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.


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.


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 current faculty member Amanda Rysling and former slug Shayne Sloggett (BA ’10), who walked in the UMass graduate commencement on May 13th, since both defended and filed dissertations last year after the ceremony.

Both also presented at LynSchrift18, the workshop celebrating Lyn Frazier, who is retiring this year. Amanda presented a joint talk with John Kingston titled “Regressive spectral assimilation bias in ambiguous speech sound perception.” Shayne presented a talk titled “Logophlexivity: When reflexives behave like logophoric pronouns.” The program can be found here.

Also, a photograph from the graduation ceremony:

Pictured (left to right): Shayne Sloggett, Caroline Andrews (another former slug), Amanda Rysling






Last Sunday, Nido de Lenguas tabled at the annual Guelaguetza festival to talk to people about linguistics and Oaxacan languages. They played language games to teach some Zapotec and Mixtec vocabulary, and provided information about their current activities, including the Zapotec classes and upcoming summer events. Many faculty, grads and undergrads helped by volunteering at the table, and the reception from the community was very positive — lots of people signed up to learn more about the group. The volunteers report having many interesting conversations with festival-goers about how the group can continue to grow its relationship with the Oaxacan community in the Santa Cruz area and provide support for native speakers who are interested in promoting the use of their language.


The National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL)  is inviting poster submissions for the 5th NINJAL International Conference on Phonetics and Phonology (ICPP), which will take place at NINJAL on October 26-28, 2018. The three-day conference features the following two main topics: (a) sokuon, or geminate consonants (b) accent, tone, and intonation. UCSC’s  Junko Ito and Armin Mester are invited speakers.

NINJAL invites abstracts for poster presentations related to at least one of the two main topics. If it is related, any presentation is welcome, even if it is not concerned with Japanese. Abstracts on the interface between lexical accent/tone and intonation will be particularly welcome. More information on abstract submission can be found here.



On April 20-22, Ivy Sichel and Jake Vincent travelled to UCLA to participate in the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL)Maura O’Leary, former slug (BA ’13) and one of our recent visiting researchers, was one of the main organizers of WCCFL this year.

As an invited speaker, Ivy presented joint work on demonstratives with Martina Wiltschko (UBC) in a talk titled “Appraisal and Alternatives.”

Jake presented a poster on the research from his first QP about Chamorro internally headed relative clauses. He reports:

I had several helpful conversations that will help me push the research on that project forward. There were lots of interesting/inspiring talks and posters seeking to answer big theoretical questions. It was my first time visiting UCLA. Its campus is very different from UCSC’s, but is still very beautiful. Also, the inverted fountain is super cool.

The program is available here.


The week before last Ryan Bennett spent three very enjoyable days at MIT, where he gave a mini-course on the phonetics, phonology, and morphology of Kaqchikel, along with a colloquium on the unique behavior of subject pronouns under focus and ellipsis in Irish. Ryan was very grateful for the hospitality he received, as well as the many thought-provoking, challenging, and constructive comments made by MIT students and faculty at his presentations.