Jon Sprouse has been promoted to the rank of full Professor. Congratulations, Jon!
We are thrilled to announce that Vicki Carstens will join the faculty of the Department of Linguistics as Professor of Syntax in Fall 2020! She comes to us from Southern Illinois University where she is Professor & Chair of Linguistics.
Prof. Carstens is a renowned generative syntactician who has worked extensively on word order and agreement cross-linguistically. She is a skilled, experienced fieldworker and an expert on African languages with a focus on Bantu.
Check out her research here.
And find out more about her from her 2016 Featured Linguist profile on Linguist List.
A paper co-authored by Marie Coppola, “The noun-verb distinction in established and emergent sign systems” (Language 95, no. 2 (2019): 230-267), has won this year’s Best Paper in Language Award.
Congratulations to Marie and her co-authors: Natasha Abner, Molly Flaherty, Katelyn Stangl, Diane Brentari, and Susan Goldin-Meadow!
Abstract: In a number of signed languages, the distinction between nouns and verbs is evident in the morphophonology of the signs themselves. Here we use a novel elicitation paradigm to investigate the systematicity, emergence, and development of the noun-verb distinction (qua objects vs. actions) in an established sign language, American Sign Language (ASL), an emerging sign language, Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL), and in the precursor to NSL, Nicaraguan homesigns. We show that a distinction between nouns and verbs is marked (by utterance position and movement size) and thus present in all groups–even homesigners, who have invented their systems without a conventional language model. However, there is also evidence of emerging crosslinguistic variation in whether a base hand is used to mark the noun-verb contrast. Finally, variation in how movement repetition and base hand are used across Nicaraguan groups offers insight into the pressures that influence the development of a linguistic system. Specifically, early signers of NSL use movement repetition and base hand in ways similar to homesigners but different from signers who entered the NSL community more recently, suggesting that intergenerational transmission to new learners (not just sharing a language with a community) plays a key role in the development of these devices. These results bear not only on the importance of the noun-verb distinction in human communication, but also on how this distinction emerges and develops in a new (sign) language.
Jon Sprouse has been announced as the recipient of the LSA’s inaugural C.L. Baker Award, which is awarded to mid-career linguists honoring excellence for scholarship in syntax. Congratulations Jon!
The citation to accompany the award reads as follows: “Jon Sprouse is an experimental syntactician whose work is characterized by imagination, innovation, care, and respect for the facts. He has made methodological contributions of central importance, enabling syntacticians to base their theoretical work on a much more secure empirical foundation. He has also made contributions of central importance to some of the core issues in syntax and linguistic theory more broadly – concerning the nature of island-hood and (in collaboration with Lisa Pearl) the theory of learnability.”
Further information on the award can be found here.
We are pleased to announce that the Department of Linguistics is hiring a syntactician at the rank of Associate or Full Professor. More information and the link for applications is available at: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo?joblist—529-14939
Today Harry van der Hulst received his award for Excellence in Research and Creativity from the UConn Foundation Office of Alumni Relations. Congrats, Harry!
Marcin Dadan successfully defended his dissertation “Head Labeling Preference and Language Change” on Friday September 6. He will now take up a position as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Florida. Congratulations, Marcin!
Harry van der Hulst has received the Faculty Excellence in Research and Creativity – Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Award.
This award is given by the UConn Alumni Foundation Alumni Relations Office in recognition of research excellence and the highest level of creativity to enhance UConn’s academic and creative reputation.
Zheng Shen (Ph.D. 2018) has accepted a tenure-track assistant professorship in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore, starting January 2020. Congratulations!