Archive for the ‘Academic life’ Category

An address from the former Adjunct Professor

April 22, 2022

On the Stanford Linguistics weekly newsletter, the Sesquipedalian, this morning (timestamped 7:36 am):

Artifact of the Month: Zwicky’s Linguistics Quilt
In the spirit of reminiscence, this month we bring you former Adjunct Professor Arnold Zwicky’s linguistics-themed quilt, composed of 12 t-shirts from different linguistics events…

(The quilt, and its component parts, can be viewed in my 12/11/19 posting “The linguistics quilt”.)

My Monty-Python-dense response (which the Sesqui might or might not choose to print, but you, my readers, can see it here):


A note of pedagogical pleasure

February 11, 2022

In correspondence with a former student about their career, they offered this note of thanks to me:

Please know that I divide life (in an intellectual dimension, at the least) to before and after studying X with you.

Wow. Emotional gold for a teacher: you did good things that helped change someone’s life.


Judging faces

December 18, 2021

Very brief note. I’ve spent the day being down about the spread of the Omicron variant and about this morning’s painfully low temperatures, which kept me from going outside at all, and also about a sinus infection, so I didn’t do what I’d intended to do today at all, and this is a minimal substitute.

Going through the Stanford Humanities Center annual report for 2020-21 (a year in which all events were virtual — nothing face-to-face at all, not Fellows’ weekly presentations, not lunches, not the eminent visitors, no random encounters in the building, none of that) and looking at the Fellows’ photos and brief identifications, I turned a page and came on a face that instantly grabbed my attention. And I thought: Nice guy. Gay guy.

And so he was. There were no doubt other queerfolk in the set, but this one just called out to me. I have no idea what things I was picking up on. Here’s his photo and thumbnail i.d. from the SHC:


Good news from the halls of academe

November 2, 2021

I am putting aside for the moment today’s intended posting, on Tucson sunrises and well-endowed cactuses, to pass on this excellent news, which came to me from my department chair Chris Potts > the department this afternoon:

Please join me in congratulating Professor Vera Gribanova on winning the LSA’s 2022 C.L. Baker Award, which “recognizes excellence in research in the area of syntactic theory on the part of a scholar who is at the mid-point of a distinguished career.”

A wonderful honor for someone who is surely actually only barely even approaching the *mid-point* of their career!

First, some exchanges about the award; and then some about Vera.


Time, and intellectual community

January 7, 2021

In the latest (December 2020) issue of the journal Language (vol. 96, no. 4), Brian Joseph’s “What is time (and why should linguists care about it)?”, an article that originated as his presidential address at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) annual meeting in New Orleans on 4 January 2020. The article (abstract below) combines broad humanistic scholarship with fine-grained philological and dialectological research on the Greek language.

Meanwhile, the article is thick with thanks to all sorts of people, a characteristic that is not just personal niceness — though in some cases it is certainly that — but reflects a view about the nature of intellectual community.


Genus Americanus

December 8, 2020

… with Jacques and me in a bit part.


The BSDR files

February 7, 2020

This posting represents the intersection of two posting topics that have pretty much gotten out of hand for me, so I’ll be extracting pieces from the larger material.

Topic 1 is the 1993 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, at which I gave (on 1/9/93) my 1992 Presidential Address to the society, “Mapping the ordinary into the rare: Basic/derived reasoning in theory construction”. In trying to retrieve memories of the event, I discovered that my computer files for the paper (the BSDR files) were in a format that was inaccessible to me and that all my paper files had been destroyed. So I put an appeal out on 12/21/19, on several sites, for help in finding a copy of (at least) my (very detailed) BSDR  handout.

Topic 2 is recent gifts to me of many kinds: symbolic roses for me, in accord with a 1/29/20 posting of mine on a line from the Sacred Harp: “Give me the roses while I live” (SH340 Odem (Second)). I’m an old man, currently writing things under the Python Queen of Scots cry “Not Dead Yet”. I have been given some excellent roses.

One of these wonderful gestures to me was a reconstruction of the BSDR handout — with formatting preserved — done for me, purely in the spirit of colleagueship, by Luigi Talamo, now at the Univ. of the Saarland. Whose labors I will celebrate here, with some notes about Luigi and his interests. But first I exhibit his gift.


The images quilt

December 15, 2019

The last in a set of four; the linguistics quilt, from the 19th, is its predecessor. As before, a 12-panel composition (roughly 6 x 3 ft) made of old t-shirts of mine, assembled into a quilt by Janet Salsman, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Kim Darnell (and photos by Kim).  This time, t-shirts with images that have pleased or entertained me:


Now the 12 panels individually, by row (R) and column (C).


The linguistics quilt

December 11, 2019

The third in a set of four; the university quilt, from yesterday, is its predecessor. As before, a 12-panel composition (roughly 6 x 3 ft) made of old t-shirts of mine, assembled into a quilt by Janet Salsman, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Kim Darnell (and photos by Kim).  This time, t-shirts for linguistics programs or linguistics events. Some of the shirts have small or subtle images on them, impossible to appreciate in a display like this one:

(#1) The pansy background is an especially nice touch, in a gift to me

So I’ll look at the 12 panels individually, close up, by row (R) and column (C).

The university quilt

December 10, 2019

#2 in a set of 4, the first having been my 7/30/17 posting “The queer quilt”. To come: the linguistics quilt and the images quilt. Each one, a 12-panel composition (roughly 6 x 3 ft) made of old t-shirts of mine, assembled into a quilt by Janet Salsman, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Kim Darnell.

#1 re-used old queer t-shirts, some political, some playful, some artistic. #2 is university t-shirts (from roughly 20 to 40 years ago), from institutions where I’ve talked, either teaching a class there, speaking at a conference there, or giving an invited talk there.

(#1) names, abbreviated names, nicknames, logos, and seals: Northwestern Univ., Univ. of New Mexico, Brigham Young Univ.; Georgetown Univ., Univ. of Kentucky, American Univ.; Harvard Univ., banana slugs (the mascot of the Univ. of Calif. at Santa Cruz (UCSC)), Univ. of Pennsylvania; Univ. of Calif. at Davis, UCSC, Univ. of North Dakota

Still to come: a linguistics quilt, with lx-related t-shirts; and an image quilt, with amusing or arresting images of several kinds.