Department of Linguistics Newletter
Volume 4 (2004)


The Inaugural Meeting of UCLA Friends of Linguistics

Spring 2004 witnessed the first meeting of UCLA Friends of Linguistics, a support group of department alumni and other friends.  The group chose to have its inaugural presentation coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Rex Harrison/Audrey Hepburn film "My Fair Lady":  a lively and charming set of reminiscences by the technical advisor to that classic film, our own Prof. Peter Ladefoged. The evening was illuminated with clips from the original film, enlivened by Ladefoged's anecdotes (Audrey Hepburn liked to prepare homemade chocolate chip cookies for the cast and crew), and capped by an authentic English tea, with scones and sherry and fresh strawberries and clotted cream. Many years ago, it was the promise of strawberries in the wintertime that finally persuaded Jenny Ladefoged to leave her native London for California.

Ladefoged designed Henry Higgins' laboratory for the film on the basis of his own research and of the recollections of his thesis adviser, David Abercrombie. The latter, in turn, had studied under the renowned phonetician (and friend of George Bernard Shaw), Daniel Jones, who, in his youth, had worked with Henry Sweet. Sweet, a cantankerous sort, was long presumed to be the alter ego of the fictional Higgins. But recent research has determined that the fictional professor's name was lifted from a London shop sign, "Higgins & Jones", and in fact honors Shaw's friend, the kindly Daniel Jones.

Incidentally, the phonetic scribblings that can been glimpsed in Henry Higgins's notebooks spell out a greeting to Abercrombie, Ladefoged's mentor back in Edinburgh. And Ladefoged himself intoned the droning sequences of vowels that drove poor Eliza nearly to distraction. (He has made phonetics far more interesting to all subsequent students.)

To illustrate how far we have evolved from the crude kymograph and "sensitive flame" of the Higgins lab, the UCLA Phonetics Laboratory staged an open house after the lecture. Guests were invited to sing into pitch trackers, try out their Cockney for the sound spectrograph, measure the phonatory oral flow of "Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire", and document their own articulation of "the rain in Spain" with static palatography. An overflow crowd circulated for hours, having a wonderful time.

The UCLA Friends of Linguistics group has ambitious plans for next year's presentations, which include "Linguistics in the Courtroom" and reminiscences by some of the professional translators in our midst (whose careers were slightly less perilous than the screen adventures of "Translators" Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman).

If you would like to become a Friend of Linguistics, or know someone who would, please contact Kathryn Roberts in the Department office (310-825-0634 or linguist@humnet.ucla.edu). Your friends and classmates look forward to seeing you at future events!

Peter Ladefoged explaining a phonetic point to Rex Harrison , Wilfred Hyde-White, and director George Cukor.


UCLA Linguistics to Host Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association Conference

Our department will be hosting the 12th Annual Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Society (AFLA XII) during the last week of April, 2005. AFLA invites paper submissions for any Austronesian language--spoken from Madagascar through the Indian and Pacific oceans to Easter Island. AFLA caters to work in all formal areas of linguistics-- phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. This year we are applying for special funding from the National Science Foundation for a special session on language acquisition. We are hoping that NSF funding will allow us to invite native speaker linguists from a diversity of Austronesian speaking areas.

AFLA has now become a fully international conference. This past year AFLA XI was held in Berlin. AFLA XIII will be held in Taipei, AFLA XIV in Montreal.

The Web site for the UCLA AFLA conference is at www.linguistics.ucla.edu/afla12


UCLA Linguistics to Host the Fourteenth Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT)

The 14th SALT conference will be hosted at UCLA during the 2004-2005 academic year; details forthcoming.


Ladefoged/Blankenship win grant for creation of phonetic data archive

Prof. Peter Ladefoged and Dr. Barbara Blankenship have received a grant for $159,610 from the National Science Foundation to prepare a digital archive of the vast collection of phonetic field data gathered by Ladefoged and his UCLA Linguistics colleagues over the past five decades. The project is being carried out in collaboration with UCLA undergraduates Nicole Gfroerer and Patrick Jones and recent graduate Mayu Koneko.  The official abstract for the NSF reads as follows:

"The archive room in the UCLA Phonetics Lab contains recordings and supporting materials of languages from all over the world made over the last 50 years by Peter Ladefoged, his colleagues, and their students. Recordings of 96 languages have been used in recent research and it is estimated that there are 260 - 300 languages in the collection altogether. The collection includes around 20 languages that are endangered or now extinct, mainly investigated during the course of an NSF sponsored project on Recording the phonetic structures of endangered languages (1991-1999). Most of these recordings have 3-12 speakers, with an average of 6 for each language, all of them having extensive word lists and shorter pieces of connected speech designed to give a complete demonstration of the sounds of the language. The majority of the other languages are represented by recordings of focused word lists by one or two speakers. Many of these languages are little known and not easily accessible. The data will be organized into an archive and made available for downloading by qualified scholars through a database on the servers of the UCLA Center for the Digital Humanities."


New Grant to Tom Hinnebusch for Twi Web Site

Prof. Tom Hinnebusch reports:  "I got a small grant ($19,000) from the UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching housed at UC Davis to develop a Twi web site to introduce the basics of the language in an interactive way to EAP students headed for Ghana.  Grad student Greg Kobele will be doing most of the work on this with assistance from a native speaker who served as our Twi tutor this year: Mr. Selassie Ahorlu. This is a system wide project and UC Berkeley African Studies Center Dr. Sam Mchombo and Miss Amma Oduro are assisting. When complete the learning material will be available on the department's African Language site.


North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information

From 21 - 25 June, 2004, the UCLA department was host to the Third North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information.    Courses were taught by a variety of distinguished logicians and semanticists, and there were also evening lectures and a session of student talks.

This school was modelled after a similar school in Europe and gathers people interested in interdsciplinary research in the area of language, logic, computation and philosophy. During one week in June a total of 12 courses in all of these areas were taught, from theoretical to applied. The program committee consisted of Dominique Sportiche as chair, Mai Gehrke, John Horty, Phokion Kolaitis, Marcus Kracht, Phlippe Schlenker, and Ed Stabler. A lot of our own students participated in the preparations. Being much smaller in size than its European brother, the NASSLLI provides an ideal formum for exchanging ideas and for students to learn and make contacts.


Pat Keating Named Fellow

Professor Patricia Keating has been elected a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, "For contributions to the integration of the phonetic and linguistic aspects of speech production". The Acoustical Society consists of many subgroups concerned with different aspects of acoustics, such as Underwater Acoustics, Architectural Acoustics, Musical Acoustics, and Animal Bioacoustics. The Speech Communication subgroup, the Society's largest, is a professional home for speech scientists from fields including linguistics, psychology, engineering, and communications disorders. Pat will receive a Fellow's certificate at the next meeting of the Society, in November 2004.


Ladefoged and Keating at "From Sound To Sense"

Peter Ladefoged and Pat Keating were invited speakers at the recent conference "From Sound to Sense: 50+ Years of Discoveries in Speech Communication". The conference was held at MIT in June 2004 to honor the career of Ken Stevens of MIT's Research Lab of Electronics. Peter has known Ken for many of those 50+ years, and Pat was a postdoctoral fellow under his supervision before she came to UCLA.

The conference program was organized into six areas, each of which was introduced by a historical review of the past 50 years, followed by two presentations on current research. For the first area on the program, Phonetics and Phonology, Peter gave the historical review and Pat gave one of the two current research presentations. Since the presenters of current research were specifically asked to present research from their own labs, Pat's presentation was an opportunity to highlight a variety of recent projects in our Phonetics Lab for a large and varied audience.


News from Jason Kandybowicz

Jason has won a Lenart travel fellowship which will fund his three month fieldwork expedition to study Nupe in central Nigeria this summer. From June to July, he worked with Neil Smith and Annabel Cormack on Nupe at University College London, where he was awarded the position Honary Research Assistant.

Jason gave a talk in April at the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics at Harvard and will be giving a talk in Nigeria in early August at the 2004 West African Languages Congress.


Research on Malagasy language acquisition with Cecile Manorohanta

In February Prof. Cecile Manorohanta of the Universite Nord in Madagascar visited our department for a month to pursue her research on language acquisition by Malagasy children. (Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar). She brought with her recordings and transcripts of sessions with three different children over an eight month period. A team consisting of Prof. Manorohanta, Profs. Ed Keenan and Nina Hyams, and two graduate students, Dimitris Ntelitheos and Eleni Christodoulou was set up to code the child data into a format for retrieval of information pertinent to questions currently being asked about child language acquisition in general. This work has so far resulted in three research papers, two presented at international conferences. The Malagasy data are especially valuable since Malagasy differs in several crucial ways from the European languages on which most studies of language acquisition have been based. In particular Malagasy does not make a distinction between finite and non-finite verb forms (Mary is eating versus Mary wants to eat). Further Malagasy, like Philippine languages, has a very rich voice system (many different kinds of "passive" verbs) and these forms are learned much earlier than passives in English.

Prof. Manorohanta will continue to pursue this work with us, as she has just passed her habilitation in Madagascar, which allows her to be a Director of Research there. It is likely that our team will apply for an NSF grant to pursue the acquisition work with older children, as our first study just covered very young children (aged 18 to 32 months). We note that interest on the part of our graduate students was significantly stimulated by the field methods course on Malagasy given this past year by Profs. Hilda Koopman and Kie Zuraw.


Research Group on Linguistic Invariants

Following the North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information sponsored by our department, Profs. Ed Keenan and Ed Stabler ran a research group on Linguistic Invariants, based on their recent book Bare Grammar: A Study in Linguistic Invariants (CSLI, Stanford. 2003). Three graduate students from our department (Greg Kobele, Ben Keil, and Jeff Heinz) participated as well as two from abroad: Matthieu Guillaumin from Paris and Thomas Holder from Berlin. The group met twice weekly from the end of June to early August.


Fieldwork in Potiskum, Nigeria by Russ Schuh

Prof. Russell Schuh will be in Potiskum, Nigeria from July 17 through September 2 on the third and final trip to Nigeria as part of a three-year National Science Foundation funded grant, "The Chadic Languages of Yobe State, Nigeria" (award #BCS-0111289, Russell G. Schuh, PI). Russ is working on five languages--Bade, Bole, Karekare, Ngamo, Ngizim--all of which are Chadic languages of the West Chadic branch and all of which are indigenous to Yobe State in northeastern Nigeria, and indeed, are the only living languages spoken in that state that are also indigenous to it. The main goal of the work supported by the grant is lexical, morphological, and phonological documentation.

There are fourteen native speakers of the languages participating, with a minimum of two speakers for each language, but with three or four for some. The speakers all have at least some university education and are co-participants in the sense that they are the ones collecting data by recording and transcribing narratives, collecting specialized vocabulary from knowledgeable speakers of their languages, and providing corrections and emendations to documents coming out of the project. An important component of the project is to publish and distribute works in the languages locally, using local resources, the idea being to provide a model for continuing work on the languages after NSF funding has ended.

In the first year, the project published a book describing traditional marriage and birth customs among each of the language groups. In the second year, the project published folktale collections in each languages, and the primary goal of the third year is to publish first editions of dictionaries (Language --> English and Hausa, English --> Language, Hausa --> Language) in each of the languages, none of which has been seen in print in any signficant way before this project began. You can see websites giving an overview of the project as well as sites on the individual languages at http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/aflang/Yobe/yobe.html.


Jobs:  Recent Department Ph.D.'s

Sahyang Kim, a 2004 Ph.D. from our department, has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship position at Wayne State University.

Jason Riggle, a 2004 Ph.D. from our department, has accepted a teaching appointment for 2004-2005 at the Linguistics Department at the University of Chicago.

Adam Albright, a 2002 Ph.D. from our department, has accepted a tenure-track offer from the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT.

Rebecca Scarborough, a finishing Ph.D. in our department, has accepted a three-year appointment as a Stanford Humanities Fellow in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University.

Katherine Crosswhite, a 1999 Ph.D. from our department, has accepted a tenure-track appointment at Rice University.


Dorit Ben-Shalom

Dorit Ben-Shalom is now tenured in  her department at Ben-Gurion University.  Dorit is a colleague there of our 1997 Ph.D. Jeannette Schaeffer.


Ying Lin Wins Award from Acoustical Society of America

Graduate student Ying Lin has won the award for Best Student Paper in Speech Communication at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in New York (May 2004). His poster presentation was "Unsupervised learning of broad phonetic classes with a statistical mixture model". He'll receive a check and a certificate from the Society, and his name will be published in the Society's newsletter.

This is the first time that anyone from the UCLA Phonetics Lab has won this award, as far as I can remember. And it was his first Acoustical Society meeting. Congratulations, Ying!


Language Preservation and Revitalization:  Work by Pam Munro

Pam Munro served as a mentor at UC Berkeley's Breath of Life workshop in June. This biannual event helps members of California Indian tribes whose languages are no longer spoken ("extinct" is no longer politically correct, and maybe you can see why) help to learn about existing resources on their languages and how to interpret them. Pam served as a mentor to four people representing two languages of Southern California from the Takic branch of Uto-Aztecan, the Tongva (Gabrielino) language, formerly spoken in the Los Angeles basin, and the Ajachmem (Juaneño) language, formerly spoken around San Juan Capistrano. After a week of intense mentoring (breakfast at 8, office hours in the dorm sometimes till 11), Pam was exhausted.

Somewhat recovered, she is now actively contributing to preservation /revitalization programs for a group of Tongvas in Los Angeles and a group of Kawaiisus in Tehachapi (a small community east of Bakersfield).

Kawaiisu is a member of the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan which Pam worked on briefly in the 1970s. There are now fewer than 10 speakers, one of whom teaches a monthly class on the language in Tehachapi to a group of 15-25 ethnic Kawaiisus and interested community members for which Pam has been preparing written materials. This project began in April 2003 and has been funded by several small grants from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.


Alum Dan Kempler Publishes Textbook

Dan Kempler, who got his Ph.D. from UCLA Linguistics in 1984 , is currently Chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at Emerson College.  He recently completed a textbook, Neurocognitive Disorders in Aging (Sage Publications, 2004).  The book's publication blurb provides a useful update on Dan's career:

"Daniel Kempler earned Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Linguistics at UCLA and obtained clinical training and a certificate of clinical competence in Speech-Language Pathology. Since 2002, he has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College in Boston. Prior to this, he held simultaneous positions as Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Gerontology at the University of Southern California and Director of the Speech and Hearing Clinics at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center. He has worked as both a teacher and a clinician. Dr. Kempler's research centers around the theme of understanding the neurological and psychological processes underlying speech and languge abilities by studying communication disorders due to brain injury. In collaboration with colleagues, he has developed several tests used to assess understanding of idioms and proverbs, non-verbal reasoning, and sentence comprehension, as well as a battery to assess dementia in several cultural and language groups. He has written or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. He provides professional and community service in many areas, from initiating and coordinating a support group for Parkinsonians and their families, to serving as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Speech-Language Hearing Research and a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Aphasia."

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New Books by Linguistics Faculty

Bare Grammar

by Edward Keenan and Edward Stabler

# Paperback: 152 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.45 x 8.90 x 6.18
# Publisher: Center for the Study of Language and Information Publications
# ISBN: 1575861887

Without assuming arbitrary restrictions on grammar notation at the outset, 'Bare Grammar' aims to provide the most straightforward definitions of the constructions present in human languages, together with a compositional semantics. A simple generative approach is presented which induces a natural algebraic notion of structure, with the surprising result that not only classical syntactic relations (like c-command) but also certain morphological relations concerning identity of particular morphemes (e.g. case markers) are properly structural. Formal models of case marking, verb voice, anaphora, are considered, and linguistic universals are proposed that do not assume any kind of structural isomorphism between languages. A strong form of compositionality is defended, together with the hypothesis that grammatical morphemes ('syntactic constants') always denote semantic constants, revealing that the relation between form and meaning is not subject to arbitrary dictates of linguistic convention, history, and accidents of human biology.

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Phonetic Data Analysis: an Introduction to Fieldwork and Instrumental Phonetics

by Peter Ladefoged

Basil Blackwell 2003, reprinted 2004.

This book has two main aims. The first is to consider the fieldwork required for making a description of the sounds of a language. The second is to illustrate the basic techniques of experimental phonetics, most of them requiring little more than a tape recorder, a video camera, and a few other items, none of them very expensive, together with a computer and appropriate programs.

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Prosodic Typology: The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing

Edited by Sun-Ah Jun
Forthcoming from Oxford University Press

This book illustrates an approach to prosodic typology through the intonational phonology of thirteen typologically different languages and the transcription system of prosody known as Tones and Break Indices (ToBI). This is the first book introducing the history and principles of this system, and it covers European languages, Asian languages, an Australian aboriginal language, and an American Indian language. It is the first book on intonation that includes sound files on a CD-ROM.

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Phonetically Based Phonology

Edited by Bruce Hayes, Robert Kirchner, and Donca Steriade
Cambridge University Press, 2004

This book is a study of the role of phonetics in phonological theory. It investigates the phonetic bases of phonological markedness in several key areas: place assimilation, vowel harmony, lenition, vowel reduction, segment inventories, metathesis, stress, tone, syllable weight, segment sequencing, and OCP effects.

The analyses offered by contributors illustrate several analytical strategies whereby phonological sound patterns can be related to their phonetic underpinnings. These strategies range from letting an optimality-theoretic constraint component directly reflect phonetic factors (perceptibility and dispersion; minimization of biomechanical effort), to allowing the design of phonological constraints to reflect such factors indirectly; and finally to letting phonetic principles operate as causal factors in sound change only.

The book is intended for linguists interested in the relationship of phonetics and phonological theory. Each chapter includes tutorial discussion of the theoretical principles and research results of phonetics on which the phonological discussion is based.

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The Mathematics of Language

By Marcus Kracht

Studies in Generative Grammar No. 63, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 2003, 589 + xvi pp.

The distinct trait of this book is that it looks at languages as semiotic systems, which always have both an aspect of form and an aspect meaning. Thus one finds not only the standard results of formal language theory (and many more results that have recently been shown ot have never been exposed in a book before) but also results on formal semantics as well as results on how syntax and semantics constrain each other. The style is mathematical and advanced, it will find most of its readers among formal linguists who wish to deepen their understanding about the foundations of their science.

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Six Dictionaries of Chadic Languages

By Russell Schuh

Russ reports:

"Getting these out was my main summer project. They are being printed for local distribution in Nigeria, and they won't be available in the US, but I will get copies for the UCLA and department libraries. They range in size from a little over 2000 headwords to over 4000 headwords in the Language-English-Hausa section, depending on the language, and have English-Language and Hausa-Language wordlists. I will be posting them as PDF files on my website. The listed authors for each dictionary are the people with whom I have been working the past three years on my NSF funded project ("The Chadic Languages of Yobe State, Nigeria", award #0111289).