The Ohio State University
Linguistics Newsletter
Department Newsletter, Issue 1, Autumn 2007


Greetings from the Linguistics Department!

Welcome to the first issue of the Department of Linguistics online newsletter. Through the newsletter, we will provide updates for friends of the Department -- alumni, graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, staff, and the OSU linguistics community at large. We intend to publish twice a year, once in Fall quarter and once in Spring to bring you the latest news from the Department.

From hiring new faculty to hosting major linguistics events, the Linguistics Department at Ohio State is a thriving organization, part of a number of exciting events and initiatives. For example, we recently launched the Buckeye Language Network (BLN).

The BLN encourages collaboration and fosters language-related initiatives in research, curriculum, and service from the wider OSU community. As an interdisciplinary organization, the BLN includes faculty from many departments including
  • Linguistics,
  • Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures,
  • East Asian Languages and Literatures,
  • Spanish and Portuguese,
  • English,
  • Philosophy,
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures,
  • Anthropology,
  • African American and African Studies,
  • Near Eastern Languages and Culture,
  • Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology,
  • French and Italian,
  • Speech and Hearing,
  • Psychology,
  • Education and Human Ecology,
  • and Computer Science and Engineering.

This organization brings a diverse range of interests together for the study of language. To that end, the First Annual Buckeye Language Network Symposium was held on April 8, 2007, with presenters from several departments speaking on a range of scientific studies of language. For instance, Chris Brew (Linguistics) and Eric Fosler-Lussier (Computer Science and Engineering) presented on speech recognition technology, while James Essegby (University of Florida) and Don Winford (Linguistics) presented on the development of New World creoles.

For additional details about the 2007 Symposium, read the article on the Symposium from the OSU College of Humanities newsletter, Humanities Express. The Second BLN Symposium is scheduled for Winter 2008.

In addition to new interdisciplinary initiatives, we have also witnessed several changes within the Department. These include

  • Faculty. In the last 3 years, we have hired four new faculty members, who bring expertise in computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, phonetics/phonology and semantics/pragmatics.
  • Leadership. Peter Culicover stepped down as Department Chair in 2006. Beth Hume has taken over the task of overseeing growth in the department for years to come.
  • Facilities. What is growth without a few growing pains? Space (or the lack thereof) is a perennial problem in Oxley Hall, and each year we must get more creative in configuring our space. But we have managed to add an eye tracking lab and a sociolinguistics lab to Oxley in the last year, along with a department lounge and all new machines in the Oxley 201 computer lab.

As the Department continues to grow and change, we hope to use this newsletter to pass along the news. But we cannot be everywhere at once. Please let us know if you have news to report in the newsletter.

Introducing Our Newest Faculty Members

The Department of Linguistics has recently welcomed four new assistant professors to the faculty: Michael White, Cynthia Clopper, Judith Tonhauser and Kathryn Campbell-Kibler. This brings the number of professors in Linguistics to 16. Welcome Mike, Cynthia, Judith and Kathryn!

Mike White
Dr. Michael White
Michael White joined the department in Fall 2005. His focus is in computational linguistics, specializing in natural language generation, dialogue systems and speech synthesis. He comes to us from the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, where he was a research fellow from 2002-2005. He graduated in 1994 from the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D. in computer science.  

Cynthia Clopper
Dr. Cynthia Clopper
Cynthia Clopper joined the department in Fall 2006. Her interests include phonetics, phonology and regional variation in American English. She finished her dissertation, Linguistic Experience and the Perceptual Classification of Dialect Variation and graduated from Indiana University in 2004 and comes to OSU after a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship at Northwestern University.  

Judith Tonhauser
Dr. Judith Tonhauser
Judith Tonhauser also joined the department in Fall 2006. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from Stanford University (thesis: The temporal interpretation of noun phrases: Evidence from Guaraní). Judith's research interests include temporal semantics, the semantics of inflections and syntax semantic interfaces, focusing on Latin American languages such as Paraguayan Guaraní and Yucatec Maya.  

Kathryn Campbell-Kibler
Dr. Kathryn Campbell-Kibler
Kathryn Campbell-Kibler joined the department in Fall 2007. Her interests include linguistic variation, perception, sociolinguistic cognition, among other sociolinguistic research topics. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2005. Her thesis research is titled Listener Perceptions of Sociolinguistic Variables: The Case of (ING). She joins the department after lecturing at the University of Michigan, the International Summer School of Sociolinguistics at the University of Copenhagen, and the LSA Summer Institute at Stanford University.  

Ongoing Research Projects

We have a very active research community in the Department. Here are a few of the current grant-funded research projects:

  • Shari Speer, Kiwako Ito, and Donna Byron (CSE) are co-PIs on a project on intonation in spontaneous Japanese and English dialogue. Their research, scheduled to run from July 2006 -- June 2011, is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders.
  • Detmar Meurers and Markus Dickinson (Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Indiana University), along with doctoral candidate Adriane Boyd, are currently researching the automatic detection of errors in annotated corpora in the DECCA project, funded by the National Science Foundation.
  • Chris Brew is researching an ongoing project on hybrid methods for acquisition and tuning of lexical information. Funded by NSF, the project aims to develop effective ways of creating dictionaries and ontologies for Natural Language Processing and to facilitate navigating through language corpora for, e.g. librarians, translators, patent examiners.
  • Dave Odden was awarded a grant of roughly $25,000 from Norges Forskningsråd, BILAT in 2007, for a project on Saami phonology through the University of Tromsø.
  • Mary Beckman is a co-PI on a grant from National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders for the study "A cross-linguistic investigation of phonological development." The $1,568,486 grant, awarded to Jan Edwards (University of Wisconsin), runs from 2003 to 2008.
  • Mike White was awarded an Arts and Humanities Grant for Innovation proposal entitled "Building Expressive Synthetic Voices for Conversational Systems", with Chris Brew and Eric Fosler-Lussier as co-PIs and Shari Speer as an unofficial collaborator. The $40,000 grant research started April 1, 2007, and goes for two years.

In Recognition
  • Our warmest congratulations go out to Craige Roberts, who was promoted to full professor in Spring 2007. Craige has been a member of the Linguistics Department faculty since 1988.
  • We also congratulate Brian Joseph, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, August 9, 2006. OSU has also recognized his accomplishments as an outstanding teacher and researcher by selecting Brian to give the Autumn commencement speech on December 9, 2007.
  • Special recognition goes out to our most recent Ph.D. graduates:
    • Dr. Luiz Amaral, who graduated Spring 2007. Co-advised by Detmar Meurers (Linguistics) and John Grinstead (Spanish and Portuguese), Luiz focused his thesis research on developing an Intelligent Computer-Aided Language Learning system for Portuguese.
    • Dr. Anton Rytting, who graduated Spring 2007. His thesis research, "Preserving Subsegmental Variation in Modeling Word Segmentation", was co-advised by Chris Brew (Linguistics) and Eric Fosler-Lussier (Computer Science).
    • Dr. Jirka Hana, who graduated in Summer 2007. His thesis research "Czech Clitics in Higher Order Grammar" was supervised by Carl Pollard (Linguistics).
    • Dr. Grant McGuire, Summer 2007. His dissertation, "Phonetic Category Learning," explored the role of perceptual cues and the categorization of non-native sounds. He was co-advised by Mary Beckman (Linguistics) and Keith Johnson (Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley).
    • Dr. Lei Xu, Summer 2007. Shari Speer advised Dr. Xu's thesis, titled "Phonological Variation and Word Recognition in Continuous Speech".
  • We offer special acknowledgement to former Linguistics undergraduate Erika Colijn, who recently won a $6,000 Undergraduate Research Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences for her honors thesis work, "Word Order in Paraguayan Guaraní". The project was supervised by Judith Tonhauser.

    For this research, Erika also won first prize at the Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, held Wednesday, May 16, 2007. 354 students in eleven fields including Humanities, Engineering, Art/Architecture, among others, presented their research to judges, who awarded a total of 44 prizes.

    Erika went on to graduate, with research distinction, in June 2007.

  • Congratulations to first-year graduate students Liz McCullough and Deborah Morton who were both recently awarded a Derby Scholarship from the Graduate School for recognition of their academic achievements.

  • Language Files 10

    The 10th edition of the Language Files was released in 2007. Printed by OSU Press and used as an introductory linguistics textbook here at OSU and across the country, the Language Files has been a fixture of the Department since the late 1970s. The 10th edition was edited by graduate students Anouschka Bergmann, Kathleen Currie Hall and Sharon Ross. Congratulations to the editors and contributors on a job well done.

Recent Publications

Interested in reading more about research in the Department? Here are a few of the publications of members of the Department, from 2007 or currently in press. Refer to individual authors' personal pages for details or additional publications.

  • Amaral, L. and Meurers, D. (2007). "Conceptualizing Student Models for Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning". Georgios Paliouras, Cristina Conati and Kathleen F. McCoy (Eds.): User Modeling 2007: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Wien, New York, Berlin: Springer.
  • Beckman, M. E., Munson, B., and Edwards, J. (in press). Vocabulary growth and the developmental expansion of types of phonological knowledge. To appear in Laboratory Phonology 9.
  • Boomershine, A., Hall, K.C., Hume, E. and Johnson, K. (In press). The impact of allophony vs. contrast on speech perception. In P. Avery, E. Dresher and K. Rice (eds.), Phonological Contrast. Mouton.
  • Campbell-Kibler, K. (2007). "Accent, (ING), and the Social Logic of Listener Perceptions". American Speech, 82(1):32-64.
  • Campbell-Kibler, K. (In press). "I'll be the judge of that: Diversity in social perceptions of (ING)". To appear in Language in Society.
  • Campbell-Kibler, K. (In press). "The structure of sociolinguistic perception". To appear in Language Variation and Change.
  • Clopper, C. G., and Pisoni, D. B. (in press). Free classification of regional dialects of American English. Journal of Phonetics.
  • Culicover, P. Natural Language Syntax. Oxford University Press. To appear 2007.
  • Foster, M. and White, M. (2007). Avoiding Repetition in Generated Text. In Proceedings of the 11th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation.
  • Hume, E. (In press). Metathesis. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition. Elsevier.
  • Hume, E. and Mielke, J. (In press). Distinctive Features. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition. Elsevier.
  • Hume, E. (In press). Deconstructing markedness: A predictability-based approach. To appear in Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistic Society.
  • Ito, K., and Speer, S.R. (to appear). Anticipatory effects of intonation: Eye movements during instructed visual search. Journal of Memory and Language, Special issue on Language-Vision interaction.
  • Meurers, D. (2007). "Advancing Linguistics Between the Extremes: Some thoughts on Geoffrey Sampson's Grammar without Grammaticality". Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. 3(1).
  • Meurers, D. and Müller, S. (2007). "Corpora and Syntax". Chapter 44 in Anke Lüdeling, Merja Kytö, and Tony McEnery (Eds.): Corpus Linguistics. Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science (HSK), Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Pollard, C. (To appear). Hyperintensions. To appear in a special issue of The Journal of Logic and Computation on lambda calculus, type theory, and natural language.
  • Pollard, C. (To appear). Remarks on Categorical Grammar. To appear in Journal of Applied Logic.
  • Roberts, C. "Only: Presupposition and Implicature". Accepted with revisions, revised and re-submitted (March, 2007) to the Journal of Semantics.
  • Speer, S.R. and Blodgett, A. (2007). Prosody in language processing. In M. Traxler and M. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Handbook of Psycholinguistic Research, 2nd Edition. Elsevier.
  • Tonhauser, J. (In press). Nominal tense? The meaning of Guaraní nominal temporal markers. To appear in Language.
  • Tonhauser, J. (2007). Agent focus and voice in Yucatec Maya. Proceedings of the 39th Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society, 15 pages.
  • Tonhauser, J. (2007). What is nominal tense? A case study of Paraguayan Guaraní. In Becker, M. and McKenzie, A. (eds.), Proceedings of Semantics of Under-represented Languages (SULA) III. Amherst, MA: Graduate Linguistics Student Association Publications, 20 pages.
  • Venditti, J. J., Maekawa, K., and Beckman, M. E. (2007). Prominence marking in the Japanese intonation system. To appear in S. Miyagawa and M. Saito, eds., Handbook of Japanese Linguistics. Oxford University Press.
  • White, M., Rajkumar, R. and Martin, S. (2007). Towards Broad Coverage Surface Realization with CCG. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Using Corpora for NLG: Language Generation and Machine Translation (UCNLG+MT).
  • Winford, D. (2007). "Some issues in the study of language contact." Journal of Language Contact (JLC) First Thema Issue: Language Contact: Framing its Theories and Descriptions.
  • Winford, D. and Migge, B. (2007). "The influence of Gbe languages on the tense/aspect systems of the Surinamese creoles." B. Migge and N. Smith (eds.). Transatlantic Sprachbund? Special issue of the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, Vol. 22:1.

Recent Events

The BLN Symposium mentioned above is not the only noteworthy recent event involving the OSU linguistics community. In case you missed them, here are a few of the many events hosted by or for linguists in our community.

Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Code-Switching

On December 5-8, 2007, OSU hosted a workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Code-Switching. Organized by Don Winford, Kees de Bot (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) and Ludmila Isurin (Slavic Department, Ohio State University), the three-day code-switching workshop featured talks on psycholinguistics, language contact and sociolinguistics aspects of code-switching.

The 13th Annual Mid-Continental Workshop on Phonology (MCWOP)

October 26-28, 2007, the Department of Linguistics at OSU hosted the 13th Annual Mid-Continental Workshop on Phonology (MCWOP). The program included more than 40 talks and featured a special session on phonological acquisition. For details on the program, visit the workshop site.

Workshop on Shared Tasks and Comparative Evaluation in Natural Language Generation

Mike White, along with Robert Dale (Macquarie University), organized a natural language generation workshop in Arlington, VA, on April 20-21, 2007. The goal of the workshop was to start a discussion among leading researchers in natural language generation (NLG) about "establishing a clear, community-wide, position on the role of shared tasks and comparative evaluation in NLG research."

Workshop on Interfaces of Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning (IICALL 2006)


The first annual workshop on Interfaces of Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning (IICALL 2006) was hosted at OSU on December 14-17, 2006. Organized by Luiz Amaral and Detmar Meurers, the workshop featured courses taught by three leading researchers in the field:

  • Kathleen McCoy (U. Delaware), on NLP and Learner Modeling for ICALL
  • Susan Bull (U. Birmingham), on Open Learner Models
  • Eckhard Bick (Southern Denmark U.), on VISL - An Integrated Multi-lingual Approach to CALL

For details on the workshop talks and presenters, see the 2006 workshop site. ICALL 2007 was held at the University of Waterloo, 7-8 December 2007.

The 35th New Ways of Analyzing Variation Conference (NWAV-35)


On November 9-12, 2006, the Linguistics Department organized and hosted one of the premier conferences in sociolinguistics, NWAV. The 2006 theme for the conference was "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Variation." Participants included linguists such as William Labov and Penny Eckert, among other pioneers of sociolinguistic research.

For details on the 2006 conference, refer to the official NWAV-35 conference site. NWAV 36 was held October 11-14, 2007 in Philadelphia.

Workshop on Presupposition Accommodation

Craige Roberts, Scott Scwenter (Spanish and Portuguese) and Donna Byron (CSE), organizers of the OSU Pragmatics Initiative, hosted a workshop on presupposition accommodation October 13-15, 2006. Researchers in pragmatics, semantics, psycholinguistics, philosophy, and artificial intelligence came together to discuss aspects of presupposition accommodation.

In Honor of David Dowty

On June 1, 2006, a symposium in honor of David Dowty, professor emeritus, was held at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. The theme was "Theory and Evidence in Semantics" and speakers included Erhard Hinrichs, Jack Hoeksema, Hans Kamp, John Nerbonne and Greg Stump, among many others. See the symposium site for additional details.

Upcoming Events

What are you doing in 2008? Consider joining us for one (or more) of the exciting events coming to OSU in 2008.

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Workshop in Linguistics

On January 21, 2008, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day workshop in linguistics will be held. For 2008, the workshop theme is American Indian Linguistics. Past themes have included studies in ancient Indo-European languages (2005), analogy in language change (2006) and Greek linguistics (2007). Presenters include OSU faculty and students from various departments. For more information, contact the workshop organizers, Brian Joseph and Judith Tonhauser.

Linguistic Variation Across the Lifespan

On May 2-3, 2008, the Department of Linguistics will host a symposium on Linguistic Variation Across the Lifespan. The two-day symposium will focus on variability in language processing, acquisition, perception, and social identity construction. Invited speakers include
  • Penelope Eckert, Stanford University
  • Carla Hudson Kam, University of California, Berkeley
  • Benjamin Munson, University of Minnesota
  • Gillian Sankoff, University of Pennsylvania
For additional information and updates, refer to the symposium website or email

Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2008)

ACL 2008

OSU will host the 46th annual conference for the Association for Computational Linguistics on June 15-20, 2008. The international conference was last hosted at OSU in 1993. The local chair for ACL 2008 is Chris Brew. Please check the conference site at for details.

LSA 2008 Summer Meeting

LSA 2008

The Linguistics Society of America (LSA) will hold its annual summer meeting next year at OSU, July 10-13, 2008. "Language as Interface" will be the theme of the mini-institute.

For details, refer to the LSA website or contact Beth Hume at

2008 Linguistics Alumni Reunion

We're planning an alumni reunion, September 5-7, 2008. Join us for the festivities. (On the reunion weekend, OSU will be playing OU, and we'll have tickets available.) More details will be forthcoming.

Alumni, where are you now?

We would like to start a regular section for alumni updates. So, keep in touch! Tell us (and your fellow alums) how life on the outside is. Email us at with updates, including (but not limited to) new jobs, schools, graduation announcements, births, marriages, etc. We're interested in your lives and would be happy to share your updates with fellow friends of the Department.

In the meantime, mark your calendars for the alumni reunion scheduled for September 5-7, 2008, and check back for details on how you can (re-) connect with alumni of the Department during reunion weekend.

Support the Department

Your support of the Department means a lot to us. Please consider donating through OSU's iGive program. We have set up two funds for that purpose:

  • Distinguished Linguistics Professorship Fund

    A fund to provide compensation and academic support for a faculty member in the Linguistics Department. The fund will become endowed when it reaches $25,000.00. The endowment fund will be invested by the University with the income used to provide support for, in this case, a prestigious faculty position in Linguistics.

  • Linguistics Discretionary Fund

    A fund for enriching research, teaching and other opportunities for members of the OSU linguistics community (faculty, students, alumni). Donations to this fund will be used to support visiting scholars, invite speakers, support activities that recognize excellence in teaching, research and service, host conferences/workshops at OSU and elsewhere, and other such activities.

To donate, click on the iGive logo in the left menu bar or follow the links above to the individual fund pages.

Newsletter Credits

Contributors to this issue include

  • Stacey Bailey
  • Beth Hume
  • Bridget Smith

For questions or comments, please contact