Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Linguistics Undergraduate Research Conference (LURC) on Friday, June 8. Three undergraduates in Linguistics and Language studies — Alejandro Garcia, Kevin Sanders, and Emily Martinez-Figueroa — presented original research dealing with topics in ellipsis, movement, focus, comparatives, reduplication, and prosody. The conference was capped off with a lovely presentation by UCSC undergraduate alumna Meredith Landman, entitled “The pragmatics of the sentence-final particle o in Yoruba”. Congratulations to our student presenters for a job well-done!

Thanks also to Hitomi Hirayama, who provided photo coverage of the event. Some highlights are included below.

Pictured: Kevin Sanders

Pictured: Meredith Landman

Pictured: Alejandro Garcia

Pictured: Emily Martinez-Figueroa

Pictured (Left to right): Alejandro Garcia, Kevin Sanders, Ryan Bennett, Emily Martinez-Figueroa, Meredith Landman





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.


Last Friday, Christopher Garcia, a third-year linguistics major awarded both a Koret Undergraduate Research Scholarship and a Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship (HUGRA) in 2017-2018, presented the findings of his project on wh-movement in Santiago Laxopa Zapotec at both the Koret Undergraduate Research Slam and Celebrating Humanities Spring Awards Ceremony. In these poster presentations, he explored how wh-movement operates in this Zapotec variety and the constraints that are, or are not, imposed on it. He is looking forward to continuing his research in the upcoming year, working some of the many native speakers of Zapotec who live in the Santa Cruz area.






Last Tuesday, graduate student Erik Zyman gave a talk at the University of Chicago entitled “On the Timing of Adjunction.” He reports that he received a warm welcome and numerous helpful questions and comments, and had productive meetings with faculty and graduate students about both their work and his, for all of which he’s grateful to his UChicago hosts (not to be confused with adjunction hosts).


Congratulations to Tom Roberts who successfully defended his QP 2 on May 4. His project is entitled “Pragmatic licensing of Estonian biased polar questions: An experimental study.” His committee included Donka Farkas (chair), Adrian Brasoveanu, and Amanda Rysling. Congratulations Tom!

Congratulations to Lydia Werthen who successfully defended her MA Thesis on May 16. Her project is entitled “Interrogative Continuation: A neglected puzzle.” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Donka Farkas, and Ryan Bennett. Congratulations Lydia!

Congratulations to Anissa Zaitsu who successfully defended her MA Thesis on . Her project is entitled “Why make sense of silence: The clausal syntax of a reduced why question.” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Jorge Hankamer, and Pranav Anand. Congratulations Anissa!

Congratulations to Mansi Desai who successfully defended her MA Thesis on June 5th. Her project is entitled “Polarity and Probing: Building Clauses in Gujarati” Her committee included Jim McCloskey (chair), Jorge Hankamer, and Maziar Toosarvandani. Congratulations Mansi!


Congratulations to Anissa Zaitsu, who, having successfully defended her MA thesis on May 22nd, has been offered and has accepted a Baggett Fellowship in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland. Anissa will hold the fellowship for the academic year 2018-19 and will principally be working (with a group which includes Valentine Hacquard, Jeff Lidz, and Alexander Williams) on covert expressions of modality, one of the major themes in her thesis research. Best of luck, Anissa!



A joint paper by assistant professor Ryan Bennett, Kevin Tang (Zhejiang University), and Juan Ajsivinac Sian has recently appeared in Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon). The paper, entitled “Statistical and acoustic effects on the perception of stop consonants in Kaqchikel (Mayan),” makes several proposals about phoneme representation and speech perception through an investigation of plain, ejective, and implosive stops in Kaqchikel, using experimental and corpus methodologies.


The UCSC linguistics department dispatched intrepid reporter Deniz Rudin to cover the 28th annual Semantics And Linguistic Theory conference, which was hosted this year by MIT (in addition to his journalistic duties, he presented a poster on Rising Imperatives — attendees listened with measured politeness). Impressive presentations were delivered on a wide variety of topics, several of which didn’t even mention covert exhaustification or grammaticized implicature generation, and much collegial merriment was observed, the culmination of which was a reception, dinner, and karaoke session held in the MIT museum. Bonds of mutual professiono-personal regard were cemented that will presumably endure for a lifetime. Thanks to the organizers, and looking forward to next year!