A paper by assistant professor Ryan Bennett has recently appeared in Glossa. The paper, entitled “Recursive prosodic words in Kaqchikel (Mayan),” argues that the prefixal phonology of Kaqchikel provides evidence for unbounded recursion of the prosodic word ω. The paper can be accessed here.


Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Linguistics Undergraduate Research Conference (LURC) on Friday, June 8. Three undergraduates in Linguistics and Language studies — Alejandro Garcia, Kevin Sanders, and Emily Martinez-Figueroa — presented original research dealing with topics in ellipsis, movement, focus, comparatives, reduplication, and prosody. The conference was capped off with a lovely presentation by UCSC undergraduate alumna Meredith Landman, entitled “The pragmatics of the sentence-final particle o in Yoruba”. Congratulations to our student presenters for a job well-done!

Thanks also to Hitomi Hirayama, who provided photo coverage of the event. Some highlights are included below.

Pictured: Kevin Sanders

Pictured: Meredith Landman

Pictured: Alejandro Garcia

Pictured: Emily Martinez-Figueroa

Pictured (Left to right): Alejandro Garcia, Kevin Sanders, Ryan Bennett, Emily Martinez-Figueroa, Meredith Landman





Junko Ito and Armin Mester have been successfully awarded a 2-year NSF grant for Syntax-Prosody in Optimality Theory (SPOT), an ongoing collaborative research project with Jenny Bellik, Nick Kalivoda, and Ozan Bellik, which aims to develop new tools for rigorously investigating the mapping from syntactic to prosodic structure in Optimality Theory.

SPOT has also received workshop funding as a Humanities Institute research cluster for 2018-19. The first SPOT workshop took place in Fall 2017.

Congratulations also to Nick Kalivoda, who will be holding a one-year postdoc position during 2018-19 on the SPOT NSF grant at UCSC.


Last Friday, Christopher Garcia, a third-year linguistics major awarded both a Koret Undergraduate Research Scholarship and a Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship (HUGRA) in 2017-2018, presented the findings of his project on wh-movement in Santiago Laxopa Zapotec at both the Koret Undergraduate Research Slam and Celebrating Humanities Spring Awards Ceremony. In these poster presentations, he explored how wh-movement operates in this Zapotec variety and the constraints that are, or are not, imposed on it. He is looking forward to continuing his research in the upcoming year, working some of the many native speakers of Zapotec who live in the Santa Cruz area.






Congratulations to Kelsey Kraus (PhD ’18), who recently started a job at Google. She reports:

Just a few days after my defense, I started a contract position on the Speech and Data Ops Team at Google. The position is your standard Linguistics Project Manager Position on the Text To Speech Team, where I join three other former UCSC linguists. This makes it feel more like home (but with an upgraded StevCaf).

Congratulations, Kelsey!


Last Tuesday, graduate student Erik Zyman gave a talk at the University of Chicago entitled “On the Timing of Adjunction.” He reports that he received a warm welcome and numerous helpful questions and comments, and had productive meetings with faculty and graduate students about both their work and his, for all of which he’s grateful to his UChicago hosts (not to be confused with adjunction hosts).


On June 1, Ivy Sichel and Maziar Toosarvandani gave a talk on “Attraction and pronoun movement in Sierra Zapotec” at the 2nd Symposium on Oaxacan Linguistics at UCLA. This conference had its first iteration at UCSC last year, sponsored by the Workshop on the Languages of Meso-America (WLMA). This year’s SOL — its new acronym — was well attended, and the conference looks to become a more permanent fixture in the California Oaxacanist community. Next year’s SOL is planned to take place at Cal State LA.


Congratulations to Tom Roberts who successfully defended his QP 2 on May 4. His project is entitled “Pragmatic licensing of Estonian biased polar questions: An experimental study.” His committee included Donka Farkas (chair), Adrian Brasoveanu, and Amanda Rysling. Congratulations Tom!

Congratulations to Lydia Werthen who successfully defended her MA Thesis on May 16. Her project is entitled “Interrogative Continuation: A neglected puzzle.” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Donka Farkas, and Ryan Bennett. Congratulations Lydia!

Congratulations to Anissa Zaitsu who successfully defended her MA Thesis on . Her project is entitled “Why make sense of silence: The clausal syntax of a reduced why question.” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Jorge Hankamer, and Pranav Anand. Congratulations Anissa!

Congratulations to Mansi Desai who successfully defended her MA Thesis on June 5th. Her project is entitled “Polarity and Probing: Building Clauses in Gujarati” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Jorge Hankamer, and Maziar Toosarvandani. Congratulations Mansi!