Author Archives: scable

UMass Linguistics at WCCFL 31 (UC Santa Cruz)

This year’s West Coast Conference in Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 41) featured a great many talks and posters by both students and faculty from UMass, both current and former.

In alphabetical order, this work included:

Rajesh Bhatt, Arka Banerjee, and Kousani Banerjee, “Egocentric Questions in Bangla: Rhetorical or Information-Seeking, but Always Surprising”

Seth Cable and James Crippen, “Stative Marking in Tlingit: Evidence for the Complexity of States”

Amy Rose Deal and Justin Royer, “Mayan Animacy Heirarchy Effects: A Dynamic Interaction Approach”

Angelica Hill, “What About ‘About To’? A Semantic Proposal for Proximate Future Constructions”

Rodica Ivan and Ion Giurgea “Two Types of Anaphoric Relations in Pronouns Consequences for their Syntactic Analysis”

Jon Ander Mendia “Between Aspect and Modality: The ‘Soler+Infinitive’ Periphrasis in Spanish”

Zahra Mirrazi, “Choice Functions and Binder Roof Constraint”

Zahra Mirrazi and Michela Ippolito, “Modal Past as Past: Evidence from non-SOT Languages”

Marcin Morzycki and Starr Sandoval “Propositional How and Implicit Modality”

Deniz Ozyildiz, Maribel Romero, Ciyang Qing, Floris Roelofsen, Wataru Uegaki, “Immobile Remnants of Japanese Why-Stripping”

Paul Portner and Xiang Li, “Overt Deixis and Null Anaphor in Uyghur Attitude Reports”

Brandon Prickett, “Explaining Sour Grapes Harmony’s Unattestedness with Agent-Based Modeling”

Jelly Hill Presents Talk at ILLC Workshop on Causation & Modality

PhD Student Jelly Hill recently presented an invited talk at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation, as part of their Workshop on Causation and Modality in Logic and Language. Titled “Two Peas in a Causal Pod: Testing the Relationship Between Modals and Causatives”, this talk highlighted the research that forms Jelly’s recent (second) Generals Paper.

Congratulations Jelly!

Polina Kasyanova Awarded Predissertation Research Grant

Please join us in congratulating Polina Kasyanova, who has just been awarded a Predissertation Research Grant from the UMass Graduate School.

This funding will support Polina’s continued research on incorporation in Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages such as Chukchi and Itelmen. In particular, it will fund an extended research visit to Harvard University, where Polina will be able to collaborate with scholars like Jonathan Bobaljik and his students, as well as conduct research on written sources available at Widener Library.

Congratulations, Polina!

UMass at WSCLA 2023 (McGill)

WSCLA 2023 at McGill University

UMass was well represented at this year’s Workshop on Structure and Constituency in Languages of the Americas (WSCLA 2023), held April 28-30 at McGill University.

Work by current and former UMass folks included:

  • Seth Cable and James Crippen, “Stative Marking in Tlingit: Evidence for the Complexity of States”
  • Amy Rose Deal and Justin Royer, “Mayan Animacy Restrictions and Dynamic Interaction”
  • Emily Elfner, “Re-Examining Default-to-Opposite Stress in Kwak’wala”
  • Suzi Lima & Pedro Mateo Pedro, “Itzaj is a Classifier-for-Numerals Language”
  • Andrew McKenzie, “Polysynthesis and the Division of Labor in Grammar”
  • Rose Underhill, Anne Bertrand, and Terrance Gatchalian, “A Typology of Roots in Ktunaxa”

Kimberly Johnson Accepts Full Time Position at Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program

Please join us in congratulating alum Kimberly Johnson, who has just accepted a full time position as the Lead Transcriptionist for the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program.

Starting this May, Kimberly will be working alongside Dr. Samantha Cornelius and Dr. Juliet Morgan, to advance the documentation of the Chickasaw language, including the development of a searchable database of Chickasaw.

Congratulations, Kimberly!

Shay Hucklebridge Awarded SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

We’re extremely happy to share the news that Shay Hucklebridge has been awarded a prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

As a postdoctoral fellow, Shay will be joining the linguistics department at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she will be working alongside Professor Nicholas Welch on projects advancing the documentation and revitalization of Northern Dene languages.

Please join us in congratulating Shay!

Mariam Asatryan gives talk at Theoretical Linguistics and Languages of the Caucasus (TLLC), in Istanbul

On June 18th, Mariam Asatryan presented her research in a talk at Theoretical Linguistics and Languages of the Caucasus (TLLC), held at Istanbul Bilgi University.

The talk, titled “Inq: An Uncompetitive Pronoun in Eastern Armenian and Its Challenges to Binding Principles”, is a development of her first Generals Paper. She will also present this work again later this summer, as a flash talk at GLOW in Asia XIII (details to be announced later).

Kimberly Johnson in Natural Language Semantics

A paper by our own Kimberly Johnson appears in the newest issue of Natural Language Semantics. Based upon her recent doctoral dissertation, “Time and Evidence in the Graded Tense System of Mvskoke (Creek)“, provides a detailed description and analysis of the evidential meaning of tense & aspect morphology in the Mvskoke language. The abstract is copied below.

Congratulations, Kimberly!

Abstract: “In recent years, much attention has been given to the puzzling relationship between tense and evidence type found in languages where a single morpheme appears to encode both reference to time and to the evidential source for the assertion. In natural language, tense has long been understood as serving to locate the time at which the proposition expressed by the sentence holds. The two main theories of evidentials both agree that these morphemes serve to identify the type of evidence the speaker has for their assertion. In languages with evidential-tense morphology, these two categories of meaning are intertwined in ways that are unexpected given our understanding of both phenomena. Specifically, these evidential-tense morphemes appear to encode reference to a time that is linked to the situation in which the speaker gains evidence for their assertion. Two competing approaches have emerged in the literature as to whether these evidential-tense morphemes make crucial reference to the time evidence was acquired (Lee 2013; Smirnova 2013) or to the time and place of the speaker with respect to the event (Faller 2004; Chung 2007). This paper examines the temporal and evidential properties of the Mvskoke (or Creek) graded past tense system and finds novel support for the view in which evidential-tenses encode Evidence Acquisition Time (EAT). Mvskoke is shown to have three evidential-tenses which form part of its graded tense system, comprising recent, middle, and distant past. The main proposal is a formalization of EAT as a moment of belief-state change, i.e., the moment the speaker comes to believe the proposition. It is shown that Mvskoke’s evidential-tenses are compatible with a range of evidence types, and this distribution is explained through interactions with viewpoint aspect.”

Linguistics Student Yoojee Kim Presents at Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference

Linguistics Undergraduate, Yoojee Kim will give a virtual presentation at the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference on April 22nd from 11:30-12:15. Her presentation entitled “Why you can’t say ‘former father’: a  comparison of nominal tense in Muskogee and Guarani” reports on a research project coming out of her REU on Kimberly Johnson and Seth Cable’s NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (BCS 2024065).

Paper by Kimberly Johnson Published in Natural Language Semantics

Kimberly Johnson’s paper “Time and evidence in the graded tense system of Mvskoke (Creek)”  has just been published in Natural Language Semantics. Based upon portions of her recently defended dissertation, this paper explores the direct and indirect evidence inferences associated with four past tenses in Mvskoke (Creek), an indigenous language spoken in Oklahoma. Access the full text of her article here: