Latest News

Spring 2024 Colloquium - Rachel Ryskin - Language adaptation across timescales

Abstract: Language is a complex system. Each individual speaker’s behavior reflects myriad social and cognitive processes. Jointly all these speakers’ behaviors give rise to the patterns of language use which can be observed in corpora. This system is also adaptive: a speaker’s behavior is based on their past interactions. And these interrelated patterns of experience affect how the language changes over time. In this talk, I will discuss some new work on the relationship between adaptation at the individual speaker level and diachronic change at the language level.

Melissa Gomes Wins Public Scholars for the Future Fellowship

Congrats to Melissa Gomes (Linguistics PhD student, advisor: Aranovich) for receiving a Public Scholars for the Future Fellowship for the 2024-2025 academic year! The "program prepares the next generation of public scholars to integrate community-centered theories, methods and techniques into their disciplinary field of study, research design and methods".

Click the link below to learn more about Melissa's project on Konkani, her family's heritage language:

Spring 2024 Colloquium - Liesl Yamaguchi - The Colors of the Universal Alphabet

Abstract: Born of a political will to standardize regional pronunciation and to contend with the many non-European languages of overseas Empires, the “universal alphabets” that emerged across Europe in the mid-nineteenth century sought to devise a single set of symbols capable of transcribing all possible sounds of human speech. How does one even envision such sounds? What models emerge to enable their anticipation? This chapter tells the story of the prominent and persistent model that presents vocalic sound in the image of a color triangle.

Spring 2024 Colloquium - Laurel Lawyer - Getting Ahead of Prefixes

Abstract: In this talk, I present work exploring the storage of prefixes, and the processing of prefixed words.  Although much theoretical work has addressed complex words and the role affixes play in the construction of meaning (cf. Taft & Forster, 1975; Schreuder & Baayen, 1995; Marslen-Wilson & Tyler, 2007), nearly all of this discussion is couched in arguments about compositionality and semantic opacity.

Spring 2024 Colloquium - Alexis Wellwood - Graded Plurals and Indeterminacy

Abstract: The compositional semantics of a sentence like (1a) is relatively uncontroversial, but no consensus about that of a sentence like (1b) has yet been achieved.

 (1) a. The red dot is bigger than the blue dot.

    b. The red dots are bigger than the blue dots.

Kristen Kennedy Terry and Bob Bayley Publish New Book Titled: "Social Network Analysis in Second Language Research Theory and Methods"

Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Kennedy Terry (UC Santa Cruz) and Dr. Bob Bayley (UC Davis) for publishing "Social Network Analysis in Second Language Research: Theory and Methods"! Click the link below for more information.


Georgia Zellou Becomes a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow

Congratulations to Dr. Georgia Zellou for becoming a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow! "Chancellor’s Fellow" is a title given to early career academics doing exemplary work. Recipients carry the title for five years and are awarded $25,000 in unrestricted philanthropic support for research or other scholarly work.

Sophia Minnillo Wins Graduate Student Award from the American Association for Applied Linguistics

Congrats to Sophia Minnillo (Linguistics PhD student, advisor: Sánchez-Gutiérrez) for receiving the Graduate Student Award from the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL)! This competitive, merit-based award supports the attendance of AAAL graduate student members at the annual conference, which will take place this March in Houston, Texas.

Click the link below to learn more about the award:

Jeremy Rud Wins Elizabeth Pine Dayton Award

Congrats to Jeremy Rud (Linguistics PhD student, advisor: Ramanathan) for receiving the Elizabeth Pine Dayton Award! This competitive travel award enables qualified graduate students interested in pursuing topics in sociolinguistics to attend the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in January 2024. 

Fall 2023 Colloquium - Bob Bayley and Xinye Zhang - Subject Pronoun Expression: A Cross-Linguistic Variationist Sociolinguistic Study

Abstract: Variation between null and overt subject pronouns, or subject pronoun expression (SPE) (e.g. yo/Ø canto; wo xiang) has been widely studied, attracting the attention of linguists working from multiple perspectives. However, despite decades of research, many questions remain unanswered. For example, which constraints are common across all languages, and which are features of particular languages? Why do rates of SPE differ so widely across languages and even between varieties of the same language?

Fall 2023 Colloquium - Gašper Beguš - AI Interpretability for Biological and Artificial Neural Processing of Language

Abstract: Interpretability is the new frontier in AI research. Understanding how generative models learn and how they resemble or differ from humans can bring insights for diverse fields such as neuroscience and decoding animal communication. In this talk, I present several techniques for introspecting deep neural networks. I also propose a model called ciwaGAN that features several aspects of human language acquisition that other models lack (embodiment, communicative intent, production-perception loop).