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Brooklyn College Linguistics Program
Linguistics Program Notes












MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT FOR FALL 2017: The Linguistics Program has obtained an NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) which will make it possible for five students to engage in paid research experiences over the course of the academic year. This is a joint program between Brooklyn College and Long Island University. For further details, check out the flyer below:











Our PIZZA and DEMOCRACY event was held on December 10th. The exhortation to "come for the pizza, stay for the democracy" ensured a high turnout, and a full slate of LING Club officers was elected:

President:  Brandon Rivington
VP:  Michelle DePrizio
Treasurer:   Adriana Oliveira                        Vice-Treasurer:  Kumari Mayshark
Secretary:  Hannah Nelson                           Co-Secretary:  Jason Phat
PR/Media Officer:  Michael Brandini         
At large:  Saja Sandfia

That's Fatin Jarara in the picture. She did the lion's share of the organizing work.



On November 17, Luke Rollins, Kyle Williams, and Adriana Oliveira, all from the Phonology class of Professor Gonsalves, visited the Speech Production, Acoustics and Perception Laboratory run by Distinguished Professor Douglas Whalen at the CUNY Graduate Center.


Linguistics students Michelle DePrizio and Nastasya Kreneva and friends attended the Translation Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the East Village on November 7th, where writers and their translators read works in their original languages and in English translation and discussed the inticacies of rendering poetry in another language.

A combined "Social + Tips on Applying to Graduate Programs" event was held on October 20th, with snacks and refreshments (which were very well received).



Half a dozen LING students attended "A Conversation with Francois Grosjean," an event sponsored by the French Consulate and held on May 1st at the Albertine Bookstore on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Professor Grosjean is the author of Life With Two Languages," a seminal text on bilingualism. As reported by Joshua Poveda, "The talk was illuminating, accessible, and cordial. There was a nice reception afterwards too."

(no picture, unfortunately)




                          ACADEMIC YEAR 2014-2015

                          This spring, on April 25th, six students from LING 4001W Senior Seminar (our capstone course)
                          presented papers at the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium.


From left to right, the presenters were:

Jaunel Shaw: Short Term Effects of Audiovisual Material in Acquisition of Japanese as a Second Language
David Beagle: Jabberwocky and Parsing: Nonsense Words and Prepositional Phrase Ambiguity
Gail Joubert: Language Comprehension and Gender Bias
(that's Prof. Nissenbaum, the LING 4001W instructor, flying the Brooklyn College banner)
Graham Watling: Syntax-Intonation Correspondence in On-Line Processing
Sylvia Czander: X-Bar Theory in Ancient Greek
Fatin Jarara: Is language policy used as a tool to repress indigenous populations that have
    become minorities due to the colonization of their land?


Other presentations by our students included:

PhD Program in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Student Research Day
The Graduate Center (3/27/15)
Ronit Deutsch: Word-Order in Early Child Acquisition of Possessives in Brazilian Portuguese


HULLS 5 Hunter Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies Conference
Hunter College (5/1/15)
Michael Perez: Error Treatment within the Cambridge CELTA Framework

Wojciech Rafalski: Pushing the Bounds of Synthetic Speech Perception: Adding Pitch Contours to Sinewave Speech Synthesis

(Gail Joubert, Fatin Jarara, Sylvia Czander, and David Beagle also presented their papers from Harvard at Hulls. And Graham Watling presented an earlier version of his at the Linguistics Spring Colloquium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on March 28th).


Sylvia Czander (BA in Classics and Linguistics, 2015) is going to the PhD program in Classics at the University of Cincinnati with a graduate assistantship that offers full tuition remission and a living stipend.

Michael Perez (CUNY BA in "Computational Linguistics and Intelligence Systems," 2015) took a self-designed mix of CISC and LING courses and has accepted a well remunerated position with ChatID, a company that develops technology to streamline communications (text, chat, spoken) between businesses and their customers. That's him at HULLS, three pictures up.

Graham Watling (BA in Linguistics, 2015), outgoing president of the Linguistics Club and one of the Harvard presenters pictured above, will be attending a graduate program in Cognitive Science and Language that is housed across a consortium of universities in Spain, but largely based at the University of Barcelona.

Hibernia Hernandez (BA in Speech with a Linguistics minor, 2015) has been accepted to the Speech-Language Pathology MS program at SUNY-Fredonia where she will be starting this fall. She received a Federal TEACH Grant that will partially subsidize her tuition.

Joshua Poveda, our incoming Linguistics Club president who is double majoring in Linguistics and Art History, has been busy: he spent the winter intersession with the Study Abroad in China program (Graham Watling, the outgoing Linguistics Club president, was there too); he interned last summer at the SLA307 art gallery in Chelsea; he is currently interning at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning; and in the fall, he will be interning with Restless Books, a publishing firm. In these positions he has used his combined linguistic, design, and media skills on projects that have ranged from art installation, to educational programs, to marketing ventures.

Ingrid Feeney (BA in Linguistics, 2011) recently graduated from the MA Program in Social Sciences (MAPPS) at the University of Chicago and has been awarded the Eugene Cota-Robles fellowship for doctoral study in Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, where she will start in September. (There's a picture of her at HULLS way down below).

Cleshawn Andersson Montague (BA in Linguistics, 2012) took some "Mommy time" after giving birth to her son Abbott in 2013, but is now preparing to return to graduate school in computer science. She evidently hasn't lost her interest in linguistics, as she can be seen here getting Steven Pinker's signature on a copy of his latest book, The Sense of Style.


THE LINGUISTICS CLUB: This year's event involved a presentation by Dr. Tammy Gales from Hofstra University's master's program in Forensic Linguistics. Dr. Gales, who specializes in research on various linguistic aspects of assault cases, false confessions, and threatening communications, discussed some of the ways in which forensic linguists are involved in the criminal justice system, both by helping solve crimes and by helping absolve wrongly accused people, through techniques of voice identification, author identification, discourse analysis, and dialectology. The evnt was very well attended, and equally well received.

And here's a picture of the LING Club gang:





The main event of the year was clearly our "Skype with Chomsky" session on March 13, 2014, which drew an audience
of almost 100 students. We started at 11 am with a screening and discussion of the film "Is the Man Who Is Tall
Happy?" in which a series of discussions between French Director Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky is presented in an
animated format. After a quick buffet around 1 pm, we contacted Noam Chomsky at MIT and (after a few technical
glitches) the Skyping session got underway.

Four students had the opportunity to pose their questions:
- Kathleen Cullen (Linguistics major) asked about the relation of mind and brain and whether contemporary
neuro-science is overly wedded to associationist models
- Kyle Williams (Creative Writing and Linguistics double major) wondered whether differing parameter settings in
different languages affect the experiences and perceptions of their speakers
- Keith Baldwin (Creative Writing major) inquired about the nature of creativity and about the roles, if any,
that randomness and determinacy might play
- Jessie Lamprecht (Psychology major) wanted to know what had inspired Professor Chomsky to pursue a life in

Professor Chomsky answered each question in considerable detail; his erudition was evident, but so were his wit,
cordiality, and sense of humor. As the event drew to a close, it was obvious that an excellent time had been had
by all.


"Hello? Can you hear me now?" (There were some initial connectivity glitches.)


And the"Skype with Chomsky" session is underway.



Three students presented at this year's HULLS conference (Hunter Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies conference,
held at Hunter College on May 2nd and 3rd), namely:
- Kathleen Cullen: On Stative and Eventive Passives
- James Green: Generic Tense in Quantifier Scope Illusions
- Graham Watling: Syntax-Intonation Correspondence in Online Parsing

Below is a photomontage of the conference, including shots of the three speakers, one shot of the "early-bird" BC crowd
Saturday morning (Prof. Patkowski, Acadia Branch, Nina Merritt, Kyle Williams, Prof. Nissenbaum, Graham Watling, and
Kathleen Cullen), and one of Profs. Nissenbaum, Patkowski, and Barriere visibly enjoying themselves.


Several students will be continuing in M.A. or Ph.D. programs, including:

Daniel Barry who has been accepted to the Ph.D Program in Linguistics at The Graduate Center, CUNY with a Five Year Graduate Center Fellowship (full tuition costs + stipend). In addition, Daniel presented at three conferences this year: on 10/5/13 he discussed Language Purification: A Contrastive Analysis of Kazakh and Turkish at the Fourteenth Annual CESS (Central Eurasian Studies Society) Conference, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison; on 3/28/14 he presented the poster /L/ Phonemes in English Loanwords in Turkish at the 4th Annual Student Research Poster Day of the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Program at The CUNY Graduate Center; and on 5/16/14 he gave his paper On the Re-Analysis of the Phoneme /k/ in Kyrgyz Loanwords in Wakhi at the Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics at Indiana University-Bloomington. Here he is posing with Christopher Beckwith, a leading scholar of the history and linguistics of Central Eurasia, who advised him to "stir up the field" during his forthcoming doctoral work on Iranic and Indic languages.

Russell Barlow, a CUNY B.A. student, who took Introduction to Linguistics in his second last semester (at Hunter) and Syntax in his final semester (at BC); after these experiences, he was inspired to turn his long-standing interest in Indo-European studies in a strongly linguistic direction. He enrolled in the 2013 LSA Summer Institute, taking courses in Historical Linguistics, Linguistic Change, Phonology, and Syntactic Typology, before heading out on a Fulbright Student Grant to the University of Münster, Germany where he conducted independent research combining historical linguistics with classical philology. He was subsequently accepted to several Ph.D. programs in linguistics, including Cornell and UC Berkeley among others, and will be attending the University of Hawaii where he plans to work with Lyle Campbell on the grammars of the some of the world's many undocumented languages before they disappear forever.

Kathleen Cullen, who presented at HULLS 2014 as mentioned above, and who combined her Linguistics major with a minor in Cognitive Science and extensive coursework in French, has been accepted to the M.A. program in Linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she will receive a two year research assistantship that will cover much of her tuition. Her experience includes a semester in Paris in 2011 where she worked as an English tutor.

James Green, another HULLS 2014 presenter, who was accepted to the M.A. Program in Linguistics at Syracuse University with a two year teaching assistantship that will cover the full cost of tuition and provide a living stipend. His experience includes several years of teaching English in Japan and, more recently, a stint as a research assistant at the Brooklyn College Department of Psychology's Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.

Frankiluz Guzman, who graduated on 9/1/2013 with a double major in Speech Pathology and Linguistics), was accepted to various Master’s programs in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, including at Adelphi and Columbia. She was also admitted to the doctoral program in Speech at The CUNY Graduate Center, with a full fellowship. After much deliberation, she decided to pursue the clinical Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Columbia University in order to become a speech-language pathologist. She also successfully applied to the Graduate Scholarship Program offered by the NYC Department of Education, which will both cover her tuition and ensure her employment with the DOE after graduation.

Pinny Gold (2/2013 grad) has been accepted to Brooklyn Law School where he will start in the fall. Since leaving BC, he has worked as a proof-reader and translator for the Trustforte Corporation, a provider of educational credentials equivalency evaluations, and as a research assistant for Prof. Barriere glossing and annotating transcriptions of Yiddish recordings.



Din Giddings, who graduated in Fall 2013, got to hobnob with noted MIT sociolinguist and creolist Michel DeGraff at the Symposium on Haitian Creole Language and Culture which was held at Bronx Community College on 10/26/13.


Nalini Bholanauth (grad 2/2014) has been invited by the Peace Corps to be an English Language Resource Teacher in Macedonia, in either a primary or secondary school (to be determined by September).


Seth Weiss (grad expected 6/2014) has been accepted for participation in the 2014-2015 City Year program of AmeriCorps. He will be mentoring and tutorin at-risk junior and high school students in English and math in Jacksonville, Fla. He will also be involved in community outreach projects.


Michael Perez, a Macaulay Honors Student who is pursuing a CUNY B.A. in "Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Systems," received a Kenan scholarship (given to students with a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement) in Spring 2013, and a Global Leaders Fellowship (awarded by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute) in Summer 2013. The latter involved involved taking courses in Political Science at George Washington University while interning both in the office of Representative Mario Diaz-Balart from Florida's 25th district and in the Government Relations Office of Davidsohn Technologies, a financial services IT company. This summer, he'll be in Peru and Puerto Rico working on various aspects (from food distribution systems to website construction) of the organic farm-to-market trade.


Graham Watling, a HULLS 2014 presenter (see above), spent Fall 2013 at the University of Buenos Aires where he took coursesin Historical Linguistics, Non-Transformational Formal Models, and Current Approaches to Teaching Second and Foreign Languages. He plans to graduate in Spring 2015 and is considering applying to either a Translation or a Linguistics-related Master's program at the University of Barcelona, Spain.



Profs. Barriere, Gonsalves, Nissenbaum, and Patkowski, along with students Stacey DeAraujo and James Green (respectively president and treasurer of the Linguistics Club) were panelists at the 2013 LACUS Conference (panel topic: "How to Build an Undergraduate Program in Linguistics"), which was held at Brooklyn College on July 29-Aug 1. Prof. Gonsalves, an officer of LACUS (Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States), was responsible for bringing the conference to Brooklyn and deserves large kudos for a year's worth of hard work in carrying out this task. Prof. Barriere also presented a separate paper ("Language Contact and Motherese: Distinct Lexical and Morphsyntactic Effects of English on Brooklyn Hasidic Yiddish Motherese").




Daniel Barry: Daniel presented a poster (Grammatical Gender Among L2 Speakers of Kurdish) at the Cornell Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium on April 20, and a paper (Is a Fixed Lexical Unit?) at the Hunter College Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies Conference on May 4, where he won a "best overall presentation" award. He was also a recipient of the Rose Goldstein Memorial Scholarship, and of travel funds from the Office of Dean Kimberley Phillips.


James Green: after teaching in Japan for several years, James decided to pursue graduate studies in linguistics, by first completing a second B.A. degree in the field. This spring he joined the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language laboratory in Brooklyn College`s Psychology Department as a research assistant, where he is helping to improve inter-observer reliability in an ongoing study of the performance of adult dyslexics across a range of language and cognitive tasks.



Nalini Bholanauth: as a volunteer for Jump Start, a national early childhood education organization that trains college students, Nalini has been working with pre-school children in low-income neighborhoods to help them develop their language and literacy skills. She also presented a paper (Gender-Specific Words in Guyanese Creole: Derogatory or Progressive?) at the Hunter Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies Conference on May 4th.



Stacey DeAraujo : Stacey is an intern in the MobileBooth department of StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to collect and archive conversations with people from all walks of life. So far, more than 45,000 interviews have been preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, making StoryCorps one of the largest oral history projects ever. Stacey is also the President of the Linguistics Club.



Roy Wells : Roy is currently completing his linguistics degree, having returned from a year-long study-abroad program in Xian, China, where he took intensive Mandarin classes, and completed an independent study about Chinese "netspeak" with a focus on the ways it is used to circumvent censorship. He is hoping to continue his Chinese language studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, an affiliate of Middlebury College, after graduation.


Christie Hoo Yee Leung (second from the left) and Frankiluz Guzman (on the right) helped organize the 3rd Student Research Annual Poster Day at the CUNY Graduate Center. They're standing with Distinguished Professor Doug Whalen who gave the keynote speech, Professor Isabelle Barriere, and Julia Malykhina (a BC Speech alumna). Christie and Frankiluz, who are both double-majoring in Speech and Linguistics, are also assisting Prof. Barriere at the Yeled v'Yalda Early Childhood Center with research concerning the grammatical development of bilingual toddlers. In addition, Frankiluz worked as a volunteer for the Endangered Languages project for several months last year.



Ingrid Feeney (B.A. 2011: Linguistics major "Magna Cum Laude") has been accepted to M.A. Program in Social Sciences (MAPPS) the at the University of Chicago.

Victoria Wagnerman (B.A. 2013; Speech Pathology and Linguistics double major "Cum Laude") and Joel Cruz (English and Psychology double major, Linguistics minor, still enrolled) have been elected to the Brooklyn College chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Jacqueline Anzaroot (B.A 2012: English and Linguistics double major "Summa Cum Laude") was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and has been working as an editorial intern at Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, and at the Jewish Book Council.



The Linguistics Club sponsored two events this semester. The first was a "meet and greet" session with our new faculty member, Professor Jon Nissenbaum, who will be joining the program in the fall of 2013. Jon Nissenbaum was a student of Chomsky's at MIT where he completed his dissertation (Investigations of Covert Phrase Movement) in 2000. His research is primarily in syntax and semantics; he is interested in questions about the division of labor between syntactic and semantic mechanisms for determining quantifier scope, verb-phrase structure,variable-binding and related phenomena including parasitic gaps, and island phenomena. The meeting was well attended and lively, and all parties are now looking forward to the fall with great anticipation.


The second event was a presentation by Professor Natalie Kacinik, Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language laboratory at Brooklyn College, who discussed her research on a variety of topics including hemispheric differences for processing literal and figurative language and the priming effect of sensori-motor experiences in the comprehension of idiomatic expressions. Again, the event was well attended and the discussion animated.





Aja Trinidad: after graduating with a double major in Spanish and Creative Writing, Aja decided that she wanted to pursue a master's degree in linguistics. She returned to college for a semester and took five courses in our program (with outstanding results). She was then accepted to the M.A. Program in Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center where she will start in fall 2012.


Jacqueline Anzaroot: presented her senior thesis ("The Status of Writing: Its Relation to Speech and Language") both at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (on 3/30/12 at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah) and here, at the Senior Thesis Conference of the Honors Academy at Brooklyn College. She is double-majoring in English and Linguistics.


Naomi Baine: graduated "cum laude" with a major in linguistics in June 2011, and will be attending the M.S. program in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Rhode Island.


Pinny Gold: gave a paper at the HULLS Conference (see below) with Tatiana Sulim, and is also currently assisting Professor Newman at Lehman College, CUNY, transcribing recordings of the Yiddish of Hassidic women as part of a grant-funded research project.




Emory Sullivan and Cleshawn Montague are both putting their linguistic skills to use in the workplace.

Emory (to the left, under the yellow arrow) writes articles about companies such as Dunkin Donuts or Groupon for PRWeek, an online publication (that's the PRWeek gang when they rang the NASDAQ bell); Cleshawn (to the right) is employed in the fashion industry where she has also worked as a writer and editor, as well as in marketing and wardrobe departments.


Palina Prakapovich was awarded the Rose Goldstein Memorial Scholarship for meritorious undergraduate students in need of financial assistance.




Five students presented at the HULLS 2012 Conference at Hunter College on May 5th, as follows (starting from the upper left corner):
- Daniel Barry: Weak Grammaticalisation of Auxiliary Verbs in Kazakh
- Neil Tupas: The Metalinguistic Perception of Color by Speakers of Hangeul, Mandarin, and Siamese
- Yana Abakina: Attrition and Code-Switching in the Language Production of Dominant English-Russian Speaking Students
- Tatiana Sulim and Pinny Gold: Discourse and Disfluency Markers in the Speech of Four Nonnative Speakers of English

And here are most of the above speakers with Profs. Patkowski and Barrière at the end of the day.


The founding meeting of the Brooklyn College Linguistics Club took place on November 29th, 2011, and the club officers were elected: Victoria Wagnerman (President); Jackie Anzaroot (Vice-President); Emory Sullivan (Secretary); Matthew Corazzelli and Michael Perez (co-Treasurers). Also in attendance were Fiona Chan, Erwin Chua, David Beagle, Cleshawn Montague, and Profs. Gonsalves and Patkowski. Preliminary planning for club events next semester was also on the agenda.

And its first event involved a presentation by Professor Robert Vago, chair of the Department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College whose talk was entitled, "I am bilingual - so what's happening to my first language?" Here, he is receiving thanks from Victoria at the end of the presentation.




Several linguistics majors (as well as students from other departments at Brooklyn College) presented at the HULLS (Hunter Undergraduate Linguistics and Language Studies) Conference on May 7th. The event was very well attended, as can be seen in the first shot below of Roy Wells discussing "Common Problems Between Japanese and English." On the lower-left, we have Victoria Wagnerman ("The Formulaic Language Proficiency of Well-Educated Non-Native English Speakers"), and on the lower right Prof. Cavanaugh with three of her students, Agnieszka Stypulkowska (Anthropology), Maja Leodardsen Musum (Film Production), and Ingrid Feeney (Linguistics) who presented on "'Disco Sticks' and 'Catcher's Mitts': Gender and Terms for the Genitals Among New Yorkers." The insert shows Gulbarchyn Kyshtobaeva (Speech) whose topic was "The Characteristics of Nouns and Verbs in Kyrgyz: Evidence from Child and Adult Language Production."



Prof. Barrière, Lilach Gez (Speech major/Linguistics minor), and Tami Mor (an M.A. student from Queens College and the first author on the project), gave a poster presentation at the CUNY Graduate Center's Student Research Day in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences on April 15th. The topic was "Emergent Literacy in Bilingual Hebrew/English Preschoolers." Lilach served as a research assistant on this project, along with Naomi Baine (Linguistics major) who was unable to attend the event. She greatly enjoyed hearing other students and professors present their research, meeting several Graduate Center faculty members, and "exploring and finding my own niche while seeing how others have developed their careers in the field."



Several students met in the linguistics office on Feb 17, 2011 for a little get together and brief presentations by Profs. Patkowski and Gonsalves in preparation for the trek to the CUNY Graduate Center to attend Noam Chomsky's talk "On Problems of Projection." (Yes, yes, bare phrase structure was discussed too, despite the X-bar diagram on the board).

(from bottom left, clockwise: Roy Wells, Victoria Wagnerman, Jacqueline Anzaroot, Erwin Chua, Prof. Patkowski, Emory Sullivan, Fiona Chan, Cleshawn Montague, Tommy Denby, Prof. Gonsalves, and Naomi Baine - Victoria Bagirova joined the gang at the Graduate Center)

A few brief reactions: Tommy was struck by "Chomsky's deep sense that the world presents itself to him as a series of puzzles, and that every time a question is answered, another pops up." Along similar lines, Roy was taken with Chomsky adjunction to "be puzzled by simple things," and added that "it is what we take for granted that becomes most interesting once we take a closer look, something I am personally discovering through linguistics." Victoria found his argument "that language is designed primarily for internal computation and function… and isn't particularly efficient for conveying meaning externally" surprising yet compelling. Erwin was greatly impressed by his lack of pretension, "by how humble he is despite his intelligence."