The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Summer news

We have a few items of summer news from faculty and students:

  • Faculty Kai von Fintel and Sabine Iatridou and alumni Karlos Arregi (PhD 2002) and Jonathan Bobaljik (PhD 1995) were elected 2016 Fellows of the Linguistic Society of America. This is our field’s highest honor, awarded each year to a small number of linguists for “distinguished contributions to the discipline”. This is truly fantastic news. Kai and Sabine join their faculty colleagues Noam Chomsky, Morris Halle, Irene Heim, David Pesetsky, and Donca Steriade, who have been honored as Fellows in previous years, as well as more than twenty alumni of the department. About a third of all LSA Fellows are MIT alumni or faculty. A full list of Fellows from MIT can be found here, and the full list of LSA Fellows can be found here.
  • Shigeru Miyagawa, Chris O’Brien, David Pesetsky, Juliet Stanton, and Donca Steriade taught three-day courses at the University of Brasilia in August that were attended by students and faculty from Brazil and Argentina. Donca, David, and Shigeru also gave presentations at the Congresso Internacional de Estudos Linguísticos III held at the U of Brasilia. One of the main organizers of the Brasilia events, Professor Eloisa Pilati, will be a visitor at MIT during this fall semester. Shortly after leaving Brasília, Shigeru gave a course at the University of São Paulo, and Juliet and Chris gave presentations at the University of Buenos Aires.
  • David Pesetsky and Michel DeGraff taught at the 2016 Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, hosted by the University of Chicago. David taught two classes: a two-week seminar on Slavic Syntax and Semantics, co-taught with Sergei Tatevosov (a visiting faculty member in 2011-2012), and the introductory syntax class. Michel taught “Topics in Creole Studies: from Historical Linguistics to Computational Phylogenetics”. One of the two organizers of the LSA Institute this year was our own alum Karlos Arregi.
  • Juliet Stanton taught a short class on phonetics and phonology for high school students though HSSP, a program that allows students in grades 7-12 from all over New England to take classes at MIT. 24 students were registered for the class, including several who had taken the Introduction to Linguistics course taught in previous HSSP sessions.
  • Samuel Jay Keyser reports something that did not happen this summer, but is related to the question “What did you do this summer?”:

    Alistair Campbell was the author of Old English Grammar, one of the best philological (phonological) grammars of old English ever written. He was one of my tutors at Oxford when I was there in 1956-58. When he was a student, he was asked precisely the same question that you ask in your email, only the interrogator was the warden of his college. (I think it was Pembroke but I’m not sure.) It was an annual ritual called “the shaking of hands.”

    The conversation as reported on the Oxfordian grapevine, my vintage, went like this:

    Warden: Now tell me, Mr. Campbell. How did you spend your summer?

    Campbell: Sir, I spent the summer on the beach at Brighton pondering the Anglo-Saxon corpus.