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Madison Talks


In this issue:

Dear friends of the Linguistics Department,

It is finally spring in Wisconsin… despite snow on April 11th. The department has had an eventful semester, with numerous talks and the hiring of two (count them, two!) new faculty members. Details on the talks and so forth appear below. Our two new hires are both phonologists: Marie Hélène Côté, from MIT, and Tom Purnell, from the University of Delaware (and who has been teaching here in our department for the last two and a half years). In the fall issue of the newsletter we will give you more details on both of these wonderful people. In the meantime just let me say how excited we are to have them joining our faculty.

I also want to take this chance to thank the generous people who have sent in donations for our colloquia and other activities (including this newsletter). If you're interested in emulating them, the address is: University of Wisconsin Foundation, 1848 University Avenue, PO Box 8860, Madison, WI, 53708-8860. Specify the Linguistics Department fund #12540435.

Thanks, and have a good summer. We'll be sending out another (longer) newsletter during the fall semester.

Monica Macaulay, Chair

News and Notes

  • Our undergraduate program continues to grow… we now have 31 Linguistics majors! This is-as far as we know-a departmental record. And they are an interesting bunch of people. Of the 31, 17 are female and 14 are male. Ten of them are double (or triple!) majors, with second fields like German, French, Computer Science, Communicative Disorders, Scandanavian Studies, and Psychology. And they are a smart bunch, too, with above-average GPAs. (But what else do you expect???)
  • Congratulations to Yafei Li for receiving a Vilas Associate Award. This award will give him two years of summer support, plus a generous research allowance for two years.
  • Monica Macaulay and three undergraduates have been awarded a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship (a fellowship for outreach projects). They will produce a pedagogical videotape on the Menominee language using the annual pow-wow as a topic. The undergrads are April Winecke (a Linguistics and Anthropology double major), and Rian McSwain and Zach Brott (both in Communication Arts).

Faculty Profiles: Matt Pearson

Matt Pearson is a graduate student from UCLA and a visiting lecturer in the department for the 1999-2000 academic year. He normally resides in West Hollywood, California, where he has been working for the last couple of years on his soon-to-be-completed ("I swear!") dissertation on word order and morphology in Malagasy. His interests include syntactic theory (especially phrase structure), event structure and theta-role mapping, word order typology, topic/focus structure, Austronesian morphosyntax, and the morphology-syntax interface. He also dabbles in phonology and morphological theory, and is keen to explore the field of child language acquisition (in particular, the acquisition of word order and functional structure) when he has some time to spare. Although his graduate work has mostly been theoretical in nature-involving various attempts to apply Richard Kayne's Antisymmetry Hypothesis to Malagasy clause structure-his first love is fieldwork and 'wallowing in data' from 'exotic' languages. His ambition is to write a reference grammar of an endangered language when he grows up.

Matt has given invited talks here at the University of Wisconsin, as well as at MIT, Cornell, and the University of Tromsoe in Norway, and will be giving a paper in May at the Workshop on Antisymmetry Theory (Cortona, Italy), sponsored by the University of Pisa. Recent publications include "Two Types of VO Languages" (to be published by John Benjamins in the volume The Derivation of VO and OV, edited by Peter Svenonius); "Tense-marking on Malagasy Obliques and the Syntax of Telic Events" (to be published by Kluwer in the proceedings of the 6th annual Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association Conference, edited by Carol Smallwood and Katharine Kitto); and "Feature Inheritance and Remnant Movement: Deriving SOV Order Under the LCA" (published in Syntax at Sunset 2: UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics #3, edited by Gianluca Storto).


On March 9th, John Baugh of Stanford University gave the Hilldale Lecture in the Humanities. His talk was titled "Linguistic Discrimination and the Quest for Fair Housing." Jenny Saffran of the Psychology Department gave a talk on March 21st on "Language Acquisition: The Role of Constrained Statistical Learning." Marlys Macken is organizing the Southeast Asian Linguistics Conference for May 5-7 (we'll have her write up a report on that for the next newsletter). And finally, a talk by Visiting Professor of German Thomas Becker is planned for mid-May.


The Linguistics Student Organization is putting together a volume of working papers, which will contain six articles by Linguistics Department graduate students. Contents and an order form will be available in the fall newsletter.

MADISON TALKS is a newsletter published twice a year by the Department of Linguistics at UW-Madison.
This issue edited by Monica Macaulay.
Send address changes and corrections to Jackie Drummy.


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Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison