Cornell Linguistics Circle


The Cornell Linguistics Circle is the graduate student organization of the Cornell Department of Linguistics. It provides a platform to represent the graduate student body at both the department and university level. The CLC also aims to encourage balance between academic and social life by coordinating graduate student events. We also host reading groups and curate an array of resources for linguistics graduate students, such as a library, a database of teaching materials, and a variety of useful links and information. The CLC has also been in charge of copyediting and publishing the proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) since its inception.

CLC Officers 2019-2020

President: Frances Sobolak
Treasurer: Cindy Qin
Junior Treasurer: Burak Oney
Speaker Series Coordinator (Senior): Young-Hoon Kim
Speaker Series Coordinator (Junior): Jane Lu
SALT Editors (Senior): Thomas Darnell & John Starr
SALT Editors (Junior): Juhyae Kim & Burak Oney
GPSA Representative: Juhyae Kim
Web Administrator: Thomas Darnell
Librarian: Evelyn Fettes
Social Committee: John Starr (chair), Anna Seo Gyeong Choi & Nianpo Su
Colloquium Caterer: N/A this semester
Outreach Liaison: Burak Oney

For more information, please contact Frances Sobolak at

CLC Colloquium Speakers

Each year CLC members invite selected linguists to come present and discuss their current research.
This speaker series is funded in part by the GPSAFC.

Jeff Mielke (March 14, 2019)

Phonetic Studies of Interesting Vowel Systems

I report acoustic and articulatory studies of two endangered languages with typologically unusual vowel systems. Bora, a Witotoan language spoken in Peru and Colombia, has been described as having a three-way backness contrast between unrounded high vowels /i ɨ ɯ/. An audio-video investigation of Bora vowels reveals that while none of these vowels are produced with lip rounding, the vowel described as /ɨ/ is actually a front vowel with extreme lingual-dental contact. This appears to be a previously unknown vowel type. Kalasha, a Dardic language spoken in Pakistan, has been described as having 20 vowel phonemes: plain /i e a o u/, nasalized /ĩ ẽ ã õ ũ/, retroflex /i˞ e˞ a˞ o˞ u˞/, and retroflex nasalized /ĩ˞ ẽ˞ ã˞ õ˞ ũ˞/. An ultrasound study of Kalasha vowels shows that the vowels described as retroflex are produced not with retroflexion but with various combinations of tongue bunching and pharyngealization, raising questions about if and how these phonetic dimensions should be integrated with notions of basic vowel quality. I discuss implications of the Bora and Kalasha data for models of vowel features.

Florian Schwarz (October 11, 2018)

The role of linear order in interpretation -- A case study on presupposition projection from conjunction

Mark Hale (February 22, 2018)

Second Positions in Latin

Jessica Coon (October 12, 2017)

Feature Gluttony and Hierarchy Effects

Edith Aldridge (March 23, 2017)

Case and Parameter Change in Chinese

John Goldsmith (November 3, 2016)

Unsupervised Learning of Morphology, and What It Teaches Us about Learning and Explanation

Dan Jurafsky (October 20, 2016)

Discovering Laws of Semantic Change and Extracting Social and Pragmatic Meaning from Everyday Interactions: On applying Computational Linguistics to the Social Science of Language

Roger Levy (September 23, 2016)

Bayesian Pragmatics: Lexical Uncertainty, Compositionality, and the Typology of Conversational Implicature

Martin Hackl (April 7, 2016)

On the Role of Question Answer Congruence, Scalar Presupposition, and the Structure of Alternatives in the Acquisition and Processing of "Only"

Keith Johnson (March 3, 2016)

Adventures in Phonetic Neuroscience

Judith Tonhauser (October 8, 2015)

Projection variability

Alan Yu (September 10, 2015)

The United States Supreme Court oral arguments as a sociophonetic corpus

Mandy Simons (April 16, 2015)

How questions and answers cohere

Paul Kiparsky (April 9, 2015)

Syntactic drift and convergence

Patricia Keating (March 19, 2015)

Linguistic voice quality

Jason Merchant (February 19, 2015)

Joint selection


The CLC hosts a number of recurring and one-time workshops throughout the academic year.

Workshops for 2020-2021

  • 10/30/2020 - LaTeX for Linguists: By Lingzi Zhuang
  • 1/27/2021 - How to Build a Website: By Mary Maroney

Workshops for 2018-2019

  • 10/18/2018 - LaTeX for Linguists: By Forrest Davis and Mia Wiegand
  • 11/8/2018 - How to Build a Website: By Jacob Collard

Workshops for 2017-2018

  • 3/1/2017 - How to Build a Website: By Jacob Collard
  • 10/26/2017 - LaTeX for Linguists: By Mia Wiegand, Carol-Rose Little, and Jacob Collard.

Workshops from 2016-2017

  • 9/29/2016 - LaTeX for Linguists: By Todd Snider, Zac Smith, and Mia Wiegand
  • 12/1/2016 - How to Build your Webpage 101: By Zac Smith and Jacob Collard

Workshops from 2015-2016

  • 9/25/2015 - Professional development workshop: By department faculty.
  • 10/6/2015 - Natural Language Processing with SpaCy: By Jacob Collard
  • 10/29/2015 - LaTeX for Linguists: By Todd Snider & Zac Smith
  • 10/29/2015 - How to Build your Webpage 101: By Zac Smith and Todd Snider

We have also held one-time workshops on parsing, developing grammars for NLP, and writing abstracts, among other topics.

Social Events

The CLC organizes a variety of social events every year, including ski trips, movie nights, and picnics.

Recurring Events

  • Weekly Coffee & Cupcake Hour
  • Welcome Back, year-end, and summer BBQ picnics
  • Holiday party
  • Prospective Students Weekend
  • Apple picking
  • Skiing

Pictures of Past Events

Reading Groups

The primary aim of the CLC reading groups is to foster informal discussion of a wide range of topics. Members can also present their own research projects at various stages of development, from ideas just starting out to polished conference talks.

Syntax Circle

Syntax Circle meets weekly to discuss papers chosen by the participants or to hear presentations from members. Topics range from formal grammars to distributed morphology and everything in between. SynCirc currently meets every Wednesday, alternating between in-person meetings at 5 PM and Zoom meetings at 7 PM. For more information, contact Frances Sobolak at

Semantics Group

Semantics Group meets every week and provides an opportunity for students and faculty to come together to tackle current issues related to semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of language, and the syntax-semantics interface. Meetings are held Fridays from 12:25 to 1:15 PM. For more information, contact Lingzi Zhuang at


The Ph2 (Phonetics and Phonology) Reading Group hosts biweekly meetings to discuss current topics of interest in phonetics and phonology. The group meets on Fridays at 12:25 PM. For more information, contact Chloe Kwon at

Historical Reading Group

Historical Reading Group meets to discuss any and all topics, papers, and data related to historical linguistics. Recent topics include Chinese serial verb compounds, Austronesian migration patterns, and Germanic historical syntax. Meetings are held every other Tuesday at 12:15 PM in Morrill 226F. For more information, contact Evelyn Fettes at
The CLC has also hosted occasional reading groups based on the current interests of members. In the past we have had a Language Research Group. Our members also attend a variety of interdisciplinary reading groups including the Emergent System Group, the Cognitive Science Reading Group, and the NLP Group among others.