Archive for the ‘Linguists’ Category

Panjandrumery

July 19, 2022

My morning name of 6/5, which came to me, not in my head on awakening (the way morning names usually do), but on Facebook upon my firing up my computer, from John Wells, who was exclaiming with surprised delight: “I’m now a panjandrum“.

JW had just come across a 1/29/19 piece on Tony Thorne’s language and innovation site, “Mockney, Estuary — and the Queen’s English”, in which Thorne referred to “the Linguistics and Phonetics department at UCL [University College London] under the panjandrum of phonology Professor John Wells”.


(#1) Not JW, but the Great Panjandrum of Randolph Caldecott’s 1885 picture book, on its cover (on the book, see below)

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35 years of the CHSP

March 18, 2022

Announcements now out with the program for the 35th Annual Conference on Human Sentence Processing — that is, the 35th meeting of the Annual Conference on Human Sentence Processing — at UCSC, the University of California at Santa Cruz, on 24-26 March.


The CHSP 2022 logo, with its mascot Chuspie; Chuspie appears to be a sea otter (clutching a statistical distribution), unrelated to the UCSC mascot Sammy the banana slug

Two nomenclatural matters: the designation of the conference’s subject as human sentence processing; and the change in this year’s title, the 34 preceding meetings having been the Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing. The purely historical reference to CUNY (specifically, to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where the conference was founded in 1988, by Janet Dean Fodor) now having been elided.

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The Z of death

March 12, 2022

From Andras Kornai on Facebook today:

AK: As they say on Sesame Street: brought to you by the letter Z!


(#1) A tank (Andras says it’s a Pantsir missile system) with the glyph Z on it — not a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet (in which both Ukrainian and Russian are written) and now symbolizing the Russian iron fist of death

Livia Polanyi [pursuing the Sesame Street theme]: Zombie zombie zombie starts with Z

AZ > LP: The letter Z long ago became part of my identity, a symbol of who I was. Now it’s become the equivalent of a swastika, and I feel that I have personally been assaulted, dirtied, and shamed. (I manage to surmount Z is for Zombie as just a piece of cultural silliness. But the Z on the tanks is, literally, dead serious.)

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Lumber linguistics

December 4, 2021

Today’s Zippy strip takes exploits the giant hammer outside the Ford Lumber Co. in Fort Washington MD to skitter over language-related matters — the metaphorical character of many common idioms, the innateness of language (abilities), natural language ontology — to lodge in a fixation on food that Zippy finds intrinsically funny (in this case, egg creams and V-8 juice):


(#1) Zippy’s attributions are a bit wonky — it’s Lakoff, not Chomsky, who hammers on the centrality of metaphor, though linguistic nativism is indeed a Chomskyan preoccupation — but then Zippy’s a surrealistic Pinhead, not a pinhead professor, and anyway, you say linguist, the popular mind thinks Chomsky, so Zippy has his finger on the pulse of the people here (even if ontology pours into egg creams for him and even if he seems to be hammered on V-8)

Meanwhile, there’s the news from Fort Washington MD.

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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.

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Arabic? Irish? Whatever

October 18, 2021

That’s the personal name /émǝn/, in a fully anglicized rendition of either of two very different names: the (Egyptian) Arabic name of MSNBC commentator Ayman Mohyeldin; or the Irish name of Google software engineer Éamonn McManus (who’s also a friend of mine). Time for a multicultural, multilingual moment.

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LSAZ1

October 12, 2021

Announcement from the Linguistic Society of America on Friday the 8th (right before a 3-day weekend holiday in the US, which is why this has only come to me this morning):

The LSA is delighted to announce that Kirby Conrod has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Arnold Zwicky Award. This award is intended to recognize the contributions of LGBTQ+ scholars in linguistics, and is named for Arnold Zwicky, the first out LGBTQ+ President of the LSA, who was elected in 1992. Dr. Conrod is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Kirby Conrod, LSAZ1

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Lila Gleitman

October 1, 2021

🐇 🐇 🐇 Discouraged day yesterday, which I tried to find relief from by posting something small but entertaining, but every posting I started ballooned into a sizable project — including this one, but I’m going to ruthlessly cut out a big file on Lila that I assembled a couple of years ago, when she was still alive and I wanted to celebrate her, but then it just became one of hundreds of other similar merely nascent projects, so instead I’m going to ramble on about Lila and my life and Chuck Fillmore and probably my Aunt Marion, who like Lila was a sporty woman, direct and funny and tonic to be around.

The spur for this posting was Lane Greene’s Johnson column in the 8/21/21 issue of the Economist (which I finally got to yesterday; I’m hopelessly behind on my reading as well as my writing — though I got the bulletin about Lila’s dying — on 8/8, at the age of 91 — from Barbara Partee the day it happened).

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Joseph R. Applegate

September 26, 2021

Today’s morning name, of a linguist who deserves to be better known, though he received some belated recognition late in his life (he was born in 1925) and after his 2003 death. I’ll tell his story by, first, reproducing a thumbnail photo of him; and then, referencing websites about him, from some of the viewpoints that are significant to the story of his life. And finally, a note about another viewpoint that is, as far as I know, utterly missing from these official records.

The photo:

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LSA to announce award for LGBTQ+ linguistics

April 26, 2021

Details still to be settled, but the Linguistic Society of America will be offering a regular award for LGBTQ+ linguistics. With the permission of COZIL (the LSA’s Committee on LGBTQ+ [Z] Issues in Linguistics), which proposed the award and will administer it, I am pleased to give a little peek ahead:

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