In other Ontario-related news, Donka Farkas recently gave a talk at the University of Toronto. Donka had this to report:

“This past week I visited University of Toronto, where I gave a talk on nominal semantics, for Michela Ippolito‘s research group, and a department colloquium on the semantics and discourse effects of declaratives and interrogatives. Among the familiar faces at the colloquium, there was Nathan Sanders, UCSC PhD, who is about to start teaching at Toronto. It was a joy to work with Michela and to spend some time with her lovely family. She sends a warm hello to her UCSC friends.”


Last weekend, Ivy Sichel was among those who stampeded to WCCFL in Calgary, Alberta, where the Flames of linguistic enthusiasm burn bright. Ivy had this to say about the event:

“The beautiful thing about research in linguistics is that it is full of surprises. When you start studying something, you never know where you will end up. The paper I presented at WCCFL this past weekend is based on a joint project with Martina Wiltschko from UBC, in which we follow the lead of a curious “negative effect” sometimes associated with the use of demonstrative-pronouns in German and Hebrew. The study of its distribution revealed a surprising demonstrative-internal typology, in which deixis and anaphora are two sides of the same coin, rather than oppositional categories.

There was impressive variety in the talks at WCCFL this year, in terms of content, and also in terms of the wide array of languages that were discussed: Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian, Tagalog, Korean, Turkish, Algonquian, Japanese, French, Mi’gmaq, to name but a few.”


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!


On Thursday, April 6, Sandy Chung drove to Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose to speak at a workshop organized by the school’s Linguistics Club. She and the other two speakers (Arto Anttila and Roula Svorou) were astonished at the large audience, which included over 35 students. Among the Linguistics Club’s organizers are Suzanne Golshanara and Eliza Kolmanovsky, both of whom plan to major in Linguistics when they enter UC San Diego in the Fall. The following week, Sandy traveled to Evanston to give a colloquium at Northwestern on the work she and Matt Wagers are doing on Chamorro anaphora. While there, she had a most enjoyable conversation with M.A. alum Tommy Denby, who is now a fourth year Ph.D. student there, about to embark on a dissertation in phonetics and phonology.


During the spring break, Junko Ito traveled to Japan to give a keynote talk (in collaboration with Armin Mester) at a workshop honoring the 60th birthday of Haruo Kubozono (former LRC visitor, and currently the President of the Linguistic Society of Japan). In the audience, and asking good questions, was UCSC Ph.D. alum Philip Spaelti, who is now Department Chair at Shoin University. The work that Junko presented is part of the Santa Cruz Accent Project (Adler/Ito/Kalivoda/Mester), which we will be able to hear about at the colloquium this Friday.


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


Matt Wagers and Steven Foley recently attended CUNY2017 at MIT. The weather was wet and icy, but this induced minimal interference with the conference atmosphere, which – to no one’s Surprisal – was productive and collegial.

Steven delivered his poster on Georgian relative clause processing, while Matt was there for his paper on applying signal detection theory to the analysis of acceptability judgments (joint work with several UMass’ans: Brian Dillon, Caren Rotello and UCSC Linguistics alumna Caroline Andrews [BA ‘11]).

Many other Slugs were in attendance, including 2 other undergraduate alumni: Jeff Runner [BA ‘89] & Shayne Sloggett [BA ‘10]; and 2 MA alumni: Katia Kravtchenko [MA ‘13; currently Saarland University] and Adam Morgan [MA ‘13; currently UCSD]. Sloggett, Kravtchenko and Morgan each delivered a spoken presentation!

An excellent feature of this year’s conference was YouTube streaming of all talks; and poster/slide PDFs deposited via Open Science Foundation. You can view Steven’s poster here or listen to Dillon, Andrews, Rotello & Wagers here.