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MIT Linguistics has celebrated the Halloween season with an annual pumpkin carving party since 2010, the year that Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine PhD ’14 dazzled his fellow scholars with this Stata-o’-lantern. It was created in the likeness of Building 32, MIT's iconic Ray and Maria Stata Center, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and home to the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and more.

“I somehow had the idea of trying to carve the Stata Center,” says Erlewine, now an assistant professor of linguistics at the National University of Singapore. “Of course, this would require a deconstruction of the pumpkin form itself!”

Other notable designs over the years have included a Noam-o’-lantern in the likeness of Professor Emeritus of Linguistics Noam Chomsky; a pumpkin sporting the Chinese character for language; and a carving of Professor of Linguistics Norvin Richards with his trademark Davis Square t-shirt.

“I entered the program in 2011 and I think the carving began spontaneously a year before me,” says Snejana Iovtcheva, current PhD student who has organized the annual event since 2013. “It became an MIT Linguistics tradition. We now have also candies, cookies, cakes, too! It is fun for all the students, but especially so for international students who are new to pumpkin carving.”




Prepared by SHASS Communications for Scene at MIT, an MIT News column
Emily Hiestand, Communications Director
Daniel Evans Pritchard, Communications Associate
Photo: Courtesy of MIT Linguistics

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