This fall, alumnus Aaron Steven White (BA, 2009) will begin as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester in the Department of Linguistics and the Goergen Institute for Data Science, with secondary appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Aaron received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 2015, and has since been a postdoctoral fellow in the Johns Hopkins Science of Learning Institute where he’s been working with Benjamin Van Durme and UCSC PhD alum Kyle Rawlins. Congratulations, Aaron!


On Saturday, March 18th, the department hosted Linguistics at Santa Cruz (LASC), which was a resounding success, featuring talks on linguistic topics of all shapes and sizes on languages both near and far. The day of talks by second- and third-years was rounded out by distinguished UCSC alumnus Kyle Rawlins’s talk on “Unary ‘or'”. The evening was then capped off with a feast and commensurate levels of merrymaking at the Cowell Provost House. Thanks to everyone who helped make LASC happen–in particular, Lisa Hofmann, our LASC paparazzo, who provided us with this photo of the LASC presenters:

LASC 2017 presenters

Back row: Matt Wagers (LING 290 instructor), Margaret Kroll, Tom Roberts, Steven Foley, Jed Pizarro-Guevara, Jake Vincent
Front row: Hitomi Hirayama, Lauren McGarry, Kelsey Sasaki, Kyle Rawlins


This just in from Elliott Callahan (B.A. in Linguistics with honors, 2007), who has been in medical school at UCSF:

“I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years since I applied to medical school! Needless to say, the time has flown by….[and now] I’ve matched for anesthesia residency at UCSF (so I will be staying for another 4 years). It’s a very good program, so I could not be happier. I still fondly remember my time at UCSC, and still try to work linguistics into life whenever I can (although doctors generally fail to appreciate that “vasa previa” is plural, or that aspiration really means the opposite of what they think). However, I did manage to do a brief project transcribing/translating/glossing a story in St’át’imcets, which I was super excited about.”

LASC 2017!

Mark your calendars for this year’s edition of Linguistics at Santa Cruz (LASC), the annual UCSC linguistics research conference at which second- and third-year graduate students present their research. The all-day event will take place on Saturday, March 18th, in Hum 1, Room 210. Eight talks are on the slate this year, covering a diverse range of subfields, including syntax, semantics, pragmatics, morphophonology, psycholinguistics, and numerous combinations therein, and spanning such languages as English, Cebuano, Georgian, Estonian, Chamorro, Hawai’i Creole, and Japanese. This year’s Distinguished Alumnus Lecture be given by Kyle Rawlins (Johns Hopkins), entitled “Unary ‘or'”. The full program can be found here. Don’t miss it!


Congratulations go to Nathan Sanders (PhD ’03), who will be starting a new job as an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Toronto later this year! Nathan had this to say about the news:

Starting this summer, I will start a new chapter in my career by joining the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. The position allows me to focus on my strengths in undergraduate teaching and curriculum design, but I’ll also be able to do research with some amazing colleagues in one of the top linguistics programs in the world. I’ll continue my research in sign language phonetics (check out my article “A cross-linguistic preference for torso stability in the lexicon: Evidence from 24 sign languages” with Donna Jo Napoli, due out in Sign Language & Linguistics this month), and I expect to finish the first draft of my phonetics and phonology textbook with Oxford University Press later this year.


The program for the next SALT (Semantics and Linguistic Theory) meeting is live, and Pranav Anand and alumnus Chris Barker (now Professor and Chair of Linguistics at NYU) are among the four invited speakers for the meeting. SALT 27 is to be hosted by the Linguistics Department of the University of Maryland, College Park, and it will take place on May 12 through May 14, 2017. For more info, see the website here.


This past Thursday and Friday, several of our alumni came together as part of a general conference for Google linguists. And they took pictures! Herewith, evidence:


From left to right: Jonni Kanerva, Jesse Saba Kirchner, Noah Constant, Oliver Northrup, Karl DeVries, Brianna Kaufman, Jeremy O’Brien

As we noted in the past, one semantic generalization that almost perfectly characterizes this group is the property of having been Computer Czar(ina) for the department. Another one that the phonologically inclined (or, perhaps, onomastically inclined) of you will notice is this: they all have a name beginning with /k/, /d͡ʒ/, or /n/.