Sunday, September 30, 2012

"come to lab"

Over at the Language Log, the Mark Liberman has posted a reference to a noun phrase he found interesting. The actress Amy Adams, speaking about a director, said "he'd just say hey, come to set, I want you to- to do something…"

The Liberman found the use of "come to set" to be analogous to "go to college":
And what struck me was Adams' inclusion of set in the class of singular count nouns that can be used in a prepositional phrase without a determiner, in a non-referential or generic interpretation: come to bed, go to college, stay in school, and so on...But this isn't quite enough — I don't think that even the most dedicated chemistry researchers would talk about "going to lab"...it seems that members of certain "communities of practice" extend this class of anarthrous status-nouns in community-specific ways."
The comments section has been relatively active and I posted a few points myself regarding "going to lab", leading to a bit of a disagreement regarding the relative referentiality of several minimal sentences.

In the interest of collecting some empirical evidence, does anyone see a difference in referentiality between the following minimal set:

(a) he'd just say hey, come to set, I want you to- to do something.
(b) he'd just say hey, come to lab, I want you to- to do something.
(c) he'd just say hey, come to college, I want you to- to do something.
(e) he'd just say hey, come to church, I want you to- to do something.

I don't think any of (a-e) meet the same non-referentiality of (f-g)):

(f) She went to college in the 1970s.
(g) He goes to church on Sundays.

I think I see a poster forming... PS; Carrie Niziolek has posted a set of "in lab" examples here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My New Job: SETA

After many months of waiting, I am finally beginning my new job, which marks my return to linguistics as a career.

I am now a contracted SETA (Scientific, Engineering and Technical Assistant) for US government Program Managers who fund scientific research and development projects related to linguistics in academia and industry. My principle role will be more-or-less as a consultant, advising PMs about state-of-the-art research and methods in cognitive linguistics and computational linguistics in order to facilitate their funded programs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marc Hauser [finally] responds

And his defense is that he tried to do too much?? Ugh, this reeks of self-obsessed arrogance:
Although I have fundamental differences with some of the findings in the ORI report, I acknowledge that I made mistakes. I tried to do too much, teaching courses, running a large lab of students, sitting on several editorial boards, directing the Mind, Brain & Behavior Program at Harvard, conducting multiple research collaborations, and writing for the general public. I let important details get away from my control, and as head of the lab, I take responsibility for all errors made within the lab, whether or not I was directly involved. I am saddened that this investigation has caused some to question all of my work, rather than the few papers and unpublished studies in question. Before, during and after the investigation, many of my lab’s research findings were replicated by independent researchers. I remain proud of the many important papers generated by myself, my collaborators and my students over the years. I am also deeply gratified to see my students carve out significant areas of research at major universities around the world.
Ugh...

NLPers: How would you characterize your linguistics background?

That was the poll question my hero Professor Emily Bender posed on Twitter March 30th. 573 tweets later, a truly epic thread had been cre...