On Thursday, Sandy Chung, Matt Wagers, Jed Pizarro-Guevara, Jake Vincent, and Richard Bibbs were at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, for the 25th Annual Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association. They report a collegial environment to exchange ideas and nerd out on anything Austronesian.

Sandy and Matt opened the conference on Thursday with an invited talk about resumptive pronouns in Chamorro and Palauan. They argue that in both languages, resumptive pronouns arise in two ways: one that is licensed by the grammar, and another that is produced outside the grammar.

Jed (joint work with Matt) presented experimental evidence for an asymmetry in the extraction-restriction in Tagalog, and proposed that the results could be reframed as two grammars in competition. He provides computational evidence consistent with a two-grammar hypothesis.

The first day ended with a bang—with a Chinese lauriat, a multi-course meal that seemed endless! Especially noteworthy is the soup called “Buddha jumps over the wall”.

On Friday, former banana slug Eric Potsdam (University of Florida) opened the second day with an invited talk about ellipsis in Malagasy.

Later that day, Jake gave a presentation about the encoding of sentential negation in Chamorro and how phrases exhibiting negative concord might be licensed. He focused on explaining the inability for subjects to either signal sentential negation or exhibit negative concord without undergoing focus movement to Spec, CP.

Finally, Richard presented on an agentive nominalizing morpheme in Chamorro. He claimed that the morpheme is a reduplicant, and proposed a markedness analysis accounting for why the vowel of the reduplicant surfaces as non-identical to the vowel in the base.

Richard, Jake, and Jed enjoyed the company of new friends and old. Night markets, festival for a sea goddess, delicious oolong tea, craft cocktails, karaoke, and efficient public transportation were some of the things in Taiwan that they really appreciate. They can’t wait to be back!Pictured (left to right): Richard Bibbs, Jake Vincent, Eric Potsdam, Sandy Chung, Matt Wagers, Jed Pizarro-Guevara


Congratulations to Kelsey Kraus for a successful defense this past Tuesday of her thesis “Great Intonations”, with Pranav Anand (chair), Donka Farkas, and Grant McGuire serving as the committee. Kelsey’s dissertation explores the ways in which expectation violation is realized in discourse particles, intonation, and their interaction. In an instance of life mirroring art, Kelsey’s defense during the strike was an exercise in continual expectational recalibration. It really took a village to ensure this happened on time: Thanks to Jorge Hankamer for hosting her defense, to Maria Zimmer for coordinating all the details, and to Jenny Bellik for crucial A/V support.

Pictured: An intonationally contoured princess cake in celebration of the event, courtesy of Steven Foley and Tom Roberts.


Congratulations to Nick Kalivoda on his successful dissertation defense on April 13th, 2018.   His Command Theory of Syntax-Prosody Interface generated a spirited discussion from the committee members (Junko Ito (chair), Armin Mester, Jim McCloskey, and Alan Prince on skype) as well as from the audience.  Well defended, Nick!


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.


Anissa Zaitsu and Tom Roberts were in Chicago last weekend at CLS 54. Anissa presented a talk on why-VP constructions, bravely arguing in the Ellipsis session that they are derived non-elliptically. Tom gave a talk about experimental work on the pragmatics of biased polar questions in Estonian. They report a collegial environment, full of plenty of new friends and raucous multilingual karaoke.


Congratulations to current linguistics major (and history double major) Ian Kussin-Gika, whose project “Kinderlach and Communists: or A Comparison between Soviet Ethnic Policy and Labour Zionism Through the Lens of the Infamous JAO” has been selected to receive a 2017-18 Deans’ Undergraduate award. The award will be recognized at the Annual Humanities Spring Awards Celebration. The announcement of the award states that “the projects submitted this year were outstanding and reflect the high caliber of work of the students who undertook research projects.”

Congratulations again, Ian!