LINGUIST List 14.1452

Tue May 20 2003

FYI: LSA Ballot; Cognitive Neuroscience at Nijmegen

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Jonathan Ginzburg, LSA ballot
  2. Wietske Vonk, Master's Program Cognitive Neuroscience Nijmegen

Message 1: LSA ballot

Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 12:23:40 +0100
From: Jonathan Ginzburg <ginzburgdcs.kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: LSA ballot


Re Linguist 14.1356

Moderators' note: After consulting the LINGUIST Advisory Panel, we
have come to the conclusion that we made an error in judgement when we
decided to post Richard Hudson's message. We agree with the Panel's
advice that, in the interest of reaching an equitable compromise, we
post the following response from Jonathan Ginzburg. This will conclude
all discussion of the LSA ballot and/or resolution on LINGUIST List.

Dear List,
	
I also do not wish to reopen the discussion of boycotts. Nonetheless,
Dick Hudson's remarks on the (background statement that goes with) LSA
ballot resolution are misleading and need setting straight. Indeed
they illustrate some mildly interesting linguistic points.
	
Hudson fails to see why the LSA should take interest on the issue of
boycotts, `(the only) one (that) has nothing specifically to do with
language or linguistics'. This happens to be factually incorrect.
Hudson fails to mention that the instigating event was the removal of
two linguists from the board of a linguistics journal by Mona Baker.
Indeed, there is another resolution in this same LSA bulletin that
concerns the dismissal of linguists from the Defense Language
Institute due to their sexual orientation. It seems perfectly apt for
the LSA to take an interest in any event that involves linguists
suffering persecution of some kind,for whatever reason (nationality,
sexual orientation, religion etc), particularly if it involves their
ability to engage in professional activity.

Hudson complains about the indirect summary of the Guardian letter he
co-authored used in the LSA ballot proposal. His complaint is a
classic illustration of the tenuous nature of the semantics/pragmatics
boundary. The Guardian letter states "Although we write as
individuals, we MAY (Hudson's added emphasis, not present in the
original, J.G.) speak for a large body of opinion in our field because
we are the past presidents of the Linguistics Association since 1980."
While not explicitly stating that, as the LSA ballot puts it, they
'speak for a large body of opinion in our field', the implicature is
entirely unavoidable---otherwise, why would the authors explicitly
mention their status as ex-presidents of the LAGB, a position of
academic prestige, influence etc? Indeed this also illustrates the
potential usefulness of ambiguity, as the letter's `may' is open to
construal as either an epistemic or deontic modal.

>From entailment/implicature, we can now move to anaphora resolution.
Hudson protests that the LSA resolution connects like with unlike: he
cites two adjacent sentences in the statement

`Citing their past presidencies, they claimed to "speak for a large
body of opinion in our field." In response, several linguists in
Britain requested that the LSA consider a resolution condemning
academic boycotts.'

Hudson wonders: "How could the LSA resolution against boycotts be a
response to a letter about something quite different?". His objection
is based on a mistaken resolution of the null anaphor associated with
"in response". In fact, if one takes a look at the statement
(http://www.lsadc.org/web2/march03bulletin/index.htm), it is clear
that the intended referent of "in response", is not the Guardian
letter, but the whole sequence of events that lead up to it, starting
with the Rose's boycott, continuing with Mona Baker's actions, and
concluding with the Guardian letter. . There is, as common in
anaphora, a tendency to resolve to the closest possible antecedent, as
Hudson did, but this is but a tendency, as discussed and exemplified
in work on this type of anaphora by (inter alia) Bonnie Webber and
Nicholas Asher.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Ginzburg

Dept of Computer Science
King's College, London
The Strand, London WC2R 2LS
UK

fax: +44-20-7848-2851
ginzburgdcs.kcl.ac.uk
http://www.dcs.kcl.ac.uk/staff/ginzburg
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Message 2: Master's Program Cognitive Neuroscience Nijmegen

Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 12:44:56 +0000
From: Wietske Vonk <vonkmpi.nl>
Subject: Master's Program Cognitive Neuroscience Nijmegen

Master's Program Cognitive Neuroscience Nijmegen, The Netherlands In
September 2003 the University of Nijmegen will be starting a two-years
international Master's program in Cognitive Neuroscience. All courses
will be given in English. In addition to a common course program,
students can select courses from three specializations:
Psycholinguistics, Perception and Action, Neurocognition. The research
institutes involved in the implementation of the MSc-program include
the Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information (NICI), the
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (FCDC), the Centre for
Language Studies (CLS), the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
(MPI), the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS), and
the Nijmegen Institute for Neuroscience (NIN). For more information
and the complete study guide, see www.cns.kun.nl
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