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!

DUEK DISSERTATION DEFENSE

Karen Duek will be defending her dissertation at 11:30am on Monday, June 19th, in HUM 1 Room 210. Karen’s dissertation is titled “Sorting a complex world: an experimental study of polysemy and copredication in container and committee nominals.” The committee consists of Adrian Brasoveanu (chair), Donka Farkas, and Pranav Anand.

END-OF-YEAR DEFENSES

The last week of the quarter saw a flurry of successful defenses:

  • Steven Foley defended his second qualifying paper, “The Subject Gap Advantage in a split-ergative language: Reading time evidence from Georgian” (Matt Wagers, chair, Sandy Chung, and Ivy Sichel)
  • Hitomi Hirayama defended her qualifying exam, “Expressing Ignorance in Japanese: Contrastive wa versus sukunakutomo” (Adrian Brasoveanu, chair, Donka Farkas, Ivy Sichel, and Junko Shimoyama (McGill))
  • Maho Morimoto defended her qualifying exam, “Listener adaptation to lexical stress misplacement in English” (Grant McGuire, chair, Jaye Padgett, Matt Wagers, and Molly Babel (UBC))
  • Jed Pizarro-Guevara defended his second qualifying paper, “An auditory masked priming study of nasal substitution in Dabaw Bisaya (Cebuano)” (Grant McGuire, chair, Jorge Hankamer and Brian W. Smith)
  • Tom Roberts defended his first qualifying paper, “The semantics of responsive predicates and their complements in Estonian” (Pranav Anand, chair, Donka Farkas, and Jim McCloskey)

KORET SCHOLARS PRESENTATIONS

Two graduating seniors in Linguistics, Dhyana Buckley and Alissa Trowbridge presented posters at the Koret Scholars Undergraduate Research Slam, which was held Friday, June 9, at McHenry Library. Dhyana’s poster was titled ‘Real world entailments: A semantic approach to improving machine learning’; Alissa’s poster was titled ‘Long-distance reflexivization in Sundanese’. Earlier this quarter, Alissa completed a senior thesis on anaphora in Sundanese. Dhyana, who is in the BA/MA program, will become an MA student in the Fall. The Research Slam was opened with remarks by Jaye Padgett in his role as Interim Vice Provost of Student Success.

ZAITSU IN MICHIGAN

Entering MA student Anissa Zaitsu spent the tenth week of the quarter as a participant in the MICHHERS program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She sent in this report about her time there:

“My time in Michigan has been intellectually enriching. I am one of a group of 24 students across 6 different disciplines in the humanities, one of just 4 linguistics students and the only student from UC Santa Cruz. I am working with Acrisio Pires, on my Why-VP research, and have been getting a lot of new feedback and guidance on the topic. Most importantly, I have to present this research to the entire cohort, most of whom are not linguists, so I have had to learn how to present technical linguistic work to people outside of our discipline in such a way that its importance and relevance is clear–a useful and difficult skill to acquire. Each day there is an interdisciplinary workshop and then a discipline-specific event. I have been involved in two linguistics seminars, one with Marlyse Baptista who does morphosyntax work on Creoles and more generally on language contact, and another with Sam Epstein on what it means to work in the generative tradition.

It has been amazing talking to young researchers like myself who do fascinating research across a number of disciplines, looking for ways to make connections between my theoretical work and theirs. This has been a real challenge but the experience has helped me dig deeper and gain perspective about what my own research is about and why it matters.

In addition, the program also has a strong diversity component, and so many of the students come from backgrounds which are underrepresented in graduate programs; the issues that this raises have been a big part of the discussion here.

Above all though, I am enjoying the sights and scenes in Ann Arbor. The weather has been beautiful and the streets are filled with lush greens. I am told it is not this way all year…”

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.