This Friday, October 20th, at 4:00 pm in Humanities 1, Room 210, there will be a colloquium talk by Judith Aissen (UCSC). Her talk is entitled “Right-edge topics in Tsotsil (Mayan).” The abstract is given below:

Recent work on word order in Mayan has suggested the existence of a topic position at the right edge of the clause (Clemens and Coon, to appear). Under this analysis what has traditionally been analyzed as basic V-O-S order in some Mayan languages actually reflects V-O-Topic order, with the subject in a transitive clause being the canonical topic. This talk consider evidence for a right-edge topic in Tsotsil, focusing not on subject topics but on possessor topics. We conclude by discussing the relation of this right-edge position to the larger typology of topic positions in Mayan.


This Friday, October 6th, at 4:00 pm in Humanities 1, Room 210, there will be a colloquium by Ashwini Deo (Ohio State University). Her talk is entitled “Alternative circumstances of evaluation and the ser/estar distinction in Spanish,” and the abstract is given below:

The Spanish copulas ser and estar have distributional and interpretational patterns that have resisted an adequate analysis. In this talk, I work towards a unified analysis that treats the two copulas as being presuppositional variants that are differentially sensitive to properties of the circumstances at which the truth of the copular sentence is evaluated. On the proposed analysis, estar presupposes that the prejacent is boundedly true at the evaluation circumstance. The prejacent’s bounded truth at a circumstance i at a given context of use c depends on two conditions:

(a) there are no-weaker alternative circumstances i′ accessible at c where the prejacent is false, and

(b) i is a maximal verifying circumstance at c.

Central to the analysis is the notion of a strength ordering over alternative circumstances of evaluation — a circumstantial counterpart to the more familiar ordering over alternative propositions. Assuming that this content is conventionally associated with estar allows for an account of its distinct flavors and readings with a range of predicates. ser is shown to be associated with its own inferences that derive from its status as the presuppositionally weaker, neutral member of the pair.


    • Tom Roberts spent much of the summer in Estonia conducting fieldwork, preparing an experiment for QP2, working on miscellaneous projects, exploring the country, and trying every item on the menu at Sõõrikukohvik. He rounded out his trip in his natural milieu–in the midst of semanticists and pragmaticians–with a talk at Sinn und Bedeutung in Potsdam, Germany, before descending once more on sunny Santa Cruz.
    • Kelsey Kraus spent the first part of the break in Göttingen at a summer school on Speech Acts and Historical Linguistics. After a bit of time back in Santa Cruz, she returned to Germany at the beginning of September, but this time to Konstanz, to present at the Questioning Speech Acts Workshop. She’ll be visiting there for most of the Fall quarter, where she will be working with the Questions at the Interfaces Research Unit on English and German discourse particles.
    • Deniz Rudin ventured to Germany to do semantics things. His account: “This summer I went to Berlin to hang out, eat döner, experience efficient public transportation, watch Thomas De Haven Roberts deliver the UCSC Linguistics Annual Second-Year Semanticist’s First QP Sinn und Bedeutung Talk, and drink on the street. Kelsey Kraus and I then drove in a rented car to Göttingen, whither retired linguist and future librarian Andreas Walker (a former UCSC visiting graduate student) had just moved that very week. He graciously allowed us to sleep among his un-unpacked boxes in his charming apartment accessible only via a giant hefty skeleton key. The three of us watched a movie set in NorCal together, and dreamt of home. My peripatetic colleague and I then drove to Konstanz (the Santa Cruz of Europe), where we each presented our (separate) work on the meanings of English intonational tunes at Sven Lauer & Regine Eckardt’s Questioning Speech Acts workshop. Much camaraderie was on display during the startlingly well-programmed sessions, in which excellent work was presented on a cluster of similar themes, and everybody was nice to everybody else despite nobody quite agreeing with each other.”
    • Jeff Adler, the most recent grad ghost of UCSC, participated in an informal workshop hosted by Shigeto Kawahara (UCSC/ICU undergrad alum), at Keio University in Japan, where he was also doing research. Participants included a group of UC Santa Cruz and ICU (International Christian University) people and alums. Jeff gave a talk on the work that he, Junko Ito, Armin Mester, and Nick Kalivoda have done on ‘Microvariation in Kagoshima pitch accent systems’.
      There was a group of to-be Santa Cruzers from ICU:
      Takahiro Asayma
      Shota Shibahashi
      Yoshika Kuroiwa
      Ayaka Sugioka

      Then, (sort-of) current UCSC people:
      Jeff Adler
      Armin Mester
      Junko Ito

      And finally, some other unrelated people:
      Yoko Sugioka (a former fellow grad student, and close friend, of Donka Farkas)
      Robert Daland
      Shinichiro Sano
      Manami Hirayma

    • Kelsey Sasaki spent a month in Hawai’i researching HC and visiting family, then a week in Alaska planting seeds for future HC research. She sliced melons and croissants for the Nido de Lenguas, and worked with our Zapotec consultants in LA. She also went to Minneapolis for a humanities/social sciences workshop. While there, she met Deniz Rudin’s best friend, but no Hedding brothers.
    • Erik Zyman presented on “XP- and X°-movement in the Latin Verb: Evidence from Mirroring and Anti-Mirroring” (joint work with Nick Kalivoda) at the Yale Syntax Reading Group, did a bunch of other syntax, had a blast at his fifth college reunion, and traveled to Blairsville, GA, to watch the eclipse from within the totality belt.
    • After a brief camping vacation in (a somewhat flooded) Yosemite, Jake Vincent spent the summer in Santa Cruz finishing up his QP research on Chamorro relative clauses. He also helped with the organization of the Nido de Lenguas, which was at the beginning of September. His highlight of that was getting to make a lotería board game to help event participants learn the sentence structure of Santiago Laxopa Zapotec and San Martín Peras Mixtec.
    • In early summer Donka Farkas participated in an Inquisitive Semantics workshop, organized by former LRC visitor Floris Roelofsen, in Broek in Waterland, Holland. The program is available here. She reports: “It was one of the best workshops I remember, both in terms of content and organization. The setting was idyllic but the atmosphere was intense, and the discussions incisive, generous and enlightening. Alumn Kyle Rawlins (Johns Hopkins) and department friend and neighbor Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford) were among the speakers. A second workshop will take place in December, in Amsterdam, right before the Amsterdam Colloquium. Note that one of the invited speakers there will be alumn Scott AnderBois (Brown).”
    • Maho Morimoto attended the ASA (Acoustical Society of America) Boston meeting, after which she had a precious experience at the six-day festival in Santiago Laxopa, Oaxaca, where she integrated to the local banda de viento, Banda Filarmonica Macedonio Alcalá. Her Immersion in the Oaxacan languages and culture continued as she worked towards the Nido de Lenguas with a team led by Maziar and Pranav. She concluded her summer travels with a trip to Tokyo, where she ran a production experiment using EMA.
    • Adrian Brasoveanu spent a good part of the summer modeling linguistic phenomena in a new implementation of the ACT-R cognitive architecture (pyactr, book in progress). One of the advantages of this new implementation is that it can be easily enhanced with a Bayesian estimation ‘backend’, which can be seen at work in a poster presentation on ‘Modeling lexical access in ACT-R’ at AMLaP. The poster as well as the research program and the underlying framework are the results of a long-term collaboration with former LRC visitor Jakub Dotlacil.
    • ​Jed Pizarro-Guevara flew to Lexington, KY to enjoy bourbon and present a paper based on his second qualifying paper at the Morphological Typology and Linguistic Cognition Workshop. After, he ​helped organize Nido de Lenguas​. ​Unfortunately, he wasn’t there for the actual event since he had to fly to Metro Manila to collect data for his QE at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. When he wasn’t working, he was sighted near food establishments in Quezon City, scarfing down enough food to feed an entire village.


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.


  • 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.