LINGUIST List 10.346

Fri Mar 5 1999

FYI: Humor, EAMT workshop, Mixed languages workshop

Editor for this issue: Brett Churchill <>


  1. Heidi B. Harley, Linguistics humor: Simpsons, cont.
  2. Martin Cmejrek, Machine Translation
  3. Peter Bakker, Workshop on mixed languages in Aarhus

Message 1: Linguistics humor: Simpsons, cont.

Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 15:09:28 -0500 (EST)
From: Heidi B. Harley <>
Subject: Linguistics humor: Simpsons, cont.

Since there's been a few postings on the subject of linguistics humor
lately, including one mentioning the classic "embiggens" from the
Simpsons, I thought I'd point out that the Simpsons is full of
linguistically amusing wordplay in general. My suspicion is that Groening
(the creator) is a _linguiste manque'_ and peppers the series with jokes
that are all the funnier if you're familiar with lingusitic theory. 
Here are some of my favorite examples:

1999 valentine's day episode: Kent Brockman (the news anchor) is narrating
a story about how Abu is giving his wife many extravagant presents for
Valentine's day, and the rest of the town's wives are annoyed at their
husbands for their comparative romantic lameness. He says something like:

"One Springfield man is treating his wife to an extra-special valentine's
day this year, (sotto voce) and introubulating the rest of us."
	(where "introubulate" of course means "get into trouble").

ISLAND violation:
1998 Christmas episode: The Simpsons' house has been broken into on
Christmas eve, and all their christmas presents and decorations stolen.
Homer is telling his woes to Moe, the barman, and Moe sympathises. He
"You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society!"

CONSTITUENCY in verb-particle constructions:
1998 Christmas episode, same one. Kent Brockman is narrating a news story
about the Simpsons' misfortune. The story starts something like:

"Something WAS stirring in one Springfield house this Christmas eve, and
what it was stirring was up trouble!"

DEIXIS in personal pronouns:
I just noticed this one in a rerun from a couple of years ago. Homer has
brought his family along on a business team-building exercise in the
woods, and Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are stuck in the National Park
Service building while all the employees are off team-building (Homer and
Burns eventually get trapped in a cabin by an avalanche). Bart is standing
in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a
little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation) "Who is the only one who can stop forest

Bart: (examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and
"me". He presses "you").

Smokey: (electronic intonation) "You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is
incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you."

As I've become more aware of these tendencies of Groening's, I notice more
and more. I'm beginning to think that someone should keep track of such
examples and write Groening to let him know the relevant linguistic
theory, and persuade him to pursue what is clearly his calling. Who knows,
maybe he'd donate some money to deserving linguistic charities.


Heidi Harley
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Message 2: Machine Translation

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:31:35 +0100 (MET)
From: Martin Cmejrek <>
Subject: Machine Translation

Second announcement

The European Association for Machine Translation in the collaboration with
the Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of
Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, are pleased to announce that
the 1999 EAMT Workshop will be held at the Krystal hotel, Jose Marti Str.,
Prague 6, Czech Republic on April 22 - 23, 1999. The welcome reception is
scheduled for Wednesday 21, April 21st.

The theme of the workshop is:
 EU and the new languages
 Translation - possibilities, policies and practicalities

All who are interested in Machine Translation or in any related area are
very welcome to attend!

Please find programme and registration information at

or refer to Martin Cmejrek:

For your convenience, you can find the ASCII version at the end of the

Yours sincerely

Martin Cmejrek

Martin Cmejrek
Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics,
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics,
Charles University
Malostranske namesti 25,
CZ-118 00, Prague
Phone: ++420-2-2191-4304

Eva Hajicova, Director
Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics,
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics,
Charles University
Malostranske namesti 25,
CZ-118 00, Prague
Phone: ++420-2-2191-4252 

- -----------------------------------------------------------
 EAMT Workshop
 EU and the new languages
 Translation - possibilities, policies and practicalities
 April 22-23
 Prague, Hotel Krystal

 Preliminary Programme
 (this programme is dated February 10th 1999. It is subject to change)

- Welcome and introduction

 Eva Hajicova, Prague, Local organizer

 John Hutchins, EAMT president

 Bente Maegaard, Copenhagen, Programme Committee chair 

- Government language policy

 Czech Coordinative Centre for Translation of EU materials (speaker
to be announced)

- Experience from translation of EU documents

 Gabor Proszeky, Morphologic, Budapest

- Local business with a translation need (e.g. because of machine
directive, patents)

 Speaker to be announced

- Aligning and extracting translation equivalents from EU documents - a
possible look on EU integration 

 Elena Paskaleva, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia

- EU: Preparing for new languages

 Dimitri Theologitis, EC Translation Services (SdT), Luxembourg

- News from large international MT providers

 - The SYSTRAN approach to development of tools for the
new languages
 D. Sabatakakis, SYSTRAN, Luxembourg

 - The new Logos Concept (Translation Technology,
Language Services, Consulting)
 Friederike Bruckert, Logos 

 - The L&H approach to development of tools for the new
 Gregor Thurmair, Lernout & Hauspie

- On translation between closely related languages, with examples from
Czech and Slovak

 Jan Hajic and Vladislav Kubon, Charles University, Prague

- Translation to and from Russian: the ETAP-3 system (to be confirmed)

 Igor Boguslavsky, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

- On intermediate structures and tectogrammatics with regard to
simplifying transfer

 Petr Sgall, Prague 

- Tools for the CEEC languages, an overview (to be confirmed)

 Poul Andersen, EC DG XIII, Luxembourg

- On automatic dictionary extraction from Czech-English parallel corpora,

 Martin Cmejrek, Jan Curin, Charles University, Prague

- Summary and Conclusions

 Dimitri Theologitis, EC Translation Services (SdT), Luxembourg

- Close
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Message 3: Workshop on mixed languages in Aarhus

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 11:50:25 MET
From: Peter Bakker <>
Subject: Workshop on mixed languages in Aarhus

May 6,7, 8.

This workshop will bring together a number of people who have been 
working on the genesis of mixed languages from a variety of 
perspectives. We consider as mixed languages not Pidgins and Creoles, 
but rather those languages which cannot be classified in a genetic 
tree model, because they inherit one component (e.g. the lexicon) 
from one language and another component (e.g. the grammatical system) 
from different language. Prime examples are languages like Ma'a, 
Media Lengua, Michif, Mednyj Aleut and Para-Romani verieties such as 
 At the Leiden workshop on mixed languages in 1994 (1), the 
participants spoke about particular languages that they had been 
working on. Few people at that time were aware of the existence of 
class (or classes) of mixed languages. In the meantime, more and more 
linguists have become aware of the fact that they do constitute a 
special type, be it not necessarily homogenous in structure or
function. A handful of books and a number of articles on the subject 
have been published in the last five years, and a few others are in 
preparation. These mixed languages pose special challenges, not only 
as to the question of their genesis and their structural similarities 
and differences, but also for linguistic theories and 
psycholinguistic models. At this workshop, the focus will not 
be on the individual languages, but on the general properties and 
issues. Participants are asked to give informal presentations about 
special subjects. We hope to have speakers on the following subjects:
- codeswitching and the genesis of mixed languages
- Creoles and mixed languages
- types of mixed languages
- functions of mixed languages
- phonology of mixed languages
- registers and mixed languages
- use of historical data in mixed language research
- language death and mixed languages
- bilingual acquisition and mixed languages
- intergenerational competence differences and the genesis of mixed 
- relexification and mixed languages
- lexically mixed pidgins, Creoles and other languages
- bilingual production/processing and mixed languages
- distortion of form in mixed languages
- how many structurally different types of mixed languages are there
- mixed languages and historical linguistics
- mixed languages without systematic mixture
- diachronic evolution of mixed languages
- alternatives to the genetic tree model
- mixed languages, predictability and retrospection
- convergence and mixed languages
- language contact phenomena in the Chinese-Mongolian-Turkic-Tibetan 
- field report on Danish Romani
- mixed languages and typology
- extreme borrowing and mixed languages
- secret languages and mixed languages

Hopefully, there will not only be linguists, but also some people 
from other disciplines, notably biology and psychology, who will be 
able to give their view on some of the matter.
 The workshop will take place on the University Campus, 
Conference Centre, Nordre Ringgade 1, Richard Mortensen Stue, on 
Thursday May 6 (afternoon), May 7 (whole day) and May 8 (morning 
 Aarhus is the second city of Denmark, and the capital of 
Jutland. The University has some 20.000 students. The linguistic 
department has a small, but growing staff, and the number of students
increases each year. Visit the institute's websites on and The campus of Aarhus university is found on 
the fringe of the city centre. Aarhus can be reached by car, train, 
bicycle, boat and aeroplane. The bus to and between Aarhus Tirstrup 
Airport takes 50 minutes and the bus trip between Billund Airport and 
Aarhus 80 minutes.

There is still room for more people, both as participants and 
speakers. Please contact Peter Bakker as soon as possible if you want 
to come.

(1) The book which resulted from this workshop (Bakker & Mous 
eds., 1994) is still available. Its new distributor is HAG 
(Holland Academic Graphics) in The Hague. Address: P.O. Box 53292, 
2505 AG The Hague, Netherlands. E-mail:


Peter Bakker
Aarhus University
Willemoesgade 15-D
8200 Aarhus N

tel. 00-45-8942.2178
fax: 00-45-8942.2175
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