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What's your specialization?

Subfield(s)?   144 votes

  1. 1. Subfield(s)?

    • Syntax
      22
    • Semantics
      16
    • Phonetics/Phonology
      27
    • Morphology
      7
    • Psycholinguistics
      22
    • Computational
      10
    • Historical
      12
    • Other (specify in a post!)
      20
    • Formal
      5
    • Functional
      3

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62 posts in this topic

Posted

I'm curious about what you guys plan to focus yourselves on (if you know yet). Also, I included the option to choose between formal and functional, just because I'm curious. I doubt anyone is very extremist wrt that issue, but if you lean either way, I'd like to hear why. Feel free to include more info in a post, too.

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Posted

I chose semantics, which is my main focus, but I'm also interested in its interface with syntax and pragmatics (which btw isn't on the list at all).

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Posted

I chose semantics, which is my main focus, but I'm also interested in its interface with syntax and pragmatics (which btw isn't on the list at all).

Yeah sorry about that. There's a limit of 10 items for each poll. I had to leave out things that I normally wouldn't have, but hopefully the "Other" option or an informative post can take care of any deficiencies.

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Posted

I chose semantics, which is my main focus, but I'm also interested in its interface with syntax and pragmatics (which btw isn't on the list at all).

I've never really gotten into semantics (beyond the intro stuff of course). Who's big in that field? I never thought of UCLA as being a semantics place; who would you work with there?

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Posted

Question to whoever voted for morphology (or anyone for that matter): do you think of morphology as a more syntactic or more phonological process? Or something else?

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Posted

I've never really gotten into semantics (beyond the intro stuff of course). Who's big in that field? I never thought of UCLA as being a semantics place; who would you work with there?

It depends on the kind of semantics you want to do. For formal semantics I guess the Massachusetts schools - both MIT and UMass - have been very productive in the last decade or more. I haven't found one place that had more than 3 people who do (what I consider) interesting work, and I applied to almost all of the places that had 2. At UCLA I'd probably work with either Daniel B

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Posted

I'm curious about what you guys plan to focus yourselves on (if you know yet). Also, I included the option to choose between formal and functional, just because I'm curious. I doubt anyone is very extremist wrt that issue, but if you lean either way, I'd like to hear why. Feel free to include more info in a post, too.

I totally don't know yet. I loved studying language change but it's not very marketable, and also enjoyed syntax quite a bit. Now I work as an applied linguist at a company that makes language learning software (where I've had to study a lot of SLA and do some field linguistics on low-resource languages), so I'm completely mixed up about what to do. I'm hoping to narrow that down in grad school... :)

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Posted

It depends on the kind of semantics you want to do. For formal semantics I guess the Massachusetts schools - both MIT and UMass - have been very productive in the last decade or more. I haven't found one place that had more than 3 people who do (what I consider) interesting work, and I applied to almost all of the places that had 2. At UCLA I'd probably work with either Daniel B

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Posted

I think Peter Lasersohn's research is great and focuses on some very popular subjects nowadays like events and plurality. I've read some of his work for one of my projects and enjoyed it very much. I'm sure you'd get a great education taking his semantics courses. The only problem is that I don't recognize any other name on the UIUC website and it can be a bit limiting only getting one perspective on a subject. But if it's only 1-2 courses, it should be fine.

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Posted

I chose others, as my field is more towards applied linguistics.

I wrote my MA thesis using conversation analysis and although I'm not quite sure how things will turn out

as to which program I choose to go for my PhD, my concentration will still be pretty much focused on CA and SLA and

interlanguage pragmatics.

Wow, it's nice to be able to talk about this with people who understand what I'm talking about!

I find people asking me what I'm studying when I tell them I'm going to grad school, and then when I do tell them,

they pull these faces..... like they have no IDEA what I'm talking about. :!:

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Posted

Question to whoever voted for morphology (or anyone for that matter): do you think of morphology as a more syntactic or more phonological process? Or something else?

I definitely think of morphology as more structure/meaning based, and therefore more closely related to syntax and semantics than to phonology, especially since the same morpheme can be represented by different phonemes, and vice versa.

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Posted

they pull these faces..... like they have no IDEA what I'm talking about. :!:

I know what you mean; I actually had a coworker at the restaurant I work for recoil in horror when she looked over my shoulder at what I was reading (a linguistics text). Granted, she's never been the sharpest tool in the shed, as the saying goes, but her reaction was as though she would melt from looking at it.

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Posted

I definitely think of morphology as more structure/meaning based, and therefore more closely related to syntax and semantics than to phonology, especially since the same morpheme can be represented by different phonemes, and vice versa.

That's very interesting. I always thought morphology went hand-in-hand with phonology. I can think of more phonologists who have published about morphology than syntacticians, and intro to phonology courses at my university always devote several weeks to morphology. Syntax classes touched on morphology but with an entirely different aim in mind.

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Posted

That's very interesting. I always thought morphology went hand-in-hand with phonology. I can think of more phonologists who have published about morphology than syntacticians, and intro to phonology courses at my university always devote several weeks to morphology. Syntax classes touched on morphology but with an entirely different aim in mind.

Distributed morphology is the main syntactic approach that comes to my mind. If you go to Penn or Arizona or NYU, there'll be some people who can tell you lots about it. It's a bit too extreme for my tastes, but it does account for lots of data well.

http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~rnoyer/dm/

Are there any others? The next closest thing I can think of is A-morphous morphology cf Stephen Anderson.

Random tangent: anyone else regretting not applying to a certain school? I suddenly wish that I had applied to Yale...

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Posted

Yeah, distributed morphology is a bear. I spent almost half a quarter studying it in a syntax class though, so that'll tell you where IT lies at least.

On another subject, I've had this conversation too many times:

"I'm particularly interested in phonology."

"Wait, what? You mean . . . analyzing the bumps on people's heads?"

At that point I have to just say yes and offer to do a reading.

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Posted

Yeah, distributed morphology is a bear. I spent almost half a quarter studying it in a syntax class though, so that'll tell you where IT lies at least.

On another subject, I've had this conversation too many times:

"I'm particularly interested in phonology."

"Wait, what? You mean . . . analyzing the bumps on people's heads?"

At that point I have to just say yes and offer to do a reading.

It's funny to me that more people would know about phrenology (a long-dead "science") than phonology (a living science).

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Posted

It's funny to me that more people would know about phrenology (a long-dead "science") than phonology (a living science).

Funny to me in a sad way. The same sad way that more people know about astrology than astronomy.

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Posted

Agreed!

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Posted

I think it's bizarre that nobody here has voted for computational linguistics yet. Is it just unfamiliar territory that you might explore, or do you know something about it and want to do something else?

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Posted

"I'm particularly interested in phonology."

"Wait, what? You mean . . . analyzing the bumps on people's heads?"

hahahahahahah.

That's hilarious!!!! :lol:

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Posted

I think it's bizarre that nobody here has voted for computational linguistics yet. Is it just unfamiliar territory that you might explore, or do you know something about it and want to do something else?

Well, you can make quite a bit of money outside of academia with it, but you'll end up working on improving AVRs so some company can lay off another call center, programming systems to monitor the market for banks and stockbrokers, or programming spy systems to monitor voice communications for terrorist keywords. Despite the money, at the end of the day those are jobs at a computer in a pit. Too much office and not enough research. If you're a computer programmer and you like your job but want to boost your income bracket, it's a great choice. For a scientist, however dedicated to research you are, if you're looking at an academic post offering 36k, and some company or government is offering 160k, can you resist?

Actually, I'm rereading that last line there and reconsidering my specialty. It would be nice not to be broke. You really have to be a top-notch programmer above all though.

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Posted

Well, you can make quite a bit of money outside of academia with it, but you'll end up working on improving AVRs so some company can lay off another call center, programming systems to monitor the market for banks and stockbrokers, or programming spy systems to monitor voice communications for terrorist keywords. Despite the money, at the end of the day those are jobs at a computer in a pit. Too much office and not enough research. If you're a computer programmer and you like your job but want to boost your income bracket, it's a great choice. For a scientist, however dedicated to research you are, if you're looking at an academic post offering 36k, and some company or government is offering 160k, can you resist?

Actually, I'm rereading that last line there and reconsidering my specialty. It would be nice not to be broke. You really have to be a top-notch programmer above all though.

I certainly can't tell you that your opinion is wrong. I would like to point out that computer science is doing pretty well as an academic field, so certainly some people can resist that 160k. I'd like to think that I could be one of those people.

Maybe I should have said something like "computer science as applied to linguistics/linguistics as applied to computer science" -- anything from corpus work to actually building a working model of some aspects of whatever theory you're into. At this point, I would consider my research aim to be semantics, first and foremost. Computers would just help me understand things about it (for example, via automatic semantic role labelers and parsers and whatnot).

I dunno. I think it's pretty awesome. Plus, in my perfect world (in my daydreams), layoffs don't exist and everything I do makes the world better.

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Posted

At this point, I would consider my research aim to be semantics, first and foremost. Computers would just help me understand things about it (for example, via automatic semantic role labelers and parsers and whatnot).

I've been having similar thoughts. I think I'd like to use all kinds of methods in my work to test the likelihood of my theories, starting with the simple rule of "there *are* other languages besides English"; I'd also like to know more about things like MRIs, eye-tracking experiments and computer models that can test a theory's feasibility on a computational level. But, for me these are all just tools for doing semantic research, they're not the goal of my research.

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Posted

I certainly can't tell you that your opinion is wrong.

Sure you can! In fact, I encourage it. I love to hear different perspectives on it, particularly if someone has it has a specialty. My impression of career opportunities is from years of reading the job postings on the Linguist List and on other job boards. Once you discount the erroneously named translator jobs that the military calls linguists, the kinds of jobs I mentioned have comprised the largest non-academic job segment in linguistics, while academic opportunities for comp ling are relatively scarce and comparatively underpaid.

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Posted

Sure you can! In fact, I encourage it.

Haha thanks! To be honest, I was kind of trying to, in a very sensitive, polite kind of way. Plus, I don't really know what I'm talking about.

academic opportunities for comp ling are relatively scarce and comparatively underpaid.

Interesting. Underpaid, yes, but I'd like to hope that the kind of comp ling that I'm into (as a sort of supplement to a regular theoretical subfield) would give me an edge in the academic job market. Additionally, it might be less common, but I think a comp linguist might be able to find a job in a CS department somewhere, if they're good enough.

Regardless of whether I'm right about the job thing, I think comp ling is really cool and will pursue it :D.

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