Linguistics events in the Boston area

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  Oct 2018   Dec 2018

Date

Thu Oct 04, 2018

Time

05:30 PM - 06:45 PM


			

Location

SAR 101

Title

LINGUISTICS COLLOQUIUM: “Context-sensitivity and count nouns: the view from child language”

Description

Abstract: Part of what it means to become a proficient language user is to recognize the ways in which the conversational context affects the way we arrive at certain interpretations. This seems entirely reasonable for context-dependent expressions like pronouns (they) or relative gradable adjectives (big, expensive), but what about seemingly stable expressions, such as count nouns (fork, ball)? Are words like these—words that appear early in child-directed and child-produced speech—also sensitive to context? We investigate this question by examining children's and adult's categorization of partial objects as referents of count nouns. We start with a curious yet robust observation that young children, when presented with a set of partial and whole objects (like forks) and asked to count or quantify them, appear to treat partial and whole objects on par. This finding, first reported in Shipley & Shepperson (1990), seems to indicate a conceptual shift in development in the treatment of count nouns and their corresponding sortals. We adopt a different perspective, entertaining the possibility that children are doing something that adults might indeed be willing to do in certain instances, and that their response patterns reveal something interesting about the context sensitivity and vagueness inherent to nominals.

(Joint research with Kristen Syrett, Rutgers University)

Speaker(s)

Athulya Aravind (Harvard University)

Date

Thu Oct 18, 2018

Time

05:30 PM - 06:45 PM


			

Location

SAR 101

Title

LINGUISTICS COLLOQUIUM: "Possessive constructions - Syntactic puzzles in English and beyond"

Description

Abstract: What do linguists mean by possessive constructions and how do we approach and study these constructions? Are the English expressions ’the mother of John’ and ‘John’s mother’ sharing some underlying uniform syntactic structure or are these two alternative constructions generated by two unrelated syntactic mechanisms? Why can we say ‘John’s horse’, but ‘the horse of John’ sounds suddenly odd? What do linguist mean by extrinsic/alienable and inherent/inalianable possession? What is external and what is internal possessive construction? This talk presents an engaging introduction to the terminology and the syntactic study of possession and introduces several theoretical puzzles that are the topic of lively ongoing debates among generative grammarians.

Speaker(s)

Snejana Iovtcheva (MIT)

Date

Thu Dec 06, 2018

Time

05:30 PM - 06:45 PM


			

Location

CILSE 101

Title

LINGUISTICS COLLOQUIUM: "On constructing regional and racial identity: Investigating stylistic variation in Rochester, New York"

Description

Abstract: Recent explorations of regional variation across African American speech communities have brought to the forefront the linguistic heterogeneity across African American English (AAE). As sociolinguists have problematized the presentation of AAE as a uniform variety, intra-group analyses highlight the diverse social and linguistic constructions among African American speakers. In this talk, I zoom in on three personae local to the African American community in Rochester, New York, assessing how each style is linguistically constructed. I investigate how the three personae, The Mobile Professional, The Hood Kid, and The Biker recruit or reject vocalic patterns of the Northern Cities Shift, as well as AA(V)E morphosyntactic patterns in the construction of their identities. The findings challenge how we define the dialect, while also complicating our understanding of the relationship between race and language.

Speaker(s)

Sharese King (University of Chicago)

Date

Thu Oct 25, 2018

Time

05:00 PM - 06:30 PM


			

Location

LSE Room 103

Title

Linguistics Undergraduate Fall Open House

Description

Details will be posted here...

See also the
following links
for events at:

* MIT
* Harvard
* UMass (Amherst).