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First two-week Session

First two-week Session

  • Sign Language Linguistics

    Diane Brentari

    This course provides and overview of the field of sign language linguistics by looking at three sub-areas of sign language research that have contributed to our understanding of language more broadly over the last 50 years: (1) iconicity, meaning and morphology; (2) language evolution, language acquisition and language emergence; (3) the influence of communication modality on linguistic and neurophysiology.The essentials of sign language structure will be covered in the course lectures, and the supplemental readings provide more detail about the topics of sign language structure that figure

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  • The Computational Theory of the Error-driven Ranking Model of the Acquisition of Phonotactics

    Giorgio Magri

    Nine-month-olds already display knowledge of the native phonotactics, namely react differently to licit versus illicit sound combinations. Children must thus rely on a remarkably efficient phonotactic learning procedure. What does it look like? Assume that the learner is provided with the typology of OT grammars corresponding to all rankings of a given constraint set. Data come in a stream and consist of licit phonological forms.

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  • The Data Gold Rush: Exploiting freely available web data for linguistic research

    Andrew Wedel, Bodo Winter

    The web is full of freely available data that is just waiting to be explored by the capable analyst. In this course, we will survey some of the freely available web data sources and discuss linguistic research projects that have been conducted with them. We will emphasize the Buckeye Corpus, the Lexicon Projects, dictionary data, Google Ngram and the TV News Archive, as well as resources from less-studied languages. We discuss projects that relate to a broad range of linguistic topics, including speech/phonetics, semantics and gesture.

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  • The Dynamics of Speech Perception

    Patrice Beddor

    For over 60 years, speech perception researchers have investigated listeners' ability to resolve the linguistic information encoded in input acoustic signals. More recent investigations have also explored listeners' resolution of the indexical information that is carried in the same signal. Both lines of study (and their important intersection) point toward the remarkable adaptability of perception. Listeners not only achieve perceptual stability across many types of variation, they also use that variation as important information about what a speaker is saying and about who said it.

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  • The Structure of Cantonese

    Stephen Matthews

    This course focuses on distinctive aspects of Cantonese as spoken in Hong Kong, chosen for their typological and theoretical interest. Topics will include tone, parts of speech, verbal aspect, noun classifiers, relative clauses and sentence-final particles, with a particular focus on properties which diverge from written Chinese and Putonghua. Examples will be given in the Jyutping romanization as well as in Chinese characters, so that prior knowledge of Chinese is not required.

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  • The Structure of Jiwarli

    Peter K. Austin

    Jiwarli is a Pama-Nyungan language (Mantharta subgroup of the Nyungic group) that was formerly spoken in the north-west of Western Australia (the last fluent speaker died in 1986). It shows a highly complex morpho-syntax that is typical of languages of the area, with split-ergative case morphology that is sensitive to grammatical relations, animacy, clause type and inter-clausal coreference (interacting with a system of switch-reference). Syntactically Jiwarli is non-configurational and shows pragmatically-based word order and operates in ways that challenge various theoretical proposals.

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  • The Structure of Kalaallisut

    Jerry Sadock

    An introduction to Kalaallisut, the typologically extreme Inuit language
    of 50,000 people in West Greenland and Denmark. The course will be organized around the productive morphological system of derivations, inflections and clitics, and will discuss the relation of morphology to the syntax and to the semantics. Noun and verb incorporation will be taken up in detail, while other morphological processes and their connections to syntactic and semantic organization will be more briefly considered.

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  • The Structure of Karuk

    Andrew Garrett, Line Mikkelsen

    Karuk, a language isolate spoken in northern California, has a highly agglutinating morphology (and intricate morphophonological patterns) paired with free word order. This course will focus on topics in Karuk morphology, morphosyntax, and syntax that are especially interesting from the point of view of linguistic theory and typology. We will emphasize the use of a large corpus of morphologically tagged texts, from a variety of genres over a century of documentation, in doing primary analytic research on an endangered language with few remaining fluent speakers.

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  • The Structure of Lak

    Victor Friedman

    Lak is a Northeast Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian, Daghestanian branch) language spoken by over 100,000 people, mostly in the central highlands of Daghestan.  It is characterized by a four-way series of stop oppositions, phanyngealized vowels, unusually complex declension, a five-way deictic opposition, four noun classes, agreement markers on any part of speech, a complex verbal system, interesting uses of agreement and cliticization to express focus, evidentiality, and other categories, complex case-marking strategies, and much more.   This course will begin with a brief introduction to Dagh

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  • The Syntax and Semantics of Discourse-Oriented Features: The grammar of speaker and addressee

    Miok Pak, Paul Portner, Raffaella Zanuttini

    Our course will focus on three areas where features of discourse context interface with syntactic representation:

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  • Topics in Balkan Linguistics

    Brian Joseph, Victor Friedman

    The Balkans was the first sprachbund to be identified as such. (We treat sprachbund as a German loanword into English, like pretzel). It has been called "the world's most famous contact situation" (Thomason and Kaufman 1985:95). This course will be a general introduction to Balkan linguistics, covering the sociolinguistic situation, theoretical and methodological considerations, phonology, lexicon and semantics, morphosyntax, syntax and pragmatics.

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  • Topics in Creole Studies: From historical linguistics to computational phylogenetics

    Michel DeGraff

    Computational phylogenetics is an umbrella term for fascinating methods and tools that can be put to great use toward evaluating phylogenetic hypotheses. As such they have been gaining currency among linguists of various theoretical stripes. Yet, these methods and their results are often not fully understood. Certain results are cited as “irrefutable” even when the corresponding empirical bases and methods can be shown to be flawed upon thorough examination.

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  • Topics in Historical Linguistics

    Ashwini Deo

    This course will examine the systematic ways in which semantic content changes, or is disposedto change, across time. We will be concentrating on those expressions that fall within the “functional lexicon”, rather than the “content lexicon”. One of the crucial properties of functional morphemes is that, in any given language, their inventory is limited, as opposed to the open-ended lexicon of content items. Another important property of language-specific functional expressions is that they seem to exhibit strong cross-linguistic similarities with respect to the meanings they express.

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  • Topics in South Asian Linguistics

    Rajesh Bhatt

    Research on South Asian languages has contributed to formal syntax and semantics in a number of domains: the interaction of case (ergativity, differential object marking) with agreement (object agreement, long distance agreement) and the interpretation of agreement, argument structure (productive unaccusative/transitive alternations and causativization, direct versus indirect causation, and non-nominative subjects), correlativization across domains (relativization, conditionals, comparatives, temporal clauses), scrambling, rightward movement and the wh-in-situ characterization of these lang

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  • Topics in Syntax and Semantics of Slavic

    David Pesetsky, Sergei Tatevosov

    The last decade or two has witnessed an explosion of interesting investigations of the syntax and semantics of the Slavic languages. This class will explore several interconnected semantic and syntactic phenomena of this language family. The course aims to provide an overview of several live topics, and to spur interest in investigation the many intriguing but unsolved puzzles that these languages present. Topics to discussed will include verb-stem morphology and verbal aspect; nominal case and the internal structure of the Slavic noun phrase; clause structure and scrambling.

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  • Unsupervised Learning of Linguistic Structure: Morphology

    John Goldsmith

    This course will explore the use of statistical machine learning methods as a means to work on traditional scientific questions of linguistics. We will focus on the problems of word discovery, and inference of word-internal structure (morphology), and the interaction between morphology learning and inference of grammatical categories. We will explore the conditions under which such systems can be induced in the context of unsupervised learning.

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