The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Summer News

We have some summer news to share with you:

The summer school was attended by many MIT students as well: Rafael Abramovitz (4th year), Daniel Asherov (2nd year), Tanya Bondarenko (2nd year), Colin Davis (4th year), Ömer Demirok (5th year), Verena Hehl (4th year), Maša Močnik (4th year), Elise Newman (3rd year), Frank Staniszewski (3rd year) and Stan Zompi (2nd year). Rafael, Daniel, Tanya and Ömer also served as course TAs. Check out nice photos from the event, such as this one below, on the summer school’s Facebook page.


  • Justin Colley (4th year), Verena Hehl, Anton Kukhto (1st year) and Mitya Privoznov (4th year) went into the heart of Siberia for a fieldwork expedition in the village of Kazym, Central Khanty. Mitya reports: “We had a lot of fun, suffered from mosquitoes and hopefully gathered some useful data as well :).”

  • In August, Tanya Bondarenko and Colin Davis participated in a joint fieldtrip with a group of researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University to study Barguzin Buryat in Baraghan village, the Republic of Buryatia, Russia.


  • Education:
    • Neil Banerjee, Cora Lesure (3rd year) and Dóra Takács (2nd year) taught a 7-week introductory linguistics course for middle and high school students as part of HSSP, from June till August. Their course, entitled `How language works’, covered topics ranged from sound production and the IPA over cross-linguistic variation and case to NPIs and implicatures. Dóra writes: “About 35 students participated in the class, which was hopefully a lot of fun and definitely an interesting and valuable experience for everyone.”
    • Naomi Francis (5th year), Verena Hehl and Maša Močnik graduated from the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program (KTCP) in June. The participants report: “Graduates of the KTCP attend 8 sessions on a wide range of topics in teaching and learning and are exposed to current research on pedagogical methodology through assigned readings and in-class discussions. We also had the opportunity to create and receive feedback on teaching philosophy statements for academic job applications.”
    • In May, Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), an MIT initiative to support global education, announced a grant funding to MITILI  student Newell Lewey and to prof. Norvin Richards for the project Skicinuwi-npisun: A Community-Centered Project for Documentation and Teaching of the Passamaquoddy Language. The project supports language teaching and curriculum development to help preserve the severely endangered Passamaquoddy language of Northern Maine. The grant includes funding for Newell’s language classes, and for a group of graduate students from the department to travel with Norvin to Passamaquoddy country to work with elders. Here you can read a little more about the project. Congratulations Newell and Norvin!
  • Alumni news:
    • Our distinguished alum Heidi Harley (PhD 1995), now at  the University of Arizona, has been elected a 2019 Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America! Heidi’s colleagues as LSA Fellows include 38 other MIT alums and members of our faculty who have been elected in previous years — more than a quarter of the (now) 138 Fellows of the Society. Congratulations Heidi (and our warmest congratulations to the other newly elected Fellows as well)!
    • Another one of our distinguished alums, John McCarthy (PhD 1979) – a pioneer in the development of phonological theory for over four decades – has been named Provost and more at UMass Amherst, where he has taught since 1985. Very exciting news — congratulations John!