Author Archives: Ana

Bhatia and Bhatt (2023): Copular agreement in Hindi-Urdu

Sakshi Bhatia (’19) and Rajesh Bhatt have published a paper in Glossa. The full article is available through the link below:

Abstract (preview)

In this paper, we present an analysis of Copular Agreement in Hindi-Urdu. We examine assumed identity copula structures (e.g., For today, I am him.), where we show that the broad characterization of the Hindi-Urdu agreement generalization – ‘agree with the highest unmarked DP’ – is insufficient: a structurally lower unmarked nominal has a demonstrable impact on the availability of agreement with a higher unmarked nominal. (…)

Biezma and Goebel (2023): Being pragmatic about biscuits.

Maria Biezma‘s paper on biscuit conditionals, co-authored with Arno Goebel, has appeared in Linguistics and Philosophy. The link to the UMass library pdf is below:

Abstract (preview)

In this paper we argue for a unified semantics for hypothetical conditionals, HCs, e.g. if it rains, we’ll cancel the picnic, and biscuit conditionals, BCs, e.g., if you are hungry, there are biscuits on the sideboard. We side with recent literature in proposing that differences in the interpretation are related to (in)dependence between antecedent and consequent, but we move beyond current accounts in spelling out a characterization of independence that is actually predictive. (…)

Hucklebridge (2023): Learning and the typology of word order: a model of the Final-over-Final condition

Shay Hucklebridge‘s paper on learning and the typology of word order has appeared in Glossa. The link to the full paper is below:


This article investigates whether cross-linguistic generalizations may arise from asymmetries in learnability of competing syntactic patterns. The model presented here uses a domain- general statistical learner for parameter systems in order to probe whether languages violating the Final-over-Final Condition (FOFC; Sheehan et al. 2017) might be difficult to learn, rather than syntactically impossible. In this model, no parameters ruled out *FOFC languages, and no penalties targeting them were built into the learner. Regardless, the results of two learning tasks demonstrate a correlation between the learnability of a word order pattern and its frequency in the typology. *FOFC languages were harder to learn, providing a possible explanation for their relative rarity.

Incoming class 2022

We are happy to introduce you to our very accomplished incoming class!

Ali Nirheche

I’m Ali, from Morocco. My research focuses on Moroccan Arabic. My interests are in the phonology / morphology interface; more specifically, my recent work focuses on non-concatenative morphology in Moroccan Arabic. I also have interests in other fields like geography, economics and entrepreneurship. I have several hobbies, some of which are traveling, hiking, and tennis. 

Yi-Shih (Helen) Chen

Hello! I am Helen (she/her), or Yi-Shih (in Chinese). Please call me by one of the two names which is the most convenient for you! I come from Taiwan, and I mainly work on formal semantics and generative syntax of Taiwan Mandarin. Before attending NTHU (National Tsing Hua University) linguistics for my master’s degree, I spent my undergrad years in NTU (National Taiwan University) physics, atmospheric sciences and geography. I have always been fascinated by the most theoretical and fundamental aspects of natural science, so I am also deeply attracted by the most theoretical and fundamental aspects of linguistics, especially the connection of formal semantics with logic.

Mariana Calderón

I’m Mariana (she/her), from Guadalajara, Mexico, a beautiful city with lots of tasty food. I did my undergrad and my MA in Mexico City, where I started to study Zapotecan languages (Otomanguean) and became interested in syntax and the syn-sem interface (mainly the verbal domain). Besides linguistics, I love dancing, doing yoga, chatting, laughing, and hunting for picture books.

Satoru Ozaki

My name is Satoru Ozaki (he/him) and I was born in Japan. I’m interested in syntax, psycholinguistics and machine learning. Outside of linguistics, I like eating sandwiches and listening to electronic music.

Suet-Ying Lam

Hi everyone, I am Suet-Ying (she/her). I am originally from Shenzhen, China, a city that is very close to Hong Kong. I attended high school and college in Hong Kong anyway. I mainly work on psycholinguistics, and at the same time have a great interest in syntax. When I’m not working on linguistics, I enjoy hiking (given that Hong Kong has too many mountains) and playing games that can run on my poor pc (for example, I earned four stars in every level of overcooked2).

Alice Harris plenary talk at ICHL25

Alice Harris made a plenary presentation at the 25th International Conference of Historical Linguistics, held in Oxford 1-5 August 2022. The presentation title was “The origins of clitic placement in Aluan and Udi”. You can find the abstract here.

Göbel to Princeton

Alex Göbel, currently at McGill University, has accepted a postdoc position at Princeton starting September 2022. He will work on a project on prosody and its interfaces with Byron Ahn and Florian Lionnet.

UMass linguists at SALT 32

The Semantics and Linguistic Theory 32 conference takes place on June 8-10 2022 in Mexico City, co-hosted by El Colegio de México and the Universidad Autónoma de México. UMass linguists past and present are well-represented in the program, with a range of talks and posters.

Jesse Harris: “Commitments de lingua and the interpretation of transparent free relatives” (invited talk)

Morwenna Hoeks, Deniz Özyildiz, Jonathan Pesetsky and Tom Roberts: “Event plurality and quantifier scope across clause boundaries”

Andrea Beltrama and Florian Schwarz:  “Social identity, precision and charity: when less precise speakers are held to stricter standards.”

Scott Anderbois and Daniel Altshuler: “Coordination, coherence and A’ingae clause linkage”

Jyoti Iyer: “Back to restitutive readings again.”

Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Esmail Moghiseh: “Universal Force from Exhaustification: Farsi Hame NP-i DPs.”

Adam Gobeski and Marcin Morzycki: “Ranges.”

Bernhard Schwarz and Alan Bale: “Measurements from per without complex dimensions”

UMass Linguists at GLOW 45

The 45th Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) Colloquium takes place at Queen Mary University of London on April 27-28. An additional thematic workshop takes place on April 26 (Typological generalizations and semantic theory). Current-and-former UMass linguists (*) will be making presentations:

Zahra Mirrazi*: Strenght of counterfactuality and presuppositions of tense pronouns (Workshop)

Deniz Özyıldız* (University of Konstanz), Ciyang Qing (University of Edinburgh), Floris Roelofsen (University of Amsterdam), Maribel Romero* (University of Konstanz), Wataru Uegaki (University of Edinburgh): Cross-linguistic patterns in the selectional restrictions of preferential predicates. (Workshop)

Morwenna Hoeks (University of California, Santa Cruz), Deniz Özyıldız* (University of Konstanz), Jonathan Pesetsky* (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and Tom Roberts (University of Amsterdam): Event plurality and quantifier scope across clause boundaries (Main session)

Anne-Michelle Tessier* (University of British Columbia), Karen Jesney* (Carleton University), Kaili Vesik, Roger Lo, and Marie-Eve Bouchard (University of British Columbia): The productive status of Canadian French liaison: Variation across words and grammar (Main session)

Adina Camelia Bleotu (Leibniz-ZAS) and Rodica Ivan* (University of Toronto Mississauga): Voice alternation with SE figure reflexives in Romanian (Main session)

Angelika Kratzer is this year’s John Locke Lecturer (April 27- June 1)

Angelika Kratzer will give this year’s John Locke Lectures at Oxford University:

As the website explains, “most of the greatest philosophers of the last half century have been Locke Lecturers”. Looking back over the years, it seems that Angelika is the second linguist(philosopher) who has been invited (the last one was in 1968-69). There will be a total of six lectures (April 27-June 1) and the overall title is ‘Reports of what we say, know, or believe’.

Lecture 1 ‘The puzzles: What we are trying to understand’ 

Lecture 2 ‘Reporting what we say’

Lecture 3 ‘Modal building blocks’

Lecture 4 ‘Reporting what we know’

Lecture 5 ‘Reporting what we believe’

Lecture 6 ‘Towards a typology’ 

For those of us unfortunately not in Oxford at that time, note that the website includes links to recordings of past lectures and handouts. Hopefully, we will be able to virtually enjoy Angelika’s presentation.

Sensus 2 at UMass: Call for papers

We are pleased to announce that the second meeting of Sensus, a workshop on the formal semantics and pragmatics of Romance languages, will take place virtually (and also possibly in person) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on October 1-2 2021. The workshop link is here:

Our intention with this workshop is to bring together scholars in the growing community dedicated to the study of the construction of meaning within Romance languages. We hope this will become a regular venue for researchers with common interests in Romance semantics and pragmatics.

We invite presentations of original research involving a broad range of topics and methodologies in formal semantics and pragmatics of Romance. We aim to bring together researchers working from different perspectives including purely theoretical research on formal semantics/pragmatics and their interfaces with other domains, experimental methodologies, fieldwork, the study of variation and computational approaches.

Invited speakers

Ivano Caponigro (University of California, San Diego)
Gennaro Chierchia (Harvard University)
Jenny Doetjes (Universiteit Leiden)

We invite abstracts for talk and poster presentations. The abstracts deadline is June 15 2021. Guidelines and instructions for abstracts can be found here:

Get in touch if you have questions!

The workshop organizers (Ana Arregui, Maria Biezma, Vincent Homer)