THREE CAREERS ALIKE IN DIGNITY: PELLUCID, FORMIDABLE, AND SHIBUI

On Saturday, the department gathered en masse to celebrate and appreciate the many many contributions of three faculty retiring this year, Sandy Chung, Bill Ladusaw, and Armin Mester. The festivities were chaired by Judith Aissen, who began by assuring the retirees that the Other Side was in many ways better (free parking!) and then oversaw a procession of faculty (Jim McCloskey, Jaye Padgett, and Matt Wagers) and former students (Chris Barker, Vera Gribanova, Louise McNally, and Rachel Walker) whose tributes evoked the wit, the wisdom, and the warmth of the honorees. Between the stories swapped, the pictures shared, and the old friends who joined us to celebrate three remarkable careers, it was an event both joyous and (in Judith’s words) a touch mournful. Thanks go to the organizers, Adrian Brasoveanu, Ashley Hardisty, Junko Ito, and Maria Zimmer for putting together an event at once so spontaneously heartfelt and carefully orchestrated. (Take that, Tonys.)

The vignettes offered–of Armin contemplating the true nature of optimality theory in his in-deck hot tub, of Sandy daring Matt Wagers to just try to run an experiment outside laboratory confines, of the veritable Ars Linguistica Bill has imparted to students across the years (an audience favorite regarding including a bit of formalism in a general talk: It’s good to show a glint of steel beneath the velvet glove.)–vividly reminded the audience of the personalities the department will soon miss. But we will miss much more. The various encomiums heaped upon the three sounded the same themes over and over: a gift for teaching and mentoring; a dedication alongside research to university service; and, above all, a striving for lasting insight beyond the technical, modish, or easy that inspired students and colleagues alike. This last characteristic is the goal every Santa Cruz linguist aspires to, and Armin, Bill, and Sandy have played instrumental roles in imprinting that desire on several generations of scholars.

For their countless contributions to the fields of Phonology, Semantics, and Syntax, to the students who their words and their acts inspired, to the university which owes greatly to their probity and grace, and, ultimately, to the department they called home for three decades (and then some), we thank them.

May the next phase be even better!

FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS GALORE

The close of the school year and the start of summer has brought many exciting grants and fellowships to students and faculty in our department:

WHAT WE’RE DOING WITH OUR SUMMER VACATION

  • Jeff Adler will be spend the summer in Tokyo, Japan, as part of the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute program. He will conduct experimental research in phonology under Shigeto Kawahara (visiting undergrad UCSC alum) at Keio University. He will also be hanging out with Junko and Armin in their cool Tokyo apartment, continuing their work on Japanese accent.
  • Sandy Chung will travel to the Mariana Islands for two weeks of work on the Chamorro dictionary project. Then she’ll join Jim in Dublin for two weeks in the second half of July. The rest of the summer she’ll spend getting used to retirement… 🙂
  • Donka Farkas will be in Broek in Waterland, an idyllic village near Amsterdam, between June 26 and June 29, participating in a workshop on Inquisitiveness below and beyond the sentence boundary. The workshop is hosted by the Inquisitive Semantics group at the University of Amsterdam, one of whose organizers is former LRC visitor Floris Roelofsen. On the program you will see familiar names such as Jakub Dotlacil, a former post doc at UCSC, and alum Kyle Rawlins.
  • Hitomi Hirayama will spend the first half of the summer in Japan, where she will give talks in Tokyo and in Hokkaido on what she has worked on this year: ignorance inferences and biased questions in Japanese.
  • Junko Ito and Armin Mester are planning to spend the Summer in Tokyo working at NINJAL (National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics) working with Haruo Kubozono and others on various projects relating to Japanese accent.
  • Jim McCloskey will be travelling to Dublin almost as soon as the quarter ends to teach a two-week seminar on ‘Contemporary Irish Syntax’. The seminar is part of the biennial summer school of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, which will take place this year between July 3rd and July 14th. The seminar will meet every day except Sunday July 9th and after that, all bets are off.
  • Maho Morimoto will be attending the Acoustical Society of America Boston meeting in June to present a poster of the same title as her QE, and will be doing linguistic fieldwork in Oaxaca in July.
  • Jed Pizarro-Guevara will travel to Lexington, KY to enjoy bourbon, and present a paper based on his second qualifying paper at the Morphological Typology and Linguistic Cognition Workshop (co-organized by UCSC alum, Adam Ussishkin). He will also be working with Kelsey S., Maziar, and Matt to develop materials for sentence processing experiments in SLZ (and closely related varieties). Before the quarter starts, he will fly to the madre patria to collect data for his QE and other projects. He also hopes to collect lots of naturally occurring data involving portmanteaus in Tagalog, and sample every silog on breakfast menus. His favorite is bangsilog (BANGus ‘milkfish’ + SInangag ‘fried rice’ + itLOG‘egg’).
  • Tom Roberts will be heading to Estonia to pick mushrooms, wish desperately to hang out with Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid, and conduct experimental work on polar questions. He’ll also be continuing existing fieldwork investigations on discourse, attitudes, and dialectal variation in negation. He’ll conclude the summer presenting his QP work on Estonian responsive predicates at Sinn und Bedeutung 22 in Berlin.
  • Kelsey Sasaki will be returning to Hawai’i to continue researching Hawai’i Creole and to visit with family there. Back on the mainland, she’ll be working with Santiago Laxopa Zapotec speakers in LA; designing a psycholinguistic experiment on SLZ with Jed, Steven, Matt, and Maziar; and helping to organize the Nido de Lenguas.
  • Jake Vincent will be conducting fieldwork on Chamorro for the first part of the summer, investigating interpretive differences between its head-internal and head-external relative clauses. He’ll also be TAing for Semantics I during the first summer session (taught by Adrian Brasoveanu), doing exploratory research for an experimental syntax project on the processing of islands, and later in the summer, helping out with Nido de Lenguas, a linguocultural event focusing on Oaxacan languages.
  • Erik Zyman will continue to investigate “unusual” movements in P’urhepecha and what they tell about the driving force for movement; English adverb stranding and what it reveals about the precise timing and operation of late adjunction; whether prefixes in Latinate English verbs are incorporated syntactically autonomous particles (Harley 2008); and (with Nick Kalivoda) what (anti)mirror effects tell about XP- and X°-movement in the Latin verb.

MCCLOSKEY AT UCHICAGO

Jim McCloskey was one of the many Santa Cruz linguists traveling to the University of Chicago in recent times. In Jim’s case it was for a talk (on May 18th) in the department’s colloquium series. The title of the talk was Microparameters in a Tiny Space — Stranding at the Edge and it returned to the topic of Wh quantifier stranding in a
range of local forms of English. Besides meeting with many graduate students, Jim had the chance to spend some quality time with alums Chris Kennedy and Jason Merchant.

ITO AT WAFL

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.”

ANAND AT SALT

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.”

WAGERS SEMINAR SERIES AT UCL

Matt Wagers was across the pond at University College London last week, giving a series of talks as part of their linguistics seminar series. Matt reports:

“Last week I traveled to University College London to give a series of lectures in the Department of Linguistics. There I was hosted by Wing-Yee Chow, who is a Lecturer in Experimental Linguistics, and one of my collaborators. The first lecture, given to a public audience, was about the relationship between verbatim memory for whole sentences and how its degradation can be attributed to the ordinary forgetting that occurs in the course of language comprehension. I was happy to be able to incorporate some of the research that Jenny, Tom, Jed & Steven did in my Fall Seminar. The second two talks were given as seminars, and both touched on the interaction between word order and morphological resources. There I drew upon my research on Chamorro with Sandy, as well as Jed’s research on Tagalog. Abstracts and notes can be found here. I was deeply impressed by the questions and contributions I received, which were simultaneously very perceptive but also friendly and constructive. In my free time, I did a lot of walking around London. Some highlights were visiting the Temple Church, a round church built in the 12th Century by the Templars, and attending a performance of the Duchess of Malfi, a rather grim (and rather long) Jacobean tragedy in which (nearly) everyone dies!

PS: While at UCL, I also met a Banana Slug: Caitlin Canonica (Linguistics B.A. 2010) who is currently a Ph.D. student in Linguistics at UCL.”