Several UCSC linguists flew into Hawaii for the 25th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference. The Accent Research Group — Junko Ito, Armin Mester, Nick Kalivoda and Jeff Adler (in absentia) — presented their work (with a talk and poster) on the endangered Japanese dialects of Kagoshima at the satellite workshop on prosody and prosodic interfaces. They met up with familiar Santa Cruz-related folks — Haruo Kubozono (NINJAL), former LRC visitor and workshop organizer, and Larry Hyman (UCB), the workshop commentator. Kohei Nishimura, former LRC visiting graduate student also gave a talk based on the NINJAL corpus of Spoken Japanese. At the main conference, they were joined by Hitomi Hirayama, who gave both a poster on “Discourse effects of biased questions in Japanese” at the main session and a talk (joint with Adrian Brasoveanu) at an East Asian Psycholinguistics satellite workshop on “Expressing ignorance in Japanese: contrastive wa vs. sukunakutomo.”

Pictured above: Hitomi Hirayama, Nick Kalivoda

Pictured above: Haruo Kubozono, Nick Kalivoda, Larry Hyman, Armin Mester, Junko Ito





Last week Pranav Anand attended the first workshop at the University of Siena on Evaluatives in Deliberative Contexts. He reports:

“I spent Thursday and Friday at a workshop on Evaluatives in Deliberative Contexts organized by Valentina Bianchi at University of Siena. The workshop’s goal was to create a forum for formal semanticists, formal syntacticians, corpus linguists, political scientists, and economists to come together to talk about how to model the devices people use to express opinion in political discussions. I spoke about my joint work with Jeannie Fox Tree, Lyn Walker, and Steve Whittaker on modeling political argumentation and, more recently, narrator mood. It was great to be on the ground as an interdisciplinary collaboration is just getting started and to talk with formal linguists about these tricky pragmatic issues.”


Adrian Brasoveanu and Jessica Rett (UCLA) have published a paper on “Evaluativity across adjective and construction types” in Journal of Linguistics. An adjectival construction is evaluative iff it conveys that the property associated with the adjective exceeds a relevant threshold. The paper presents the first experimental tests of the scope and nature of evaluativity across adjectival constructions and adjective types. The studies confirm that evaluativity is conditioned by adjective type (relative or absolute, Kennedy & McNally 2005) and is not restricted to the positive construction. However, they also show several new and surprising aspects of evaluativity: that it is perhaps better characterized as a gradable property than a binary one; that the ways in which relative and absolute adjectives differ in their evaluativity vary across construction; and that, contrary to standard intuitions, subjects are willing to attribute evaluativity to the subject position of comparative constructions like Sue is taller than Bill.


Our official first week back culminated in a lovely reception catered by none other than our beloved Viva’s, where we welcomed old and new to the department.

Two new faculty members have joined the department:

Ryan Bennett (Ph.D. UCSC, 2012) comes to us from Yale, where he has been Assistant Professor, and joins the department as Assistant Professor.

Amanda Rysling (Ph.D. UMass, Amherst, 2017) joins us as Assistant Professor as well.

Our incoming graduate class for Fall 2017 consists of two Ph.D. students and four M.A. students:

Jeremie Beauchamps received his B.A. and M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa. His thesis was on posture locatives and existential expressions in Mẽbengokre. This reflects both a broader interest in the syntax-semantics interface, and commitment to original fieldwork on Mẽbengokre and other Jê languages.

Benjamin Eischens received a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, after which he served with AmeriCorps. He has investigated Northern Azeri – the focus of his senior thesis being its light verb constructions. He is primarily interested in syntax, with broader interests in Turkic and Semitic.

Joining us as new MA students are Richard Bibbs (B.A. with honors in Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz, Spring 2017), Dhyana Buckley (Former B.A./M.A.), Lydia Werthen (Former B.A./M.A.), and Anissa Zaitsu (Former B.A./M.A.).

Welcome also to the newest members of the BA/MA Program: Jacob Chemnick and Anny Huang (both of whom you may remember from their past presentations at LURC).

At the reception we also had the opportunity to welcome four undergraduate exchange students from ICU in Tokyo, Japan.


    • 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.