wellwood: "How much plurals count"
Aaron Steven White: "An experimental investigation of partial control"
MACSIM, the Mid-Atlantic Colloquium for Studies in Meaning, is a regional workshop on issues related to meaning in natural language. It consists of presentations and posters by graduate students from the participating departments in the Mid-Atlantic: NYU, CUNY, Rutgers, Penn, Delaware, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Georgetown. Faculty from these departments participate in audience discussion. There is also one invited talk by a faculty member, and plenty of time to get to know people and their work.
The talk explores the consequences of Cinque’s (2006) suggestion that whereas Partial Control instantiates 'true', biclausal control, Exhaustive Control predicates realize functional heads that instantiate monoclausal raising structures. Tom shows that this view makes accurate predictions about a number of correlates of the EC/PC split, including the crosslinguistic distribution of restructuring (monoclausality effects), the distribution of finite complements (in English), and the distribution of overt embedded subjects (crosslinguistically).
April 13 at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in San Francisco, Sol and Wing Yee, with co-authors Shannon, Dan, Giovanna and Ellen are presenting a poster , titled "Long-term memory effects in the N400 during sentence processing: evidence from a novel recognition memory – sentence comprehension paradigm".
Chris Heffner and Josh Falk have each been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for 2013-2016. These highly competitive fellowships are NSF's most prestigious awards for graduate study. They carry a generous stipend, and a large virtual feather-in-the-cap. Chris is a student in the NACS program, with Linguistics and Hearing & Speech Sciences as his home departments. Josh is a Baggett Fellow in our Department of Linguistics. Congratulations Chris and Josh!
- Zoe Schlueter, "The Effect of Proficiency on the Antecedent Preferences of Personal Pronouns and Anaphoric Demonstratives by English Second Language Learners of German"
- Rachel Dudley, "Bootstrapping the semantics of attitude verbs"
- Dongwoo Park, "Functional Phrase and Subject-to-Object Raising in Korean"
Susan Ojo, an intern in our acquisition lab, won first place in her category again, this time at the regional science fair! This is the second blue ribbon Susan has won by presenting research done with Rachel Dudley, Naho Orita, Morgan Moyer, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz.
March 21-23, Brad, Dan, Dave, Dustin, Glynis, Sol, Shota, Wing Yee, Colin, and Jeff represent UMD Linguistics at the 26th annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing in Columbia, South Carolina, with a total of nine talks:
- Dave Kush, Colin Phillips, and Jeff Lidz, "Retrieval respects crossover"
- Sol Lago, Shayne Sloggett (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Wing Yee Chow, and Colin Phillips, "What types of lexical information are reaccessed during pronoun processing?"
- Shota Momma, Robert Slevc, and Colin Phillips, "Advance planning of verbs in head-final language production"
- Wing Yee Chow, Colin Phillips, and Suiping Wang (South China Normal University), "Are our eyes really faster than our brains? Aligning eye-tracking and ERP time estimates"
- Dustin Chacón and Colin Phillips, "Biases in resolving wh-dependencies in a hybrid language"
- Dan Parker, Glynis MacMillan, and Colin Phillips, "Illusory NPI licensing: Now you see it, now you don’t"
- Wing Yee Chow, Cybelle Smith, Glynis MacMillan, and Colin Phillips, "Argument identity impacts predictions faster than argument roles"
- Wing Yee Chow, Colin Phillips, and Suiping Wang (South China Normal University), "Predictive computations underlie the N400’s sensitivity to thematic role-reversals"
- Dan Parker and Bradley Larson, "Two flavors of long distance dependency discerned through island effects"
In addition there are five talks by Maryland language scientists from other departments or from CASL:
- Erika Hussey, Susan Teubner-Rhodes, Alan Mishler, Isaiah Harbison and Jared Novick, "Trainability and selective transferability of conflict resolution skills to parsing and non-parsing domains"
- Suzanne Freynik and Polly O'Rourke, "L2 processing of Arabic derivational morphology"
- Polly O'Rourke, "The underlying cognitive components of sentence processing: Not all P600s are alike"
- Yi Ting Huang, Xiangzhi Meng and Kathryn Leech, "Who did what to whom? An investigation of syntactic reanalysis in English and Mandarin"
- Yi Ting Huang and Alix Kowalski, "Baseball bats and butterflies: Context effects on pragmatic inferencing in adults and children"
Yakov Kronrod was awarded the Honorable Mention at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting Student Poster Competition in the Brain and Behavior category. The poster, "A Unified Model of Phoneme Perception", was based on joint work with Emily Coppess (U Chicago) and Naomi Feldman. He will be recognized in a spring issue of Science.
Congratulations to Susan Ojo, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School who has been interning in our acquisition lab, for winning first prize in the behavioral sciences category at her school's science fair! Presenting research on the acquisition of factive verbs done with Rachel Dudley, Naho Orita, Morgan Moyer, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz, Susan beat out researchers interning in other University of Maryland labs and the Children's National Medical Center. This weekend, March 9-10, Susan advances to the regional science fair at Prince George's Community College. Good luck at regionals, Susan!
March 12-15, Brad Larson presents "The Inherent Syntactic Incompleteness of RNR" at the Parenthesis and Ellipsis workshop at the 35th Annual Conference of the German Linguistics Society in Potsdam, Germany.
March 1, Valentine presents "Attitude problems" for Harvard's Linguistics Circle Workshop. The talk examines asymmetries in the semantics and pragmatics of attitudes of belief and desire and in their acquisition. The talk explores a semantic explanation for the asymmetry in children's understanding of think and want, as opposed to an explanation relying on a fundamental change in conceptual structure.
Congratulations to Brad Larson for his squib with Norbert Hornstein, "A note on P-stranding and adjunct extraction from nominals," to appear in Linguistic Inquiry. The paper identifies a problem for a unified analysis of adjunct extraction and preposition stranding. Prohibitions of adjunct extraction are obviated under sluicing while prohibitions of P-stranding are not.
February 15, 150 students from Northwood High School in Silver Spring visit the University to learn about language science from graduate students and faculty associated with the IGERT project on biological and computational foundations of language diversity. Students will participate in hands-on activities examining topics ranging from infant speech perception to machine translation (and everything in between), with the goal of learning how different methods contribute to our understanding of human language.
February 13, Ellen presents 'Predictive facilitation in lexical processing: mechanisms and neural implementation' at the Center for Cognitive Science at the University of Buffalo.
Now out here, "The semantics and pragmatics of belief reports in preschoolers" by Shevaun Lewis, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz, along with "Null complement anaphors as definite descriptions" by Alexander Williams.
Yakov Kronrod was awarded the Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Award. This award will provide financial support to attend and present his work at America’s largest general scientific conference, the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 14-18 February in Boston. The award was established by Dr. Edith D. Neimark to honor her brother, Dr. Joshua E. Neimark, who received his doctorate from MIT but died in 1961, at the age of 30, from respiratory disease. It is intended to assist young scientists in attaining a career in their chosen field, a goal that Joshua Neimark did not live to achieve. Four awards are awarded annually to deserving candidates selected to present their work at the annual meeting.
Just out, "What complexity differences reveal about domains in language" by Bill Idsardi and Delaware's Jeff Heinz. The article argues that humans employ distinct learning mechanisms for phonology and syntax, since this is the best explanation for a difference that has been overlooked: all phonological patterns belong to the regular region of the Chomsky Hierarchy, but not all syntactic patterns do.
On February 8, Brad Larson will present "The what and when of processing coordinated-wh questions", joint work with Dave Kush and Shevaun Lewis, at the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics at Arizona State University in Tempe. Brad will discuss psycholinguistic evidence supporting the hypothesis that non-final wh-words in coordinated-wh questions do not participate in movement dependencies, but rather form purely semantic relationships with the verb.
On January 16, Wing Yee is giving a talk at the Department of Linguistics at University College London. She presents "Unfolding predictions in semantic interpretation: Insights from N400 blindness to thematic role reversals," where she will discuss recent electrophysiological and eye-tracking research that is starting to provide insights on how comprehenders compute predictions during language processing.
January 12, Valentine presents "Children's Attitude Problems" at Mindreading, Understanding, and Emotion, a two-day conference at the University of North Carolina. The paper explores the connection between children’s linguistic acquisition of mental state (‘attitude’) verbs and their mindreading development.
Shevaun Lewis, Dave Kush and Brad Larson present "Processing filled gaps in coordinated wh-questions." Shevaun is also presenting "Pragmatic parentheticals and the acquisition of 'think'," with Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz. Brad Larson and Dan Parker present a poster titled "'Across the board movement’ is actually asymmetrical." Dave Kush presents "Online sensitivity to Strong Crossover (and Principle C)," work with Colin Phillips and Jeff Lidz. Wing Yee Chow presents "Unfolding predictions in semantic interpretation: Insights from blindness to thematic role reversals," joint work with Colin Phillips and Suiping Wang. With Alexis Wellwood and Jeffrey Lidz, alumna Annie Gagliardi presents "Modeling meaning choice for novel adjectives using Bayesian learning."
Finally, alumnus Jon Sprouse, PhD 2007 will receive the 2013 LSA Early Career Award, which recognizes scholars early in their career who have made outstanding contributions to the field of linguistics.
On December 17 and 19, Jeff Lidz and Michaël Gagnon gave lectures to AP Psychology classes at Northwood High School (Silver Spring) and Paint Branch High School (Burtonsville). The students from these classes will also be visiting UMD for intensive introductions to research in language science in February. On December 20, Colin Phillips gave a talk at Laurel High School as part of the International Baccalaureate program. Also recently, Paul Pietroski talked about theories of meaning to students at Montgomery-Blair High School.
Congratulations Kenshi! Just out in Linguistic Inquiry is "On Headless XP-Movement/Ellipsis." The paper makes two proposals: 1) an economy condition on the operation Copy, which states that Copy should apply to as small an element as possible; and 2) the “two types of head movement” hypothesis, which states that Universal Grammar allows head movement via substitution as well as head movement via adjunction. He argues that with these proposals, we can not only explain two generalizations about what I call headless XPs, but also attribute cross-linguistic variation in the applicability of these generalizations to parameters that are responsible for the availability of multiple specifiers.
Deep thanks to Barbara Partee, for three fascinating days of lectures and meetings, generously supported by Dave Baggett. Professor Partee shared her perspective on how formal semantics has developed over the last 50 years, through fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration among linguists, philosophers, logicians, psychologists, computer scientists, and others.
November 2-4 at this year's BUCLD:
Susan Teubner-Rhodes from UMD Psychology will present a poster with Jeff Lidz, titled "When good predictions go bad: The role of cognitive control in word learning from syntax."
November 2-3 Brad Larson presents "Psycholinguistic evidence for non-syntactic dependencies in coordinated-wh questions", joint work with Dave Kush and Shevaun Lewis at the Workshop on the Syntax and Semantics of Sharing in Nantes, France.
Congratulations to Ellen, whose "Dissociating N400 effects of prediction from association in single word contexts" has been accepted to the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. The paper was co-authored with Phil Holcomb and Gina Kuperberg of Tufts University.
October 26 Naomi Feldman is giving colloquium talk at the University of Delaware, titled "The role of the developing lexicon in constraining statistical learning".
Warm congratulations to Tara Mease, who on October 22 gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy, Xander. The department celebrates Xander's zeroth birthday, and wishes Tara a joyful time with her family.
October 8-11 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Paul Pietroski taught a mini-course on his work, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. Notes for the seminar can be found here.
October 25-27 at the Neurobiology of Language Conference in San Sebastian, Spain, Wing Yee Chow presents "When having more time doesn't help: Predictions are necessary for "smart" N400s," joint work with Colin Phillips and Suiping Wang (South China Normal University). Also Ellen Lau presents joint work with Kirsten Weber, Nate Delaney-Busch, Candida Ustine, Kristina Fanucci, Matti Hamalainen, and Gina Kuperberg, titled "Contextual prediction in schizophrenia: Multimodal imaging evidence from a semantic priming paradigm."
The sixth annual Northeast Computational Phonology workshop (NECPhon 6) was held on October 6, 2012, at UMD. The event was a great success, bringing together 40 researchers working on topics related to computational phonology, from UMD, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Yale, and UMass Amherst, including talks from locals Josh Falk and Ewan Dunbar. Congratulations to organizer Naomi Feldman, and thanks to local volunteers Shannon Barrios and Dustin Chacón and hosts Josh Falk, Chris Heffner, Rachel Dudley, Zoe Schlueter, and Alix Kowalski.
October 19 at the Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning in Maryland, Naho Orita presents "Simulation of Pronoun Acquisition" joint work with Naomi Feldman and Jeffrey Lidz.
October 19-21 at NELS 43 in New York City, there will be two presentations from Maryland. Annie Gagliardi, Alexis Wellwood and Jeff Lidz present their paper "With no help from syntax: Four models of meaning choice for novel adjectives". Featured in the poster session is "Discovering classes of attitude verbs using subcategorization frame distributions", by Aaron White, Rachel Dudley, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz.
Congratulations to Brad, whose "Arabic First Conjunct Agreement and Primitive Operations" is soon to appear in Linguistic Inquiry.
Yakov Kronrod was selected to attend the IGERT Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Workshop in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on October 7-8. This workshop is sponsored by the Virginia Tech and University of Idaho IGERT programs. It brings together 40 current and future faculty to discuss developing and sustaining interdisciplinary graduate programs. Participants have the opportunity to develop ideas for interdisciplinary graduate programs by considering learning outcomes, faculty team members, administrative challenges, program growth and sustainability, and funding opportunities.
October 12-13 at a workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Quantity Expressions in Konstanz, Germany, Alexis gives an invited talk titled "A matter of degrees: Composing cross-categorial comparatives".
October 11-13 at Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition in North America 5 there will be several presentations by Maryland linguists:
Kate Harrigan, Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz will be presenting a poster, "Is desire really easier than belief?"
Colin Phillips will be the plenary speaker, giving a talk entitled, "Grammatical development and parser development."
Contratulations to Masa whose paper "On restructuring infinitives in Japanese: Adjunction, clausal architecture, and phases" is soon to appear in Lingua. The paper investigates the syntax of Japanese restructuring verbs and makes two major claims: (i) there are (at least) three types of restructuring infinitives in Japanese, which is consistent with Wurmbrand's (2001) approach to restructuring infinitives and (ii) there is a general ban on adjunction to complements of lexical restructuring verbs, which is best explained by an interaction of spell-out domains and Case-valuation. It is also shown that this ban regulates adverb insertion, adjective insertion, and quantifier raising.
Roaring cheers for our Ragnar Relay team, who placed 10th out of 293 teams and 3rd in the Men's division (teams with with more men than women). See the complete results here. The Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay race. Team "Psycho Linguists" finished in 26 hours, 48 minutes, and 11 seconds.
Hail to a team of 12 Maryland linguists and their support crew, who ran the Ragnar Relay, from 11:00am on September 21 through to 1:48pm on September 22! It was a grueling 200-mile route from historic Cumberland, in the western tip of Maryland, to the National Harbor just down the Potomac from Washington DC. Each runner covered 3 of the 36 legs, covering 13-22 miles each. The crew ran continuously for 26 hours and 48 minutes, running many legs at night, and ushering in a lovely first day of fall. This the second year the "Psycho Linguists" team has joined Ragnar. This year was 42 minutes faster than last year, when there were heavy rains.
On the 2012 team were 4 faculty and 8 graduate students. An amazing effort by runners Yakov Kronrod, Tom Grano, Tess Wood, Shevaun Lewis, Katie Leech, Jeff Lidz, Dave Kush, Dan Parker, Colin Phillips, Brad Larson, Annie Gagliardi, and Aaron Steven White. The indispensible support crew was Carolina Petersen, Elizabeth Nguyen, Tara and Jon Mease, Andrea Zukowski and Zoe Phillips, along with refueling directors Norbert Hornstein and Amy Weinberg.
September 27 Tonia presents "Delayed Tree- Locality, Set-locality, and Clitic Climbing" at the 11th International Workshop on Tree Adjoining Grammars and Related Formalisms in Paris, with co-authors Joan Chen-Main and Aravind Joshi from the University of Pennsylvania.
September 19-23 new RA Allison Fogel presents "Processing Emotion and Taboo in Native vs. Second Language" at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Psychophysiological Research in New Orleans.
Terje Lohndal (PhD, 2012) has been named one of the 10 most outstanding Norwegian researchers below 40. Terje, now Associate Professor of English Linguistics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, is one of only two scholars representing the humanities, and also the youngest person on the list. In addition, Terje has recently been elected a member of the Agder Academy of Science and Letters in Norway, becoming the youngest member ever.
We are happy to welcome two new Baggett Fellows, Lawrence Chen (U. British Columbia) and Josh Falk (Stanford), as well as new RAs Glynis MacMillan (UMass Amherst) and Allison Fogel (Tufts U.), and MEG Lab manager Elizabeth Nguyen (Reed). Visiting us this semester are Ana Maria Suarez Fernandez, Mahayana Godoy, and Carmen Gallar Sanchez (CASTL, Madrid).
We are delighted to welcome six new members to our graduate program: Rachel Dudley (NYU), Peter Enns (UMD), Mike Fetters (UMD), Chris Heffner (MSU), Dongwoo Park (Seoul National) and Zoe Schlueter (York, Edinburgh).
Welcome to Tom Grano, who joins us after receiving his PhD from the University of Chicago with a dissertation titled "Control and restructuring at the syntax-semantics interface". This semester Tom is teaching a syntax seminar, "Topics in the grammar of complement clauses."
September 11-13 Jeff Lidz teaches a course at the École d'Automne de Linguistique, sponsored by the Department of Cognitive Studies at the École Normale Superieure, Paris. Jeff's course is titled "Inside the LAD: Learning in Generative Grammar."
Congratulations to alumnus Jon Sprouse, PhD 2007, who has been awarded the 2013 Early Career Award by the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society America. This award recognizes scholars early in their career who have made outstanding contributions to the field of linguistics.
Alexis Wellwood will be presenting her paper, "Back to basics: more is always much-er", at the 17th annual Sinn und Bedeutung conference, held this year at the École Normale Superieure in Paris, September 8-10, 2012.
Tim Hunter and Jeff Lidz's paper "Conservativity and Learnability of Determiners" has been published in the Journal of Semantics. The paper shows that children can learn a novel conservative determiner, but that they fail to learn a semantically similiar nonconservative determiner.
Featured in the new Semantics and Pragmatics, a paper by Valentine and Alexis: "Embedding epistemic modals in English: A corpus-based study." The paper presents a corpus study on the distribution of epistemic modals, aimed at the question of whether epistemics contribute to semantic content. Illuminating subtle aspects of their distribution, it concludes that they do, citing natural examples where an epistemic is interpreted within the scope of other operators.
Annie Gagliardi, Erin Bennett, Jeffrey Lidz and Naomi Feldman, "Children's inferences in generalizing novel nouns and adjectives."
Yakov Kronrod, Emily Coppess, and Naomi Feldman, "A unified model of categorical effects in consonant and vowel perception."
Alexis Wellwood, Darko Odic, Justin Halberda, and Jeffrey Lidz, "Choosing quantity over quality: Syntax guides interpretive preferences for novel superlatives."
Cybelle Smith and Michael C. Frank, "Zero anaphora and object reference in Japanese child-directed speech." (Awarded NSF travel grant and research fellowship to pursue a short-term project at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan)
Recent alumnus Akira Omaki will also be presenting a member abstract poster.
Congratulations to Alexis Wellwood and Aaron White who have both received scholarships to NASSLLI, held June 18-22 at UT Austin. This NASSLLI is the fifth annual North American Summer School of Logic, Language, and Information.
Congratulations to alumnus Chris Dyer, (PhD 2010), who now becomes Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in the Language Technologies Institute at the School of Computer Science, with a cross-appointment in the Machine Learning Department. Chris's dissertation at Maryland was "A Formal Model of Ambiguity and its Applications in Machine Translation."
Welcome to Anna Bonnet, Morgan Moyer, Ilanna Newman, Emma Nguyen, Alex Ralph, and Sandy Wan – six undergraduate Linguistics majors who have been awarded funded research positions to work on language science projects this summer.
Three students – Anna, Emma and Sandy – were awarded a Baggett Summer Scholarship (now in its seventh year, and going strong!). Anna will be working with Naomi Feldman and Shannon Barrios. Emma Nguyen and Sandy Wan will be working with Jeff Lidz, as well as Alexander Williams, in the baby lab.
Three additional students – Alex, Morgan and Ilana – were awarded a brand new CASL-UMD Language Science Summer Scholarship (an award so new the name is still in flux). Alex Ralph will be working with Melinda Martin-Beltran (of the Education Dept., otherwise known as "Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership"). Ilanna Newman will be working with Jeff Lidz in the baby lab. And Morgan Moyer will be working with Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz.
Also new this year, the CASL-UMD program will be organizing a series of once-per-week lunchtime meetings where faculty mentors of the CASL-UMD program will each give a short presentation about their work. These meetings will be very useful, particularly for linguistics majors with an interest in getting involved in research fellowships next summer.
Congratulations to alumnus Tim Hunter (PhD 2010) who has accepted an Assistant Professorship at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, within its Institute of Linguistics. Tim will begin at Minnesota in Fall 2013. Until then will be at the Cornell University Department of Linguistics, on a research postdoc with John Hale. This comes after a fruitful two years at Yale working with Bob Frank. Tim's dissertation at Maryland was "Relating Movement and Adjunction in Syntax and Semantics".
May 18-20, at Semantics and Linguistic Theory 22, Shevaun Lewis presents "The semantics and pragmatics of belief reports in preschoolers", reporting work done with Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz. Alexander Williams presents "Null Complement Anaphors as Definite Descriptions".
May 18-20 in Stuttgart, Kenshi Funakoshi presents "Backward control in external possession constructions in Japanese" at the 8th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL) at Universität Stuttgart, Germany.
Congratulations to Annie Gagliardi, who has been awarded a Postdoc Fellowship from the NSF/NEH Documenting Endangered Languages Fund. She will use the fellowship to pursue her project "Acquiring an Endangered Language: A corpus of child directed and child produced Tsez" with Marsha Polinsky at Harvard.
May 4-5, the department hosts Mayfest 2012, "The Role of Computational Models in Linguistic Theory". Mayfest is an annual two-day workshop organized by our graduate students. It brings together 8-12 distinguished researchers, representing diverse perpectives, to discuss some fundamental issue in linguistics. This year we welcome:
- Alexander Clark (Royal Holloway University of London)
- Robin Clark (University of Pennsylvania)
- Gaja Jarosz (Yale)
- Rick Lewis (University of Michigan)
- Roger Levy (University of California, San Diego)
- Lisa Pearl (University of California, Irvine)
- Amy Perfors (Adelaide)
- Jason Riggle (University of Chicago)
- Ed Stabler (University of California, Los Angeles)
- Matthew Stone (Rutgers)
Congratulations to Naomi Feldman who, together with Rochelle Newman, won a UMD ADVANCE seed grant for a project titled "Children's real time processing of words and sounds." These one-year grants for female faculty provide funding for projects that include inter-disciplinary research.
Congratulations also to several other members of the Maryland Language Science community who also won ADVANCE grants:
Last year, the first year of the ADVANCE program, an award went to Valentine Hacquard and Erin Eaker (Philosophy).
Congratulations to Annie, Colin, Jeff, Rachel, Tess, and Yakov, who all ran well in the Azalea Classic in University Park on March 21. The results were impressive! Colin took 4th place overall, and 1st in his age group, with a time of 18:32, only a minute behind the winner. Yakov (21:14) came in 22nd overall, narrowly outpacing Jeff (21:42) at 27th. Tess had a time of 24:29, 3rd in her age group among the women. And 1st among the twenty-something ladies was Annie at 26:59. Also among the ling-related runners was Phlinger Chris Vogel.
Congratulations to Wing Yee Chow for receiving an Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship! It is a one-semester award for outstanding doctoral students in the final stages of writing their dissertation. The Graduate School awards approximately 40 Wylie Dissertation Fellowships per year.
April 18th, at Northwestern University's Syntax-Semantics lab, Brad presents "Strange Constituencies: Multidominance and an alternative".
April 19-21 in Chicago, Brad Larson and Alexis Wellwood will be presenting papers at the 48th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Brad's paper is "Sprouting Anew: Fragment answers, and here's why." Alexis's is "Meaning more or most: evidence from 3-and-a-half year-olds", co-authored with Darko Odic (JHU), Justin Halberda (JHU), Tim Hunter (Yale), Paul Pietroski (Maryland), and Jeff Lidz (Maryland).
On April 13-15, Shevaun Lewis presents "The pragmatics of belief reports in development" at WCCFL XXX, reporting on work in with Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz . The paper concerns 4-year-olds' non-adult-like truth value judgments of sentences with "think". It argues that these reflect parenthetical interpretations of ‘think’, arising from to a failure to grasp the pragmatic relevance of belief in context.
Jeff Lidz is also giving the last of three plenary lectures at this WCCFL, an honor granted despite Jeff's near arrest on the Santa Cruz beach nine years ago at WCCFL XXI.
March 31-April 3, Wing Yee Chow will be presenting at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting (CNS 2012) in Chicago. She will be presenting a poster, "Wait a Second: Eliminating the 'Semantic Illusion' in Role-reversed Sentences", coauthored by Colin and Suiping Wang at South China Normal University.
March 31-April 1, the first annual PHLINC brings together young researchers working on events in philosophy, linguistics and psychology. There will be eight talks by students – coming from UCLA, Michigan State, Buffalo, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Hopkins, and Maryland – plus invited talks by Professor Achille Varzi of Columbia University, and our own Paul Pietroski. PHLINC is organized by PHLING, a graduate research group on shared issues of linguistics and philosophy.
In the March issue of Language, "A test of the relation between working memory capacity and syntactic island effects" by alumni Jon Sprouse and Matt Wagers with Colin Phillips. The authors report finding no evidence of a relationship between working-memory capacity and island effects, in tests of three hundred speakers of English.
March 28-30, Wing Yee Chow, Ewan Dunbar, Dave Kush, Sol Lago, Shevaun Lewis, Terje Lohndal, Dan Parker, and Megan Sutton are presenting at the 35th annual Colloquium of Generative Linguistics in the Old World.
Sol Lago and Dan Parker will present "Retrieval interference in the resolution of anaphoric PRO" as part of the workshop The Timing of Grammar: Experimental and Theoretical Considerations
Philip Resnik is a plenary speaker at this year's American Association for Applied Linguistics conference (AAAL 2012) in Boston, March 24-27, for which this year's conference theme is Interdisciplinarity. He'll be speaking on “The Linguistics of Spin: A Computational Linguist’s Forays into Social Science”.
March 21 at the Workshop on Perception: Reality and Illusions, hosted by Georgetown's Program in Cognitive Science, Colin Phillips presents "Linguistic Illusions: Where You See Them, Where You Don't".
March 16, Valentine Hacquard is giving talks at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, on modality and the acquisition of attitude verbs. Her Friday colloquium talk is "Understanding desire and belief reports."
March 14-16, Brad, Colin, Dan, Dave, Jeff, Shevaun, Sol and Wing Yee represent UMD at the 25th annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing. One of the invited talks, "Fast Stuff and Slow Stuff: Is a unified theory desirable?", will be given by Colin Phillips and Shevaun Lewis. The other talks are:
- Shevaun Lewis, Bradley Larson and Dave Kush, "What and when can you fill a gap with something?"
- Wing-Yee Chow, Colin Phillips and Suiping Wang, "Turning the 'Dumb N400' into the 'Smart N400': What role-reversed sentences tell us about the time course of predictions"
- Dave Kush, Jeffrey Lidz and Colin Phillips, "Interference-insensitive local anaphora resolution: Evidence from Hindi reciprocals"
- Dave Kush, Jeffrey Lidz and Colin Phillips, "Online use of relational structural information in processing bound-variable pronouns"
- Dan Parker, Sol Lago and Colin Phillips, "Retrieval interference in the resolution of anaphoric PRO"
- Susan Teubner-Rhodes, Alan Mishler, Ryan Corbett, and Jared Novick (University of Maryland, College Park), Llorenç Barrachina and Mònica Sanz-Torrent (Universitat de Barcelona), and John Trueswell (University of Pennsylvania), "The bilingual advantage: Conflict monitoring, cognitive control, and garden-path recovery"
The conference is also rich with Maryland alumni: recent postdoc Ming Xiang; recent PhDs Brian Dillon, Matt Wagers, and Masaya Yoshida; recent Baggett Fellow Dave Kleinschmidt; and recent BA Cynthia Lukyanenko.
March 15, Dustin Chacón presents work with Alexis Wellwood at the Workshop for Languages with and without Articles, at CNRS / Paris 8. The talk, "A Superlative Puzzle for Bošković's DP/NP Parameter", observes that across languages prenominal possessors block a 'relative' interpretation of superlatives, and argues for a unified account of asymmetries in the interpretation of superlatives in languages with and without articles. The argument relies crucially on the existence of a D projection.
March 8-12 at Georgetown, Annie Gagliardi, Megan Sutton, Kate Harrigan, Tara Mease and Jeff Lidz present "Now you see it, now you don't: Advantages and pitfalls of in-depth analysis of preferential looking data" at the 2012 Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics.
Congratulations to Sol Lago and Wing Yee Chow, joint winners of the Jerrold J. Katz Young Scholar Award for 2012. This is an award for the best paper by a young researcher (student, postdoc, early faculty) at the 2011 CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, held at Stanford University in March 2011. The title of their presentation was "Word frequency affects pronouns and antecedents identically: Distributional evidence." They will be presented with the $500 award at the 2012 CUNY conference, which will take place in New York City March 14-16.
Now online, videos of both Howard Lasnik's and Brad Larson's talks at "Islands in Contemporary Syntactic Theory," at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 16-19 November 2011. Howard's talk was "Another Look at Island Repair by Deletion", Brad's was "What can Multidominance tell us about islands?".
On Feb. 18 Maryland hosted the Second Mid-Atlantic Colloquium of Studies in Meaning, with five presentations by UMD students in linguistics and philosophy:
- Michaël Gagnon "Against an NPE analysis of D-type pronouns"
- Shevaun Lewis "Pragmatics in the development of belief reports"
- Yu Izumi "Why we need no reference to kinds: A four-dimensional approach to the semantics of bare nominals"
- Chris LaTerza "Japanese tachi"
- Alexis Wellwood, Chris Vogel, Brendan Ritchie, Rachel Dudley, Erin Bennett "Events and their causes: A transparency issue"
Roger Schwarzschild of Rutgers University gave the invited talk, "A Neo Neo Neo Davidsonian Analysis of Nouns".
MACSIM brought together over 70 graduate students and faculty from the region between DC and NYC to share and develop new student research on linguistic meaning, from theoretical, experimental, and philosophical perspectives. This year's MACSIM was organized by Alexander Williams and Valentine Hacquard, and generously supported by the College of Arts and Humanities, the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Philosophy.
Congratulations to Brian Dillon, Ewan Dunbar and Bill Idsardi whose "A single stage approach to learning phonological categories: Insights from Inuktitut'' is to appear in Cognitive Science. The paper argues against the view that phonological acquisition is a 'two-stage' process, suggesting an alternative conception and presenting a Bayesian model that acquires phonemic categories in a single stage. Using data from Inuktitut, it is shown that the model reliably converges on a set of phoneme-level categories and phonetic-level relations among subcategories, without making use of the lexicon. A prepublication draft is available.
Please greet Romy Lassota and Lyn Tieu who are visiting UMD Linguistics this semester. Romy is a graduate student at the University of Geneva studying Language Acquisition and Sentence Processing. Lyn is a graduate student at the University of Connecticut specializing in Language Acquisition.
On Feb. 7 Brad Larson is presenting "WYSIWYG RNR" at the CUNY Syntax Supper. Brad argues against current approaches to Right Node Raising constructions, positing instead a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach where the first conjunct is syntactically inchoate, its interpretation being derived post-syntactically.
On January 26, Yakov Kronrod, Susan Teubner-Rhodes, and Jeff Lidz went to Northwood High School in Silver Spring to speak with 100 AP Psychology students about linguistic structure and its connection to language acquisition and other areas of cognition.
Congratulations to Kenshi Funakoshi, whose "On Headless XP-Movement/Ellipsis'' is to appear in Linguistic Inquiry. The paper makes two proposals: that Copy operation must apply to as small an element as possible, and that head-movement may be instantiated either by substitution or by adjunction. It argues that these proposals explain the syntax of "headless XPs".
Annie Gagliardi, Brad Larson, Dave Kush, and Alexis Wellwood – with Naomi Feldman, Colin Phillips, Jeff Lidz, Paul Pietroski and Justin Halberda from Johns Hopkins – are presenting at the Linguistics Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, January 5th-8th 2012.
Brad will present "Sluicing without antecedents is fed by extraposition".
Annie is presenting two talks. The first, "Distinguishing input from intake in Tsez noun class acquisition," is being presented as part of an LSA symposium called Psycholinguistic Research on Less Studied Languages. The second, "Psycocomputational approaches to the acquisition of noun phrases in Tsez", is to be presented with Naomi Feldman and Jeff Lidz, at Psychocomputaional Models of Language Acquisition, a meeting being held in conjunction with the LSA.
Dave, with Jeff and Colin as co-authors, will present "Processing bound-variable anaphora: Implications for memory encoding and retrieval".
Alexis, with Jeff, Paul and Justin Halberda as co-authors, will present "When to quantify: syntactic cues in the acquisition of novel superlatives", showing that 4-5 year-old children use the category distinction between Adjective and Determiner as a cue to the interpretation of words in superlative form, relying more on this than on the cue of partitive "of".
Juan Uriagereka, Professor in Linguistics and Associate Provost of Faculty Affairs, has recently published a new book, Spell-Out and the Minimalist Program. Since Juan invented the multiple spell-out model in 1999 it has been one of the most influential lines of research in syntactic theorizing. The model simplified a crucial element of the minimalist account of language making it a more accurate reflection of syntax and its acquisition. In this book he explores important consequences of the multiple spell-out hypothesis and of the linked notion of cyclicity. He combines the latest thinking in linguistics with perspectives drawn from physics, biology, and animal behaviour, aiming thereby to advance the field first described by Noam Chomsky as biolinguistics.
The LSA's Best Paper in Language 2011 Award goes to Jon Sprouse, a Maryland Linguistics alumnus, for his "A test of the cognitive assumptions of magnitude estimation: Commutativity does not hold for acceptability judgments", in Language 87(2). The award is given for the best paper published in the journal in any given calendar year. This year Jon shares the award with Thomas Weskott and Gisbert Fanselow, for their "On the informativity of different measures of linguistic acceptability".
Dave Kush has a paper published in the Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 21, entitled "Height-Relative Determination of (Non-Root) Modal Flavor: Evidence from Hindi". The paper pursues the idea that a modal's flavor is determined by its attachment height.
Dave Kush is back from three weeks in India running experiments on the processing of Hindi reciprocals. The work was done at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"Poverty of the Stimulus Revisited" by Robert Berwick, Paul Pietroski, Beracah Yankama and Noam Chomsky has appeared in September's Cognitive Science. The article develops the claim that "poverty of the stimulus arguments remain an important source of support for appeal to a priori structure-dependent constraints on the grammars that humans naturally acquire."
Philip Resnik was recently in California to give the keynote talk at the 2011 Sentiment Analysis Symposium, and to speak to the machine translation group at Google Research about his work on crowdsourcing and translation, in a new Google-funded collaboration with Ben Bederson (UMD Computer Science) and Chris Callison-Burch (JHU Computer Science) called "Translate the World".
Comments by Philip were also featured in New Scientist's story about Apple's new voice assistant, Siri on November 3.
Howard Lasnik is the invited speaker at "Islands in Contemporary Syntactic Theory," at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, November 16-18. Brad Larson is giving a talk at the same venue, entitled "What can Multidominance tell us about islands?".
- Annie Gagliardi and Jeffrey Lidz, "The Power of the Prior: Asymmetries in Word Learning vs. Word Class Learning"
- Angela Xiaoxue He and Jeffrey Lidz, "Mapping Intransitive Verbs to Self Propelled Motions"
- Megan Sutton, Mike Fetters & Jeffrey Lidz, "Parsing for Principle C at 30-months"
- John Trueswell, Alon Hafri, Dan Kauffman and Jeff Lidz, "Development of parsing ability interacts with grammar learning: Evidence from Tagalog and Kannada"
Dustin Chacón will be presenting his work on head movement in the Bangla DP at the CUNY Syntax Supper on Nov. 1st. He will argue that the complex feeding and bleeding relationships between noun-to-classifier substitution and classifier-raising in the Quantificational Approximateness construction show that certain word formation operations must be ordered before and after syntactic operations. This means that the common belief that head movement effects are entirely post-syntactic is not a tenable one, and suggests a four-tiered DP structure (as in Tang's (1990) or Borer's (2005) work) with distinct numeral and number/classifier projections.
Title of Paper: "Word Formation before and after Spellout, or, Deriving Simpson's Conjecture"
Colin Phillips will be the keynote speaker at the Linguistics Association of Portugal conference in Lisbon, October 26-28.
On October 20 at the Johns Hopkins Cognitive Science Colloquium, Valentine Hacquard presents "Understanding Desire and Belief Reports". In this talk Valentine develops a semantic account of the asymmetry in young children's understanding of "think" versus "want", against alternatives that link this to development in children's Theory of Mind.
Colin Phillips is giving a talk in the Distinguished Scholar-Teacher lecture series, 4:00pm on Thursday October 20th in 1400 Marie Mount Hall. The title of the talk is "Linguistic Illusions: Where you see them, where you don't".
Terje Lohndal will give a linguistics colloquium talk on Friday, October 14th at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He will explore the consequences of a dynamic theory of Spell-Out where two phrases can never be merged, showing how this theory provides a transparent mapping onto Neo-Davidsonian logical forms. He will further discuss the theory's syntactic implications with respect to copy theory, movement and multi-dominance structures.
Title: "Spell-Out, Movement, and the Copy Theory"
Michaël Gagnon and Alexis Wellwood have a paper published in the Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 21, entitled "Distributivity and modality: where 'each' may go, 'every' can't follow". The paper examines the differential behavior of "each" and "every" with respect to the Epistemic Containment Principle proposed by von Fintel and Iatridou (2003). It is shown that this principle can be derived from more general mechanisms of quantifier scope-taking in grammar.
Alexis Wellwood and Valentine Hacquard (along with co-author Roumyana Pancheva at the University of Southern California) have a paper appearing in the Journal of Semantics. The paper is called "Measuring and Comparing Individuals and Events", and looks at parallelisms in the interpretation of comparison across the nominal and verbal domains.
Norbert Hornstein and Juan Uriagereka will be giving invited talks at the University Potsdam, October 4th and 5th, for "The Minimalist Program: Quo Vadis?- Newborn, Reborn, or Stillborn".
Congratulations to a team of 12 Maryland linguists, and their hometeam support crew, who took part in the Ragnar Relay on September 23-24 (2011). The relay covered a grueling 200-mile route from Cumberland, in the western tip of Maryland, to Washington DC. Each runner covered 3 of the 36 legs, covering a total of 13-22 miles. The crew ran continuously for around 27 hours and 30 minutes, running many legs at night, and many in heavy rain. Despite it all they finished 150 minutes sooner than expected. On the team were 5 faculty and 7 graduate students, all of whom are now looking forward to running in dryer fall weather. An amazing effort by runners Aaron, Akira, Annie, Brad, Colin, Dan, Dave, Ellen, Jeff, Shevaun, Tess and Yakov!
The first Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning was held on September 23, 2011, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. It was jointly organized by students and faculty from Johns Hopkins and UMD.
The event brought together 140 faculty, researchers and students working on computational topics related to human language, from 14 universities: Delaware, Princeton, George Mason, George Washington, Columbia, Penn, Michigan, Haverford, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, University of Maryland Baltimore County, plus the two organizing institutions. Capitalizing on the breadth of computational research into human language, the colloquium stimulated fruitful discussion between linguists, computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and information scientists on a very impressive range of genuinely cutting-edge student research.
Wing Yee Chow and Sol Lago recently taught a two-hour workshop on EEG and MEG to a group of fourteen students in the NSF-funded Visual Language and Learning (VL2) Science of Learning Center hosted at Gallaudet University. The students came from a number universities: Gallaudet, UC Davis, Boston University, U Toronto, U New Mexico, UT Austin, Rochester, Georgia Tech, and UI Urbana-Champaign.
Howard Lasnik has recently contributed chapters to several important new collections and handbooks, including:
"Some roots of Minimalism" with R. Freidin in the Oxford University Press Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism (OUP)
"Minimalism" and "Government and Binding" in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences (CUP)
"Syntax" in the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Elsevier)
"Brief overview of the history of generative syntax" with Terje Lohndal in The Cambridge Handbook of Generative Syntax (CUP)
"What kind of computing device is the human language faculty?" in The Biolinguistic Enterprise: New Perspectives on the Evolution and Nature of the Human Language Faculty (OUP)
"Single cycle syntax and a constraint on quantifier lowering" in Biolinguistic Explorations: Interfaces in Language Design (John Benjamins)
Official opening ceremonies for the Maryland Neuroimaging Center will be at 12pm on Tuesday September 20th. This is a large new facility that currently houses a state-of-the-art MRI scanner, and will soon be a truly multi-modal center, which will include magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalograpy (EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) facilities. The center is managed by the cross-department Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) program. It has been made possible by a $2M Major Instrumentation Grant from NSF, and by substantial investment from many different colleges and centers across the university. Linguistics has played an important role in this effort. David Poeppel (now at NYU) was one of the founders of the initiative, together with Nathan Fox (Human Development). Colin Phillips was one of the PIs on the NSF grant, and is a member of the MNC leadership team.
Colin Phillips is giving the "Linguistics Association" Lecture at the Linguistics Association of Great Britain annual meeting in Manchester on Sept 7-10. His talk is entitled "What is a mental grammar?" and it will be accompanied by a special session of the conference on the theme of the Psycholinguistics of Grammar.
Please greet new postdoc Kristine Yu. Kristine works on computational modeling of tone, prosody, and their acquisition. She recently received her PhD from UCLA, with a dissertation titled "Learning tone from the speech signal," under advisors Ed Stabler and Megha Sundara.
Congratulations to Jeff Lidz and Csilla Kajtar! Beginning in 2012, Jeff will be the Editor-in-Chief of Language Acquisition, a leading journal for research in language development and linguistic theory. Csilla will join Jeff at the journal, in the position of Managing Editor.
Carolina Petersen and Kenshi Funakoshi will be presenting their work at GLOW in Asia. The workshop will take place in Mie, Japan on September 7-8, 2011. Carolina Petersen will present a poster titled "Control in Subjunctive Clauses in Brazilian Portuguese: Evidence for Tense Defectiveness", showing the role of tense in accounting for the behavior of null subjects in subjunctive clauses in Brazilian Portuguese and in explaining the obviation effect in Romance languages. Kenshi Funakoshi will present a paper titled "Cyclic Spell-Out and Ellipsis", proposing a convergent-based Spell-Out model, which deduces PIC effects and gives a simple account for a MaxElide paradigm.
Terje Lohndal will be teaching a PhD course at the University of Oslo from September 5-23. The title of the course is 'Language as Cognitive Science'.
Shevaun Lewis is presenting her work in Paris at AMLaP, the annual Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing conference, on September 1. She will be discussing results from an eye-tracking study on the processing of scalar implicatures, with a poster titled "Computing scalar implicatures is cost-free in supportive contexts."
We are happy to welcome six new members to our graduate program: Juliana Gerard (UCLA), Yuki Ito (University of Tokyo), Jeffrey McMahan (U Michigan), Shota Momma (U Washington), Carolina Petersen (Universidade de São Paulo), and Rachael Richardson (Maryland and JHU).
A warm welcome to Masahiko Takahashi, our new postdoctoral fellow in syntax. Masa recently graduated from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, with a dissertation focusing on Case in Japanese.
We are happy to welcome two new Baggett Fellows, Rachel Dudley (NYU '11, Linguistics) and Erin Bennett (UCSD '11, Linguistics), as well as Cybelle Smith (Stanford '11, Linguistics), a new Research Assistant to Colin Phillips in the psycholinguistics lab.
Congratulations to Ariane Rhone, who is starting a postdoctoral position at the University of Iowa. Her appointment is split between the Department of Psychology and the Medical School. She recently completed a PhD dissertation supervised by Bill Idsardi on the topic of neural measures of audio-visual integration.
Shayne Sloggett is beginning the PhD program in linguistics at UMass Amherst, after one year as a Research Assistant to Colin Phillips in the pycholinguistics lab. Congratulations and best of luck to Shayne!
Brad Larson's "A Dilemma with Accounts of Right Node Raising" is to appear in issue 43(1) of Linguistic Inquiry, Winter 2012. Earlier this summer Brad presented a paper at the Comparative Syntax Workshop in Amsterdam ("Swiping Subdued: A simpler approach"), and gave an invited talk to the Syntax Roundtable at the University of Washington ("Any Way You Sluice It: A new way to escape ellipsis").
Shiti Malhotra has accepted a lectureship in the Program in Linguistics at Northeastern University, for the coming academic year.
Alex Drummond is beginning a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University (England). He will be working on a project with Professor Wolfram Hinzen, supported by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
PHLING, the Philosophy & Linguistics reading group, will meet every Thursday this summer, 3:30-5:30 in the 1407 lounge. New and old participants welcome.
Jeff Lidz and Colin Phillips have been invited to teach courses this summer at the LSA Linguistic Institute, hosted by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Jeff's course is "Learning in Generative Grammar: Representation, Intake and Update". Colin's is "Grammatical Illusions: Encoding and Navigating Linguistic Structures in Real Time".
Yakov Kronrod won an NSF Scholarship to attend the Machine Learning Summer School at Purdue University from June 13 to 24 of 2011.
Congratulations to Shevaun Lewis, who has won the College of Arts and Humanities Service award in the category of Graduate Student, for all of the work she has done above and beyond the call of duty for the linguistics department, for the language acquisition lab, and for the executive committee of the "Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity" IGERT. The award will be presented to Shevaun at the Fall 2011 College Convocation on September 13, 3:30pm at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
Naomi Feldman recently joined the Department of Linguistics as an Assistant Professor in computational psycholinguistics. Her research uses tools from statistics and machine learning to formalize questions about at how people learn and represent the structure of their language. For example, behavioral evidence indicates that perception of sounds is biased toward the centers of phonetic categories. Can we predict this bias by assuming that listeners are using knowledge about which sounds tend to occur most often? Infants learn to segment words around the same time that they learn phonetic categories. How would learners benefit by using information about which sounds occur together in words to constrain phonetic category acquisition? Naomi’s courses include two introductory graduate level courses, one in computational psycholinguistics and one in phonology.
Ellen Lau is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics, specializing in the cognitive neuroscience of language. In her research Ellen uses measures of brain activity such as EEG, MEG, and fMRI to develop better theories of language processing and its neural instantiation. One recent focus of her work is investigating the mechanisms by which readers and listeners use expectations to guide language comprehension. Speakers of a language possess a vast knowledge of deterministic and probabilistic constraints on the input - for example, that an adjective cannot be followed by a verb, that the object of "eat" is likely to name some kind of food, and that a male voice is unlikely to utter the phrase "I'm pregnant". In the face of a signal that is often noisy and ambiguous, proactively using this kind of knowledge to predict the upcoming input may be critical for rapid, accurate, and efficient language processing. Ellen uses the fine-grained temporal and spatial resolution provided by these neuroimaging measures to explore what kinds of linguistic knowledge contribute to expectations in comprehension and how these expectations are implemented in real-time processing.
Dustin Chacón, a first year student, Flagship fellow and Beinecke scholar in the Linguistics department at UMd, has been recently awarded a prestigious NSF-GRFP grant. The grant will be covering his stipend, tuition costs, and cover a bit of funding for travel costs for 3 years.
The project that Colin Phillips and he proposed was to see whether the robustness of applying grammatical coreference constraints in parsing that have been observed in English are due to the properties of those constraints or whether they are due to the way that word order and memory mechanisms interact. He will test this by looking at correlative clause constructions in Hindi in which the same coreference constraints exist, though the relevant phrases come in reverse linear order with respect to their English counterparts.
A student poster presented by Yakov Kronrod (Linguistics), featuring work by Yakov, Chang Hu (CS), Olivia Buzek (CS and Linguistics undergrad), and Alexander J. Quinn (CS), has been named the winning poster in the Math, Technology, and Engineering category at the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science, (AAAS) Student Poster Competition. The AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science.
The poster, entitled Using Monolingual Crowds to Improve Translation, reported on work done in the context of a project on crowdsourcing and translation led by Ben Bederson and Philip Resnik, which is supported by NSF and a Google Research Award. The students will be recognized in a spring issue of Science and on the Annual Meeting web site for AAAS, in addition to receiving a cash prize and a subscription to Science.
Particular recognition goes to Yakov for his leadership in creating and presenting the poster, and to all four students for the excellent work represented here and in the project as a whole. Congratulations on this well deserved recognition!