Category Archives: Events

Talk (2/27/2018): Roey Gafter (Ben Gurion University)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:00pm
Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, Petteruti Lounge (Rm 201),
    75 Waterman Street, Providence RI

Roey Gafter from Ben Gurion University will give a talk on ethnicity and language in Israel among Hebrew speakers. This is a wide-audience talk, which will be followed by a more linguistic-y talk in LLL (separate notice and abstract will be sent that week). Details of his talk are as follows:

Ethnic identity in Israel and variation in Modern Hebrew: A linguist’s perspective

Among Israelis, Jewish ethnicity is often organized around a binary distinction between Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of European descent) and Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Middle Eastern descent). In this talk, I explore how Hebrew is spoken by Israelis of different ethnicities, and show that framing ethnicity as an Ashkenazi-Mizrahi binary hides many meaningful distinctions, both linguistically and socially. I discuss the aspects of Hebrew accents most strongly associated with Mizrahi identity and show that their history and the social dynamic in Israel have imbued them with a rich social meaning that goes far beyond a simple ethnic marker. I then discuss Hebrew features that are not stereotypically associated with ethnicity and show how they can be used in the construction of specific ethnic personae.

More information about the speaker can be found here.

Lab Meeting (11/13/2017): Milena Rabovsky (Freie Universität Berlin)

For those who might be interested, Milena Rabovsky, a Postdoctoral Researcher (Marie Curie fellow) at the Neurocomputation and Neuroimaging Unit of Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), will present on work she conducted with McClelland at Stanford during Amitai Shenhav’s lab meeting. Details of her talk are as follows:

N400 amplitudes as change in a probabilistic representation of meaning: A neural network model

The N400 component of the event-related brain potential has aroused much interest because it is thought to provide an online measure of meaning processing in the brain. Yet, the underlying process of meaning construction remains incompletely understood. In the talk, I will present a computationally explicit account of this process and the emerging representation of sentence meaning. We simulate N400 amplitudes as the change induced by an incoming stimulus in an implicit and probabilistic representation of meaning captured by the hidden unit activation pattern in a neural network model of sentence comprehension, and propose that the process underlying the N400 also drives implicit learning in the network. We account for a broad range of empirically observed N400 effects which have previously been difficult to capture within a single integrated framework (Rabovsky, Hansen, & McClelland, bioRxiv).

More information about the speaker can be found here.

Guest Lecture (10/27/2017): Tore Nesset (Universitetet i Tromsø)

Friday, October 27, 2017 3:00pm
J.W. Wilson, Room 201, 75 Waterman Street, Providence RI

For those who might be interested, Tore Nesset from the University of Tromsø will be giving a guest lecture (during SLAV 1300 Sociolinguistics) titled Corpus Data and Socio-Linguistic Factors: Rival Forms in Russian. Tore’s research interests are in Slavics linguistics, especially Russian morphology and phonology, cognitive linguistics, and Optimality Theory. Together with next week’s LLL speaker Laura Janda, he is the leader of the CLEAR (cognitive linguistics: empirical approaches to Russian) research group. For more information, his website’s here.

Southern New England Workshop in Semantics (12/2/2017)

Saturday, December 2, 2017
MIT Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA

This year, the Southern New England Workshop in Semantics (SNEWS) will be held in MIT. As always, the workshop aims to be a friendly venue for graduate students in Linguistics to present their work in semantics and receive feedback, so ongoing research and stuff that you’re still figuring out are most welcome! The talks should be 20 min + 10 min for questions.

Those interested in presenting should contact the Brown liaison Junwen Lee by October 27th (Friday). The deadline for submitting presentation titles is November 17th.

Besides graduate students, post-docs, visitors at the participating schools, and faculty are also encouraged to attend and sit in for the presentations!

Short description of SNEWS:

The Southern New England Workshop in Semantics (SNEWS) is an annual workshop for graduate students in Linguistics to present their research and receive feedback in an informal setting. Topics of presentation generally fall into any of the following categories (broadly defined): semantics, pragmatics, semantics/pragmatics interface, experimental and psycholinguistic investigations into semantic/pragmatic phenomena, etc. The workshop is meant to encourage the development and exchange of ideas through friendly interaction between students and faculty from different universities in the area. Universities that have participated in the past include Yale, UConn, UMass, MIT, Harvard, and Brown.

For more details about the event, please contact Junwen Lee, or refer to the event website here.

Film Screening and Discussion (9/21/2017): “We Still Live Here – Âs Nutayuneân”

Thursday, September 21, 2017 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106, 95 Cushing Street, Providence RI

We Still Live Here, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Anne Makepeace, tells the story of the return of the Wampanoag language. The film interweaves the present-day story Wampanoags reclaiming their language with historical events that silenced the language for more than a century and obliterated much of their culture – epidemics, missionary pressures, land loss, and the indenture of Native children.

A discussion with Jennifer Weston ’97, Brown alumni and the film’s co-producer, will follow the screening. Weston is the Immersion School Developer & Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Language Department Director for the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. She will talk about her work on the film and her ongoing involvement in language revitalization with indigenous nations of North America.

Free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

More details about the speaker and the event can be found here.