The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, June 4th, 2018

Who’s gonna be in charge? Here’s who!

By tradition, the headship of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy rotates between the Linguistics and Philosophy sections.  From July 1, the department head will be our Philosophy colleague Alex Byrne, who has served as section head of Philosophy for the past five years.  He succeeds linguist David Pesetsky, who is concluding his five-year term as department head.  The new section head for Linguistics will be Kai von Fintel — but Adam Albright will serve as interim section Head during Kai’s well-earned sabbatical this Fall.  Thank you all!


The annual Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) conference took place last weekend (5/18-20) at MIT.  A number of current and recent members of our department, in addition to quite a few less-recent ones, gave talks and presented posters. Those include:

Current members - 

  • Sophie Moracchini (5th-year): “Evaluativity and structural competition”
  • Naomi Francis (4th-year): “presupposition-denying uses of even
  • Keny Chatain (2nd-year): “Gaps in the interpretation of pronouns”
  • Moshe E. Bar-Lev (visiting student): “An implicature account of homogeneity and non-maximality”

Recent alumni - 

  • Aron Hirsch (2017) and Luis Alonso-Ovalle: “keep only strong”
  • Paul Marty (2017): “Towards an Implicature-Based Account of Disjoint Reference”
  • Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (2014) and Keely New: “The expression of exhaustivity and scalarity in Burmese”
  • Wataru Uegaki (2015): “The problem of presupposition projection in question-embedding”
  • Wataru Uegaki and Floris Roelofsen: “Do modals take propositions or questions? Evidence from Japanese”

The conference was a great success, not only because of the high quality of presented work, but also due to the wonderful organizing team headed by Kai von Fintel.  Thank you Kai and everyone else!