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 past weekend, Pranav Anand was at the University of Maryland for the 27th edition of Semantics and Linguistic Theory as one of the invited speakers, giving a delightfully-titled talk on “Facts, alternatives, and alternative facts”. Pranav had these non-alternative facts to say about the experience:

“This edition of SALT was extremely well organized. It also included the first ever most distinguished pre-tenure paper award, which went to Ryan Bochnak (grandalum of the department) for a paper on sequence of tense in Washo, a language with optional tense. The sessions were thematically tight, but the program was expansive, with talks and posters in formal and experimental pragmatics as well as formal semantics. Included in that mix was a provocative co-authored poster by alum Kyle Rawlins on the pragmatic components of questions, and rhetorical questions in particular and an extremely convincing co-authored poster by alum Marcin Morzycki on degree modifiers. There was a palpable focus on lesser-studied languages as well. Alum Scott AnderBois delivered a lovely talk on the interaction of reportative evidentials and imperatives in Tagalog and Yucatec. The invited talks were by Maribel Romero, Sarah Murray, and alum Chris Barker, who argued that NPI licensing should be viewed as governed by a scopal economy condition. For my part, I tried to give the new local speciality of fake facts a respectable semantics.”


Congratulations to alum Shayne Sloggett (B.A. 2010, Honors), who this fall will be Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Northwestern University. Shayne began his psycholinguistic career as an R.A. in the language processing lab at Santa Cruz, and after a stint as a Baggett R.A. at Maryland, joined the Ph.D. program at UMass Amherst. There he is completing a dissertation entitled “When errors aren’t: How comprehendhers selectively violate binding theory ” supervised by Prof. Brian Dillon.


This fall, alumnus Aaron Steven White (BA, 2009) will begin as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester in the Department of Linguistics and the Goergen Institute for Data Science, with secondary appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Aaron received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 2015, and has since been a postdoctoral fellow in the Johns Hopkins Science of Learning Institute where he’s been working with Benjamin Van Durme and UCSC PhD alum Kyle Rawlins. Congratulations, Aaron!


On Saturday, March 18th, the department hosted Linguistics at Santa Cruz (LASC), which was a resounding success, featuring talks on linguistic topics of all shapes and sizes on languages both near and far. The day of talks by second- and third-years was rounded out by distinguished UCSC alumnus Kyle Rawlins’s talk on “Unary ‘or'”. The evening was then capped off with a feast and commensurate levels of merrymaking at the Cowell Provost House. Thanks to everyone who helped make LASC happen–in particular, Lisa Hofmann, our LASC paparazzo, who provided us with this photo of the LASC presenters:

LASC 2017 presenters

Back row: Matt Wagers (LING 290 instructor), Margaret Kroll, Tom Roberts, Steven Foley, Jed Pizarro-Guevara, Jake Vincent
Front row: Hitomi Hirayama, Lauren McGarry, Kelsey Sasaki, Kyle Rawlins