The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, March 23rd, 2020

Wayne O’Neil

The Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT is very sad to share the news that our esteemed and beloved colleague of many decades, Professor Wayne O’Neil, has died. He was chair of the MIT Linguistics program for eleven years (1986-1997) and head of the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy from 1989 to 1997. He guided the department with wisdom, compassion, and skill, longer than any other head. His contributions to the field are marked by the same qualities that he brought to the headship.

Alongside his rich and fruitful scholarly life, he and his partner, Professor Maya Honda, worked selflessly to bring linguistics to the wider world, including unstinting work with Native Americans and with students in junior high and high school classrooms. Wherever this duo went, they were met with friendship and gratitude. In his long and fruitful career, Professor O’Neil and his partner and colleague have left behind a host of grateful students and teachers.

Wayne’s website: http://linguistics.mit.edu/user/waoneil

A 2011 news article about Wayne and Maya’s work on education and linguistics: http://news.mit.edu/2011/esl-linguistics-0505


Virtual CUNY sentence processing conference at UMass was hosted on 3/19 - 3/21, in the form of a Zoom webinar: https://blogs.umass.edu/cuny2020/ 
Sherry Yong Chen (3rd year), Filipe Hisao Kobayashi (3rd year), Loes Koring (Postdoctoral Associate 2016; now at Macquarie University), Cory Bill (Universität Konstanz), Leo Rosenstein (MIT) and Martin Hackl (MIT) presented a poster Comprehension of conjunction by English-speaking adults and childrenhttps://osf.io/dwktq/
Sherry Yong Chen (3rd year) and E. Matthew Husband (Language and Brain Lab, University of Oxford) presented a poster Illusory licensing from inaccessible antecedents in presuppositional dependencyhttps://osf.io/fmxe4/
Sherry Yong Chen (3rd year) and Bob van Tiel (ZAS) presented a poster “Every horse didn’t jump over the fence”: Scope ambiguity via pragmatic reasoninghttps://osf.io/4pwcu/

Banerjee @ (F)ASAL10

(Formal) Approaches to South Asian Languages ((F)ASAL10) at OSU was hosted virtually on 3/21 - 3/22.

Neil Banerjee (4th year) and Gurmeet Kaur (Goettingen) spoke on Deferred imperatives across Indo-Aryan.

Book by Sam Al Khatib published!

In the midst of everything, positive linguistics news continues to exist. We have learned that our recent alum Sam Al Khatib (PhD 2013) has published a book entitled Focus, Evaluativity, and Antonymy: A Study in the Semantics of Only and its Interaction with Gradable Antonyms — in the series Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy from Springer. Sam is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Congratulations, Sam!!