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


We are delighted to announce that Ryan Bennett will join the department as Assistant Professor starting in July 2017. Ryan received his PhD in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz in 2012, and since then has been a faculty member at Yale University.

Ryan’s research is in formal and experimental phonology, with an emphasis on prosody and theoretically motivated phonetic analysis. He has worked extensively on phenomena at the intersection of phonological theory and other grammatical domains, including phonetics, morphology and syntax. His investigation focuses on these topics in the context of lesser-studied languages, particularly Irish and K’ichean branch Mayan languages.

Welcome (back) to the department, Ryan!


We are very happy to announce that Amanda Rysling will join the department as Assistant Professor starting in July 2017. Amanda is currently a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is simultaneously a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics and an M.S. candidate in Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Amanda’s research is at the intersection of psycholinguistics, phonetics, and phonology, with a strong interest in psycholinguistic models of segmental parsing. Recent projects and areas of interest include syllable structure phonotactics, word recognition, and sentence processing. Her language research interests are on Slavic languages, particularly, Polish and Russian.

Welcome to the department, Amanda!


Please welcome our new LRC visitor Anissa Hamza. She is a PhD student from the University of Strasbourg in France and she will be here for the Spring 2017 quarter, in part to collaborate on the Santa Cruz Ellipsis Project. Her faculty mentors are Pranav Anand and Jim McCloskey. She will also be working closely with our other LRC visitor Dan Hardt. Anissa’s office will be the Cave LRC Visitor office.

Anissa, we hope you will have a pleasant and productive stay!


LaLoCo: Continued discussion and hands-on implementation of Bayesian modeling
LIP: Creel et al (2008), “Heeding the voice of experience: The role of talker variation in lexical access”
PHLUNCH: Jardine (2016), “Computationally, Tone is Different”
S-Lab: Informal discussion of talks and posters from CUNY
S̅-Circle: Bošković and Messick (to appear), “Derivational economy in syntax and semantics”
SPLAP: Ward & Hirschberg (1988), “Intonation and Propositional Attitudes”
WLMA: Nick Kalivoda will present joint work with Steven Foley and Maziar Toosarvandani on Gender-Case Constraints in Zapotec.


This Friday, April 14th, at 2:40pm in Hum 2 Room 259, we’re kicking off this quarter’s colloquium series with our own Junko Ito and Armin Mester (UCSC). Their talk is entitled “Pitch Accent and Tonal Alignment,” and the abstract is given below.

Recent work (Kubozono 2009, Ito and Mester 2016, among others) has established that the metrical foot plays an irreducible role in the accent pattern of Japanese and its dialects. Here we make a complementary point: Some features of pitch accent systems are irreducibly tonal in
nature, and follow from the constraints aligning tonal melodies with prosodic structure. As a warm-up, we show that the autosegmental well-formedness conditions, recast as OT constraints on tonal alignment and tonal faithfulness, allow for a simple analysis of the recessive accent pattern of Ancient Greek, which has resisted a successful analysis in terms of foot structure (Steriade, Golston, Kiparsky), but follows directly in an account squarely centered on the rightward alignment of the word melody HL+L.

In the main part of the talk, we present some results of the Santa Cruz Accent Project (Adler/Ito/Kalivoda/Mester) on the microvariation in the pitch accent systems of the dialects of Kagoshima Prefecture: the main Satsuma dialect, and the separate dialects of Koshikijima island and the southernmost Kikaijima island (close to the Ryukyu archepelago). All these dialects, except for the main Satsuma dialect, are in serious decline in terms of numbers of speakers. We show that the accentual microvariation in Kagoshima Japanese is due to a simple reranking of the basic constraints aligning the accentual melodies HL and H. The difference in TBU between dialects (syllable- vs. mora-counting behavior), difficult to analyze as a parameter setting, follows from the ranking of constraints against tonal contours on moras and syllables.


The Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland is looking to fill up to 3 full-time positions for post-baccalaureate researchers, including two Baggett fellowships. Alum Aaron White (BA, 2009) and current graduate student and WHASC maven Tom Roberts were both Baggett fellows, and former undergrad Shayne Sloggett (BA, 2010) was an RA at UMD as well.

Starting date for all positions is Summer/Fall 2017. Salary is competitive, with benefits included. The positions would be ideal for individuals with a BA degree who are interested in gaining significant research experience in a very active research group as preparation for a research career. Applicants must already have permission to work in the US, or be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and should have completed a BA or BS degree by the time of appointment. The ability to interact comfortably with a wide variety of people (and machines) is a distinct advantage.

Applicants may request to be considered for all positions. For best consideration, applications should be submitted by April 21st, 2017. For more information on the positions and how to apply, click here.


On the Saturday of LASC, March 18th, current and former students and colleagues celebrated Sandy Chung‘s 30th anniversary at UCSC by presenting her with a collection of essays inspired by her influence. Spearheaded by Jason Ostrove, Ruth Kramer, and Joey Sabbagh, the papers are diverse in topics, much like Sandy’s own interests, and range from Chamorro morphophonology, the syntax and semantics of nominal expressions, the argument/adjunct distinction, and psycholinguistic investigations of the person/animacy hierarchy. Congratulations Sandy!

The festschrift, “Asking the Right Questions,” is available on escholarship here.

Sandy Chung receiving her festschrift from Jason Ostrove
Sandy Chung receiving her festschrift from Jason Ostrove