The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

New Visiting Scholars and Visiting Students for Fall 2017

Visiting Faculty

  •  Naomi Feldman (University of Maryland): “I’m visiting this year from the University of Maryland.  My research is in computational psycholinguistics.  This means I use computational models to try and understand how people learn and process language, drawing on methods and insights from a number of fields: linguistics, cognitive science, computer science, engineering.  Most of my research looks at how people’s processing of speech becomes specialized for their native language, but in recent collaborations with students, I’ve also looked at questions in morphology and syntax acquisition.”
Visiting Scholars
  • Michiko Bando (Shiga University): “My research interests are morphology and syntax of Japanese complex predicates, and recently I am also interested in syntax of Japanese and English relative clauses.”
  • Yunjing Li (Tianjin Foreign Studies University): “I’m an associate professor from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China. I got my Ph.D degree in linguistics from Nankai University.  My research interests lie primarily in doing phonological and/or phonetic studies on Chinese dialects. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss with me linguistic things or anything else.”
  • Senem Şahin  (Universität Augsburg)
  • Ryosuke Shibagaki (Nanzan University). His research interests include Lexical Semantics and Syntax
  • Jaehyun Son (Duksung Women’s University): “I am interested in the accent types and their correspondences in Korean and Japanese. For now, I am focusing on Korean accentual dialects through field work. Research on the Korean accent has been carried out within the Korean linguistics community, but in that context, the Korean accent system has traditionally been compared to the tone system of Chinese, in which pitch contours are syllabic. In contrast, Japanese researchers have proposed that the Korean accent system should be analyzed from the point of view of word-level and phrase-level accentual systems seen in Japanese dialects. One possible reason for this difference of opinion is that recently in Japan, despite the growing influence of the accentual systems of Tokyo Japanese and the dialects of other major cities, a great variety of smaller dialects have been observed and documented, and as a result of this work researchers have discovered accent types that have played a crucial role in uncovering the history and evolution of the Japanese accentual system. In Korea, on the other hand, accent has been lost in the regions surrounding and including Seoul (the national capital) but there are still dialects, mainly in the south-eastern regions of the Korean peninsula, that retain an accentual system and can shed light on the history of accent in Korea. For the present study, I took the Japanese-oriented view rather than the traditional Chinese oriented view and analyzed the accentual systems of Korean dialects using data from a purely synchronic field survey of several locations across the Korean-speaking region. The field survey includes dialects that have already been documented by Korean and Japanese researchers, but by including the whole Korean-speaking region in its scope and using a new theoretical framework, the current study was able to highlight the shortcomings of previous work.”
  • Sze Wing Tang (The Chinese University of Hong Kong). His research interests lie primarily in Chinese syntax, theoretical approaches to the study of Chinese dialects, and comparative grammar. Topics he is currently working on include the syntax of the sentence-final expressions and the micro-parametric variation of functional categories under a cartographic approach.
  • Koichi Tateishi (Kobe College): “I am a phonologist with a strong interest in syntax. Currently, I am doing a joint work on how Japanese learners of English as a foreign language perceive prosody, how it is different from native speakers of English, and whether the learners’ levels of English matter. Also, I have been working on the relation between lexical classes and phonological phenomena related to syllables and other prosodic structures. My past work includes those on the syntax of multiple nominative constructions in Japanese and on pitch contours of Japanese speakers in relation to syntactic constructions.”
Postdoctoral Associates
  • Tiaoyuan Mao (Beijing Foreign Studies University). His research interests include syntax, semantics-pragmatics interface,and language acquisition.
  • Sarah Zobel  (University of Tübingen): “My main research interests lie in formal semantics and pragmatics (and everything in between). The two main lines of research I am currently pursuing are the description and analysis of the interpretational possibilities of German `als’-phrases and English `as’-phrases, as well as the semantics and pragmatics of German discourse particles (contrasting Federal German and Austrian German varieties). I have also worked on pronouns and modality/genericity. In addition to my theoretical work, I am interested in corpus linguistic and experimental methods, which I both apply in my research (as far as my skills permit).”
Visiting Students
  • Moshe E.Bar Lev (Hebrew University of Jerusalem):“My main research interests are Semantics and Pragmatics and their interface. I currently work on Free Choice and Homogeneity phenomena, and I’m also interested in Tense semantics cross-linguistically.”
  • Kasia Hitczenko (University of Maryland):
    I’m a 4th year grad student at the University of Maryland, advised by Naomi Feldman, and will be spending the full academic year at MIT. My research is in computational psycholinguistics, with a focus on modeling how infants learn the sound system of their language. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!
    Alexander Wimmer (Universität Tübingen): “I am a second-year PhD student at the University of Tübingen, Germany, where I am a member of „ObTrEx“, a project that investigates obligatory presupposition triggers from an experimental or crosslinguistic perspective. My research interests lie in crosslinguistic semantics, especially in quantification over alternatives and Chinese language. Besides linguistics, I enjoy walking and all kinds of movies.”