Monday, April 12, 2021

Grabbing a Frame from a Video with Adobe Premiere Pro

Sometimes you need a picture of one of your consultants, but you only have video. It is possible to grab a frame from your video to use as a picture. For me, this situation arose because ELAR requests that you provide a picture of each of your consultants, but I did not always take pictures of them.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Peace Corps Togo 1985

 Here are two pictures of my Peace Corps training group in Togo (1985). I believe we are in Atakpame (maybe one of them is in Lome). During the stage (a French word), we learned French, Ewe and also did a lot of practice teaching. In the Peace Corps, I taught math at the high school level, things like algebra, functions and calculus. We trained the students to take their Bac, which is a super difficult end-of-the-year test covering all the subjects they studied during the year. We were also introduced to Togolese food by the kitchen staff. I still remember eating akple (corn porridge) for the first time and not really liking it. Actually, I never ended up liking it (as opposed to fufu, which I love).

A Note on Quantifying into Questions and Functional Readings (Collins 1992)

 In this paper I will show that quantification into questions (Higginbotham) cannot be replaced by quantification over functions (Engdahl).

A Note on Quantifying into Questions and Functional Readings

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Proposal Peer Review (Classroom Activity)

In this blog post, I outline what is perhaps my most successful classroom activity. The basic idea is to have the students help each other to develop their paper proposals.

By doing this activity, students gain concrete skills in writing academic paper proposals, thinking critically about their own proposals, and giving constructive criticisms of other’s work.

Monday, March 22, 2021

A- versus A'-Movement (Class Exercise)

Grammatical Analysis II Spring 2021

Week 8: A versus A’-Movement

My First Covid-19 Shot (March 21, 2021)

I got my first Covid-19 shot yesterday, Sunday March 21, 2021. In this blog post, I give the background leading up to the shot, and details about how I arranged it. I seriously doubt anybody will find this interesting, but in 10-20 years perhaps my future self and grandchildren might want to read it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

On the Form and Function of MERGE (video by Daniel Seely)

Abstract: This talk explores the form and function of the most fundamental operation of the Narrow Syntax, namely Merge. First, we'll give a history of structure building devices, from PS rules through successive stages in the development of Merge--from its introduction in Bare Phrase Structure (Chomsky 1994/95) to its formulation in Problems of Projection (Chomsky 2013, 2015, see also Epstein, Kitahara, Seely 2015) and finally to its most recent characterization, as MERGE—note upper case (Chomsky 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), Epstein, Kitahara, Seely (2018, 2020). Next, we trace the "Maximize Minimal Merge" program (Epstein, Kitahara, and Seely, among others): The idea is to maximize the effects of Merge, while minimizing its form, positing internal to the Narrow Syntax as little as possible beyond simplest Merge (Merge(X, Y) = {X, Y}). Finally, we consider the current ‘state of the art’, in the form of MERGE (i.e. Chomsky’s most recent characterization). MERGE applies to the Workspace WS (which is formally recognized and incorporated into the theory) and not directly to syntactic objects themselves. We provide a detailed examination of this re-conception of Merge, tracing its form and function, and certain challenges that it may give rise to, and  also revealing important consequences in a number of empirical domains, and its implications for the theory of Narrow Syntax

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Three Facebook Threads on Morphology

Here are three Facebook threads on morphology. They contain many posts by various linguists on the topic of morphology, and in particular the relation between syntax and morphology. I have learned a lot from my colleagues by participating in these dialogues. Since I often have a difficult time locating these posts, I thought I would post them on my blog for ease of reference:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Job Interview Questions

When you apply for a job and are invited for an interview, it can be a source of great anxiety. How do you prepare for such an interview? Here is a list of job interview questions put together by Sam Alxatib and Jason Kandybowicz (CUNY Graduate Center) that you might find helpful.

Syllabus: Structure of Ewe (Spring 2021)

 Here is the syllabus for my Structure of Ewe course. It is meant for grads and advanced undergraduates. 

Syllabus: Structure of Ewe (Spring 2021)

Syllabus: Grammatical Analysis II (Spring 2021)

 Here is my syllabus for the second semester undergraduate syntax course. 

Syllabus: Grammatical Analysis II (Spring 2021)

I post it for the following reasons: (a) People who are interested could do the readings on their own. (b) Other professors might get some ideas from the syllabus that they find useful. (c) Other professors who have taught similar courses can give me feedback that I find useful.

A new feature of this year's syllabus:

Syntax Diary

Part of learning to do syntax is learning to be puzzled by the most obvious facts of language.  For this assignment, you should pay attention to language as it is used around you: on the internet (e-mail, Facebook, websites, etc.), when you are talking with your friends and family, in books and magazines, when you are out buying food, etc. Try to find a sentence or construction that you find interesting or perplexing, and discuss it (less than one page, double spaced). This assignment will ungraded. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Required Documents during a Career in Linguistics

Here is a list of documents that we are required to write in our careers as linguists, but for which we do not really receive any training or guidelines. Basically, we learn how to write these documents on our own. It is a sink or swim situation. I leave out documents like course papers, QPs and dissertations for which we are supposed to receive feedback. In a few cases, I indicate where I have discussed the relevant documents in my blog.