Archive for the ‘Academic life’ Category

The great work begins

February 24, 2019

(two morning names, of very different type)

Yesterday morning I came to consciousness slowly slowly, as a voice filled my head with the exulting declaration:


(#1) Society6 art print: The Great Work Begins by Maxfield and Madison

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Presidents Day weekend in Berkeley

February 16, 2019

A bit of personal and intellectual history, having to do with the fact that there was a period of years when on the Friday before Presidents Day my husband-equivalent Jacques Transue and I would drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley for the annual meeting of the BLS, the Berkeley Linguistics Society, then held in Dwinelle Hall at UCB over the three-day weekend. (It has since moved its dates to less crowded times during winter quarter.)

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The natural history of snowclones

February 1, 2019

The title of an abstract of mine for the 20th Stanford SemFest (Semantics Festival), to take place on March 15th and 16th (the Ides of March and National Panda Day, respectively). The SemFests feature reports (primarily 20-minute presentations, plus 10-minute question periods)

on recent work on any topic touching on meaning broadly construed, ranging from traditional topics in semantics and pragmatics to social meaning to natural language understanding and beyond

This posting is primarily about my snowclone paper, but there will also be some very personal reflections on the conference and its significance in my academic life.

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A book for the professor

October 22, 2018

On Facebook yesterday, this message from the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities at Stanford University, my excellent colleague John R. Rickford:

Last night (Oct. 20), I experienced one of the most moving, memorable events of my academic career! After giving a keynote talk at the 47th annual conference on New Ways of Analyzing Variation in language, at New York University, I was presented with a festschrift (book) containing 47 articles and 9 vignettes by faculty colleagues and former students from around the world. It was a surprise gift to mark my retirement (last Stanford class is Jun 2019). Tears flooded my eyes more than once, beginning with the moment I saw all 4 of our children and 6 grandchildren in the huge audience, and ending with editors Renee Blake and Isa Buchstaller presenting me with four bound pre-print volumes and the contributors and family members coming on stage. The book, entitled “The Roundtable Companion to John Russell Rickford,” will be about 588 pages when printed (May 2019). This was truly one of those life-moments that “take your breath away.”

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DJ is chaired at Stanford!

June 16, 2018

Yesteday’s hot news from my little corner of academia, a message from my Stanford linguistics colleague Beth Levin announcing that

Dan Jurafsky … has just been appointed to an endowed chair, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professorship in the Humanities.

Margaret Jacks Hall was thronged with well-endowed celebrants bearing chairs and singing paeans to the law and the American banking system, bringing to conclusion not only the month of Ramadan but also an extraordinarily crowded season of doctoral debuts (some of which I will report on in other postings).

In the midst of this, excited buzz — like the murmuring of innumerable bees — over the verbing of chair in the sense (roughly) ‘to award a named professorship to’.

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A Zwicky of flavour physics

November 2, 2017

Thanks to Google Alerts, yesterday I learned about the theoretical physicist Roman Zwicky — someone to add to the great book of Zwickys on this blog. His webpage photo:

His Edinburgh webpage lists his research areas as: Collider Physics, Flavour Physics, Fundamental Theory. Yes, forbiddingly technical, but then his pages are clearly intended for fellow physicists, not for random people, even those with scientific interests.

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Earth Dean

October 13, 2017

A brief note on a personnel change at Stanford, announced in the Stanford Report this morning:

(#1) The new Earth Dean, with lilies-of-the-valley (and a purple calla lily)

Geologist Stephan Graham has been named dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Provost Persis Drell has announced.

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One more remarkable tie

October 23, 2016

From Steven Levine on Facebook today:

A recent posting by Arnold Zwicky [about paisley ties] reminded me that several months ago I provided him with my nominations for what I considered the most unusual tie in my collection. It also reminded me of the egegious oversight on my part that I neglected to include this one, which on reflection probably wins the award: Late 40s tie with a print of workers sitting in a tree, each sawing off the very branch upon which they are sitting.

I don’t even have a wild fantasy explanation for this, much less a plausible one.

On your day off

December 9, 2015

The PHD Comics from the 7th:

Deep sighs. A long-standing tradition for me: using the hour or two before going to bed for necessary academic work (like entering data) that doesn’t require real mental effort.

Hat tip to Nathan Sanders, who is of course an academic (a linguist, in fact), at Swarthmore.

Morning Zorn

June 21, 2015

It was a morning name many days ago, but it led in so many interesting directions that I’m just now getting to post about it: Zorn’s Lemma, a remnant of my days in logic and set theory (now almost entirely forgotten).

From the lemmatist Max August Zorn, with a brush against his newspaperman grandson Eric, to Max’s wife Alice, on to the amazing musician John Zorn (no known relation to any of the above), and then to James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks.

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