The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MIT goes to NELS

Last Friday through Sunday, a goodly group of MIT linguists traveled to Toronto for NELS 42, hosted by the University of Toronto. All told, six talks were presented by our graduate students, in addition to David Pesetsky’s invited talk (one of four reflecting the conference theme “Diversity and universals: The role of typology and linguistic universals in linguistic theory”). The other invited speakers were Mark Baker, Lisa Matthewson, and Martina Wiltschko.

On Friday. Bronwyn Bjorkman and Claire Halpert presented their paper “In search of (im)perfection: the illusion of counterfactual aspect”, Rafael Nonato argued that “Clause-chaining is coordination” (on the basis of striking similarities between Kisêdjê and English), and David Pesetsky presented an invited talk on why we should view “Dependent Case as Binding Theory”. On Saturday, Suyeon Yun gave her talk on “Opacity and serial phonology-morphology interaction in Kyungsang Korean”. On Sunday, Yusuke Imanishi told the audience “How to merge possessor WH in Kaqchikel (Mayan): A non-uniform merge of argument WH”, Claire Halpert spoke on “Structural case and the nature of vP in Zulu”, and Jeremy Hartman presented his paper “Parallel movement and (non-)intervention by experiencers”. We’re biased, but we think their talks were fantastic. There were interesting, tough questions after the talks, and lively discussion.

As always at NELS, other great talks were presented by recent graduates, distinguished alums and fondly-remembered vistors. We’re sure we’re going to end up forgetting some (sorry!), but in the recent and slightly less recent alum category, we want to note the excellent talks by Gillian Gallagher, Heejeong Ko and her student Chorong Kang, Susi Wurmbrand, Julie Legate and Course 6 alum (but who’s counting) Charles Yang. The fondly remembered visitor category includes the talks by Sarah Ouwayda (whose talk was partly developed during her stay here last Spring), Gary Thoms, Ileana Paul and Lisa Matthewson. And there were plenty of really interesting talks by linguists from everywhere else too!

At NELS, we also got to say hello to Jessica Coon, who came over from McGill for the event, Tim Stowell and Carson Schutze from UCLA, who came to support their department’s own healthy contingent of NELS presenters, and several ex-MITers at the University of Toronto, including Diane Massam, Cristina Cuervo, Michela Ippolito and Yoonjung Kang. It was a great conference, and a nice reunion as well.