Archive for the ‘Linguistic theory’ Category

What have you done with your life?

May 10, 2018

An innocent-sounding request a few days back, from a Daily Beast reporter on its lgbt beat: [I’m] “working on a series of interviews with unsung (or, at least undersung) LGBT heroes. … I’m wondering if you’d be interested in being interviewed about your contributions to linguistics?”

Two claims here: I’m a person of significance in a professional field, linguistics; I’m a person of significance in the lgbt world. I am now asked to defend these claims, to demonstrate that I have done important things in both these areas of my life.

Difficult fieldwork moments in the linguistics-lgbt interface

This is where I curl into a ball of misery, in two ways at once. What have I done with my life, that people should read about me? I’m very proud of what I’ve done, in the academic world and the lgbt world, but I’m not even remotely a magisterial figure, a Great Person, in either. Sigh.

Reflections on my academic work to come. There will be lists. Long lists. I can’t promise quality, but quantity I can deliver.

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Syntax Wars: The Saga Continues

May 5, 2018

On the blog of http://www.linguisten.de (“the free and open forums on linguistics, language, and languages and the study thereof … operated by and for people interested in linguistics”), for Star Wars Day, 5/4 (May the Force), the playful “Syntax Wars: The Saga Continues”:

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Interactions of phonological rules

April 13, 2017

Tomorrow’s colloquium in the Stanford Linguistics Department (3:30 in Margaret Jacks Hall, if you’re local and interested):

A set-theoretic typology of phonological map interaction, by Eric Baković, UC San Diego (with Lev Blumenfeld, Carleton University). Beginning of the abstract:

Theories of generative phonology assume that, in general, morphemes have unitary underlying representations and that systematic variations in the surface pronunciation of morphemes in different morphological contexts result from the application of a complex, context-sensitive transformation – a phonological grammar – to those underlying representations. A phonological grammar is thus a complex map from underlying representations to surface representations. Theories differ on the details of what the phonological grammar is comprised of, but it is commonly assumed that it can be broken down into a set of simpler maps – intuitively, individual phonological processes – that make particular changes in particular contexts.
The question we ask in this work is: what is the set of possible interactions among the individual maps that constitute a phonological grammar?

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