Public Lectures

Named Professor Lectures

Collitz Professor: Joan BybeeUniversity of New Mexico
Public Lecture : Title TBD
Location: JSB 121
Date: 8/1/2017
Time: 7:00pm (followed by closing reception)

 

Click here to view course: Directionality in Language Change
 

Sapir Professor: Penelope EckertStanford University
Public Lecture : Title TBD
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/18/2017
Time: 7:00pm 

 

Click here to view course: Introduction to Sociolinguistics
 

Hale Professor: Lenore GrenobleUniversity of Chicago
Public Lecture: Title TBD
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/28/17
Time: 7:00pm

 

Click here to view course: Field Methods
 

Fillmore Professor: Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University
Public Lecture: Title TBD
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/6/2017
Time: 7:00pm

 

Click here to view course: Intonation and Computation
 

 

 

Forum Lecturers

David Adger, Queen Mary University of London. (joint work with Caroline Heycock, Jennifer Smith and Gary Thoms)
Public Lecture: Three Sources of Syntactic Variation: Evidence from the Scots Syntactic Atlas
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/11/2017
Time: 7:00pm
 
In this talk I distinguish three sources of syntactic variation and exemplify them through some preliminary  findings that have emerged from the SCOSYA project (Scots Syntactic Atlas, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council). One source of variation in syntax is to be understood as deriving from the way that syntax is spelled out as morphological form. I show this by an investigation of aspects of the morphosyntax of negation across Scottish dialects and argue that certain phenomena that have been treated as head movement are better understood, not as syntactic movement, but as a direct link between syntactic and morphological structures. The second source involves a difference, not in how syntax is spelled out, but in the inventory of syntactic features. I present an analysis of agreement differences between different Scottish dialects that shows surface variation in this area emerges through the interaction of feature inventory variation and spellout mechanisms. The third source of syntactic variation is that varieties syntactically combine different resources to attain structures which can be uniformly mapped to the interface with semantic interpretation to achieve similar semantic. I illustrate this by looking at variation in the interaction between certain auxiliary and main verbs across Scottish dialects. The sources of variation, then, lie at the interface with morphology, the inventory of syntactic features available in a language, and in how languages combine their syntactic resources to achieve structures which uniformly map to semantic interpretation. We can see how all three sources interact to give rise to a rich pattern of variation across the dialects of Scottish English.
 

Michel DeGraff, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Public Lecture: Title TBD
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/14/2017
Time: 7:00pm
 
 
 
 
Robin Queen, University of Michigan
Public Lecture: "When a Linguist Talks to a Dog"
Location: JSB 121
Date: 7/25/2017
Time: 7:00pm

 

In this talk, I present two approaches to thinking about what happens when a linguist talks to a dog. The first approach is what might be considered a canonical, scholarly approach to the topic. I discuss semiotics, referentiality, and metapragmatic communication based on data drawn from interactions between shepherds and their stockdogs—as well as between shepherds talking to other shepherds about interacting with stockdogs—in the context of cooperative sheep herding.

Drawing on over a decade of ethnographic participant observation on farms and at livestock herding competitions and demonstrations throughout North America, I discuss the metapragmatics involved in conceptualizing effective mechanisms of communication with a working dog. I further illustrate how the ideologies and semiotics involved in constituting the dog as a communicative interlocutor drive both the form of the interactions with the dog and the specifics of the acoustic output directed to the dog. These interactions pivot crucially around referentiality.

I illustrate the system of whistled and verbal utterances shepherds use to communicate referentially with their dogs and then show that the prosodic qualities in shepherds’ referential whistles vary stylistically as they do in speech, particularly along the dimensions of careful and casual (Laan 1997). The similarities between stylistic modifications made to speech and those made in communicating to a dog suggest that shepherds draw on their linguistic knowledge when working with their dogs.

The second approach for thinking about what happens when a linguist talks to a dog provides a more personal reflection on what it has meant for me to talk to dogs while also building and maintaining an academic career in linguistics, one that has included experience with different kinds of institutions, different roles within institutions and within the discipline, and different moments of clarity and of questioning,  including junctures at which I was advised not to pursue the questions I found most compelling. By engaging both of these approaches, I hope to illustrate how the life of the mind need not preclude or overshadow the life of the spirit.