Last week, Junko was at WAFL (Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics) 13. Junko and Armin were on the organizing committee of this year’s WAFL, taking place at ICU (Junko’s undergraduate alma mater) in Tokyo, Japan. Junko had this to say:

“There were many interesting presentations at WAFL (on Korean, Japanese, Turkish, and related languages and dialects), and the discussions after each talk were particularly lively given the language focus. The keynote speakers were Jaklin Kornfilt (Syracuse University) and former LRC visitor, Haruo Kubozono (NINJAL, National Institute of Japanese Linguistics). Talks and posters were given by former UCSC EAP exchange students Shigeto Kawahara (Keio University) and Atsushi Oho (Tohoku University). Santa Cruz has hosted at least one ICU undergrad exchange student every year since Shigeto, but I learned that next year FOUR ICU linguistics exchange students were selected by UCEAP to come to Santa Cruz. They were all helping out with the registration and logistics at WAFL, and were *very* excited to come across the Pacific in the Fall.

On the final day of the workshop, a special Memorial session was held, dedicating WAFL 13 to Professor Emerita Kazuko Inoue, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 98. Regarded as the Mother of Theoretical Linguistics in Japan, her former ICU students and advisees, including Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT), Yoshi Kitagawa (Indiana U.), Satoshi Tomioka (Delaware), and Junko Ito (UC Santa Cruz) spoke at the Memorial Session in her honor. The GLOW obituary by another of her former ICU students, Naoki Fukui (Sophia University), is a very informative and moving account of Inoue’s life work in linguistics.”


Last weekend, many members of the department were involved with the local annual celebration of Oaxacan language and culture, the Vive Oaxaca Guelaguetza. Andrew Hedding, Steven Foley, and Kelsey Sasaki all volunteered, and Jason Ostrove and Maziar Toorsarvandani contributed to the opening remarks with with welcomes in San Martín Peras Mixtec and Santiago Laxopa Zapotec, respectively. And a particular shoutout to Maho Morimoto for playing for many (many) hours of great music with the Banda de Música de del CIS 8 de San Bartolomé Zoogocho Oaxaca.


This Friday, May 26th, at 2:40pm in Humanities 2, Room 259, there will be a colloquium by Susan Lin (Berkeley). Her talk is entitled “Gradience from variation in articulatory magnitude and timing,” and the abstract is given below:

Gradient synchronic variation in speech has long been proposed to be at the root of most sound change, whether through the generation of phonemically ambiguous speech or the creation of phonological innovations available to language learners. However, there exists a disconnect between this form of gradient variation and its typically discrete resulting phonological form. In this talk, I examine two articulatory factors thought to contribute to gradient variation: the magnitude and relative timing of articulations. Using ultrasound data, I focus on the relationship between articulatory magnitude and timing in post-vocalic laterals in English, while exploring some of the factors, including lexical frequency and speech speed, which contribute to that relationship.


In a special joint meeting of S-Circle and LaLoCo, we have this week a talk by Daniel Altshuler (Hampshire College/UMass Amherst) at 11:45am on Tuesday, May 23rd, in Stevenson 217. He’ll be presenting on “Temporal cataphora and revision,” details of which can be found in the abstract below:

Inferring a rhetorical relation between two discourse units (DUs) is non-monotonic: given a discourse context C and two DUs π1, π2 to be related by a relation R, it may be that C makes R(π1, π1) the most plausible inference, but an extension of C may make it more plausible that a distinct R'(π1, π1) is preferred (Asher and Lascarides 2003). Since rhetorical relations often entail temporal constraints, anaphoric connections between eventualities often undergo revision. This is especially apparent in the French novella, Sylvie, where, famously, the reader chooses a resolution strategy that she later finds to be incoherent and is thus forced to revise. The goal of this talk is to derive the incoherence and model the revision that the reader is forced to make. To do so, we extend Haug’s (2014) PCDRT to the temporal domain and to temporal cataphora in particular, taking important strides to synthesizing this framework with Asher and Lascarides’s (2003) SDRT, something that we think is necessary to model (in)coherence and the provisional nature of phoric expressions


This year’s UCSC Outstanding Staff Award goes to Irena Polić, managing director of UCSC’s Institute for Humanities Research. Irena has long been a major part of our department, both as a student (BA 2001, MA 2003) and for her countless hours of work connecting linguists to the many opportunities afforded by the IHR, which supports much of the work done by students and faculty alike. Read more about Irena’s journey, and why she believes the humanities still play a vitally important role in our society, here.


This weekend, Deniz Rudin was in the Windy City for the Subjectivity in Language and Thought workshop at the University of Chicago. Deniz objectively had these subjective thoughts to share on the experience:

“Various semanticists and philosophers gathered in a smoke-filled back room and participated in under-the-table deals guaranteed to define the landscape of the theory of subjectivity in natural language for years to come. Santa Crucians will be happy to hear that their lobby commands significant influence within the deep state—our own Deniz Rudin, in conspiracy with Phil Crone of Stanford University, presented on “Assessor-Relativizable Predicates”, and Pranav Anand’s work was on display via a talk delivered by co-conspirator Natasha Korotkova of Tübingen, titled “Acquaintance inferences and the grammar of directness.” Daniel Lassiter, an honorary Santa Crucian by virtue of his place of residence, delivered a polemical and compelling presentation about Mathematical counterfactuals. The ultimate testament to the iron grip our community exerts on the subterranean mechanisms of intellectual governance, however, is that the entire event was organized by PhD alum Chris Kennedy (who says hi), in conspiracy with Malte Willer, both of U. Chicago. Spirited debate was followed by communal indulgence in food and drink, graciously paid for by Neubauer Collegium, which helped us to set aside our differences and replace them with a feeling of primal solidarity.”


Former LRC Visiting Scholar (2013-14) Filippa Lindahl defended her dissertation Extraction from relative clauses in Swedish last weekend, May 13th at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. A few Santa Crustaceans were in attendance for the festivities (Nick Kalivoda, Kelsey Kraus and alum Paul Willis), and they all agree that Filippa did an outstanding job during the defense, fielding thoughtful and theoretically sound questions from Opponent Peter Sells as well as from an audience trained in various generative and non-generative syntactic traditions. The photo here is of Filippa and Elisabet after a toast to a successful defense. Grattis, Filippa!

Filippa Lindahl and Elisabeth Engdahl
Filippa with her advisor, Elisabet Engdahl