The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Summer student news round-up

mitcho (Michael Erlewine) stayed mostly in Boston this summer, presenting “The Constituency of Hyperlinks in a Hypertext Corpus” at the International Society for the Linguistics of English at BU and “Focus Interpretation and Covert Movement: the Dake Blocking Effect” at the GLOW in Asia Workshop for Young Scholars in Japan.

Claire Halpert was awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant for her project on Zulu syntax, Agreement and Argument Structure, which supported seven weeks of fieldwork in South Africa this summer. Claire has been living in Umlazi, a Zulu-speaking township in Durban, and commuting several days a week to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she is a visiting scholar. She has been working closely with students and faculty in the department, and has given two talks on her research during her stay. In July, Claire taught Syntactic Field Methods at the African Linguistics School (ALS 2011) in Porto Novo, Benin. This second meeting of the ALS brought together students from all over Africa to study linguistic theory, with a focus on African languages. Her class focused on the syntax of Tofingbe, an undescribed and threatened member of the Gbe cluster spoken in the Porto Novo region. Efforts are currently underway by Claire and members of the class to continue research on the language!

One of our undergraduate majors, John Berman, reports:

I spent most of June near Palenque, Mexico, where I stayed with a Ch’ol family and did research on the Ch’ol language. Ch’ol is a native American language of the Mayan family spoken by about 150,000 in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco. I will present some of my findings this October at UT Austin’s Center for the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA) conference.