This spring saw a plethora of milestones. In addition to the previously posted qualifying exam passed by Tom Roberts and Jenny Bellik‘s successful PhD defense, an impressive list of students have completed milestones in their graduate careers.

Andrew Angeles defended his second qualifying paper, entitled, “The Historical Development of Initial Accent in Trimoraic Nouns in Kyoto Japanese.” His committee consisted of Junko Ito (chair), Ryan Bennett, and Grant McGuire. Congratulations, Andrew!

Richard Bibbs defended his first qualifying paper of the title, “Perceptual factors license vocalic contrasts in Chamorro.” His committee was made up of Ryan Bennett (chair), Junko Ito, and Sandy Chung. Congratulations, Richard!

Nick Van Handel defended his second qualifying paper, “Recursion and matching overt elements in Italian prosody.” His committee members were Junko Ito (chair), Gorka Elordieta, and Armin Mester. Congratulations, Nick!

Lisa Hofmann successfully defended her qualifying exam, which was titled, “Propositional anaphora and polarity.” Her committee consisted of Adrian Brasoveanu (chair), Chris Barker (external member), Donka Farkas, and Amanda Rysling. Congratulations, Lisa!

Andrew Hedding defended his second qualifying paper, entitled, “New information and the grammar of Focus: Evidence from San Martín Peras Mixtec.” His committee was made up of Ryan Bennett (chair), Gorka Elordieta, and Pranav Anand. Congratulations, Andrew!

Jake Vincent defended his qualifying exam, titled, “Relative clause subextraction in English.” His committee included Ivy Sichel (chair), Matt Wagers, and Maziar Toosarvandani. Congratulations, Jake!

Jérémie Beauchamp defended his first qualifying paper, “Correspondence and unmarkedness in Kĩsêdjê vowel epenthesis.” His committee members were Ryan Bennett (chair), Amanda Rysling, and Grant McGuire. Congratulations, Jérémie!

Netta Ben-Meir defended her second qualifying paper, entitled, “A case of opacity reconsidered: Epenthesis in Lebanese Arabic.” Her committee consisted of Junko Ito (chair), Ryan Bennett, and Amanda Rysling. Congratulations, Netta!


UCSC Language Studies alum Kevin Sanders (B.A., 2018) reports that he will begin a master’s program in computational linguistics in September at the University of Washington. He writes of the two-year program,

It covers computer science concepts, programming techniques, statistics, and linguistic theory. I’m excited to start! I’m happy to have an opportunity to carry the knowledge and experience I gained from the UCSC linguistics department with me to new environs.

Congratulations, Kevin!


On Monday, June 3rd, visiting professor Gorka Elordieta (University of the Basque Country) gave an invited presentation for UC San Diego’s Phonology Interest Group. The talk was titled, “Accents, heads and phrases (and lack thereof) in Basque.” Additionally, Gorka recently published two co-authored articles in festschrift volumes in Basque Country. He writes,

One of the papers examines the role of frequency and quality of input on the acquisition of Basque sibilants by four 7-year-old girls in the same educational program of Basque immersion in Navarre but coming from different linguistic backgrounds (Spanish- vs Basque-dominant) and different contexts/degree of contact with Basque (city vs. small town). The four combinations were analyzed (Spanish dominant & city; Spanish-dominant & small town; Basque-dominant & city; Basque dominant & small town). Basque has three fricative and three affricate sibilants, whereas Spanish only has one fricative and one affricate sibilant. We observed the following gradation in proficiency: Basque-dominant & small town > Basque-dominant & city/Spanish-dominant & small town > Spanish-dominant & city. This paper stresses the importance of the quantity and quality of the input in language acquisition (cf. Lieven 2010, Meisel 2011, Grüter & Paradis 2014, among others).
The other paper is a description of the intonational shapes of statements and polar and wh-interrogatives in Spanish by two patients with dysarthria (one from Parkinson’s disease and the other from a stroke). Their data were compared to that of a control speaker. Both speakers deviated from the control speaker in having more prosodic boundaries, namely one after almost each lexical word. However, the speaker who had suffered a stroke pronounced each syllable in a word independently of the others, showing a descending or downstepping ladder-type of intonation within each prosodic word, which ends in a L boundary tone rather than a H tone signaling continuation as in non-pathological speech. The findings in this paper are based on only two speakers, but they constitute a first-stage empirical contribution to an understanding of what intonational parameters may characterize dysarthric speech. In fact, previous references to the prosodic aspects of dysarthric speech in Spanish are rather general, and this would be the first detailed study that we are aware of.