Conference: BLS 39

The 39th annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society will be held at the University of California, Berkeley on FEBRUARY 16-17, 2013.

The Berkeley Linguistics Society is the second oldest graduate student-run linguistics society in the United States. Its primary purpose is to organize an annual conference (the Annual Meeting), which takes place in February each year.

The meeting will comprise a Special Session, two Parasessions, and a General Session. Session information and invited speakers are provided below; information on all other talks will be posted here soon. Past programs can be viewed here.


The BLS 39 special session invites papers pertaining to all aspects of space and directionality in language, a phenomenon that concerns linguists and researchers in many related fields. We invite submissions form all linguistic subfields and theoretical frameworks, and we strongly encourage interdisciplinary work spanning two or more disciplines, such as anthropology and psychology.

The special session aims to investigate the encoding of space and directionality in signed and spoken languages, as well as the conceptualization and partitioning of these dimensions. Relevant topics for papers include but are not limited to spatial categorization, gesture, deixis and indexicality, directional morphology, and sound symbolism.

Invited Special Session Speakers

J├╝rgen Bohnemeyer, University at Buffalo: Frames of reference in language, culture, and cognition: The Mesoamerican evidence
Eve Danziger, University of Virginia: Following Our Noses: Frames of Reference in and out of Space
Joost Zwarts, Utrecht University: Ways of going ‘back’: A case study in direction

This parasession is dedicated to papers on the languages of Southeastern Asia, including but not limited to languages of the Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai, and Tibeto-Burman families. We welcome papers from diverse theoretical frameworks and sub-fields of linguistics.

Invited Parasession Speakers

Marc Brunelle, University of Ottawa: Tone typology and contact-driven change in Mainland Southeast Asia
Peter Jenks, University of California, Berkeley: Quantifier Float and Scope in Thai

This parasession explores new approaches to understanding the prehistoric distribution of humans, their population movements, and their ways of life through application of theoretical linguistics, especially data-intensive approaches that make use of computational power. Relevant topics for papers include but are not limited to phylogenetic and comparative-method studies in historical linguistics, explorations of phonological and morphosyntactic typology in physical space, and linguistic paleontology.

Invited Parasession Speakers

Russell Gray, University of Auckland: Talk TBA

The General Session covers all areas of linguistic research. A wide variety of presentations given from various theoretical frameworks are scheduled.

Graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley run all of the organization’s operations, from publishing the Proceedings to selecting the Special and Parasession topics and putting on the Annual Meeting itself. After the successful close of each Annual Meeting, leadership and responsibility for the day-to-day running of BLS are transferred to the next year’s second-year cohort, who comprise the BLS Executive Committee.

BLS 39 Executive Committee

Nicholas Baier, Erin Donnelly, Matthew Faytak, Joseph Giroux, Matthew Goss, Jevon Heath, John Merrill, Kelsey Neely, Melanie Redeye

More info: