Issue of Monday, May 30th, 2011
This is the last issue of this academic year. Whamit! will resume publication on Tuesday, Sept 6.
Have a nice summer!
To celebrate Irene’s outstanding achievements as Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy for the past three years (which followed three great years as Section Head of Linguistics), the department threw a spectacular gala party last Monday.
Irene’s work as section head was lauded by Dean Deborah Fitzgerald, incoming department head Richard Holton, incoming linguistics section head David Pesetsky and the department Administrative Officer Mary Grenham — as well as by several tons of great food and a big cake.
The party had a “gardening theme” (there were smoked salmon treats in edible spades) and Irene received several presents from a grateful department, including the traditional Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets, without which no term as department head could be complete. (Spies told us that this is what Irene most wanted!)
But the most memorable laudatio, and the culmination of the grand event, was provided by a band of linguistically minded ukulele players who wandered in off the street and decided to play for us on the spur of the moment:
L to R: Iain Giblin, Sam Steddy, Coppe van Urk, mitcho Erlewine, Edwin Howard
photo credits: mitcho Erlewine & Hrayr Khanjian
- Graduate student Patrick Jones gave a talk entitled “Tonal Opacity and Paradigm Structure in the Kinande Verb System” at the 19th Manchester Phonology Meeting, held May 19-21 at the University of Manchester.
- Faculty member Martin Hackl was at the University of Vienna as an invited speaker for the Identity in Grammar workshop at GLOW 34, the annual meeting of the organization Generative Linguistics in the Old World.
- At the end of last week, Jonah Katz (PhD 2010) and David Pesetsky presented some of their joint work on the syntax of music at a two-day conference on Music and Language in the Brain at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
- This summer, 4th-year student Claire Halpert will be teaching a course on syntactic field methods at the second African Linguistics School, to be held in Porto Novo, Benin, July 17-31, before heading to South Africa to continue her research on Zulu. In addition, Claire and 5th year student Patrick Jones will both be presenting talks at the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 42) at the University of Maryland. Patrick will be speaking about “Tonal Opacity and Paradigm Structure in the Kinande Verb System”, and Claire’s talk will concern Low Subjects in Zulu and the Prosody-Syntax Interface.
Linguistics majors and double-majors Alyssa Kersting, Anna Goldie and Rafael Raya will all be receiving their S.B next week. Congratulations to all!!
Jessica Coon (PhD 2010), who we earlier announced has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at McGill University, has also been awarded a Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship, which will allow her to begin her career at McGill with two years devoted mainly to research. Described informally by a colleague as “the Nobel prize of post-docs”, the goal of the Banting fellowship program is “to attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talent, both nationally and internationally, to develop their leadership potential and to position them for success as research leaders of tomorrow”. As a Banting Fellow, Jessica will be collaborating with McGill’s Lisa Travis (MIT PhD 1984) on an investigation of an array of surprising syntactic parallels between Mayan and Austronesian languages. Congratulations Jessica!
The department was proud to host the 20th meeting of Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics (FASL). The conference, which ran from May 13-15, was a resounding success, drawing linguists from 13 countries and 3 continents to MIT. The presentations included invited talks by four of MIT’s own: professors Donca Steriade and Morris Halle (who was introduced by Noam Chomsky), visiting professor Sergei Tatevosov from Moscow State University, and recent alum Ivona Ku?erová (now at McMaster University in London, Ontario). Thanks to all presenters, attendees, and organizers for making FASL 20 such a success!