Fourth-year grad student Steven Foley recently visited Reykjavík for NELS 48, hosted by the University of Iceland. There he presented recent work on Georgian relative clause processing, done in collaboration with Matt Wagers. Steven reports an altogether lively and stimulating conference, which featured a number of Santa Cruz alumni, including Eric Baković, Matt Barros, Boris Harizanov, Eric Potsdam, Kyle Rawlins, Rachel Walker, and Aaron Steven White. But more impressive than the conference was Iceland itself. Just outside Reykjavík is an otherworldly landscape of lava fields, glaciers, and geysers (pictured). Steven regrets missing a few other natural phenomena the country is known for (the northern lights, Björk), so he hopes it won’t take another 48 years for Iceland to host NELS again.





On the weekend of 20-21 October, the 10th annual California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) conference was held at UC Irvine. In tribute to the pan-Californian spirit of CUSP, five graduate students from three California universities carpooled from the bay to SoCal — Deniz Rudin of UCSC, Maura O’Leary of UCLA (a former UCSC undergrad and current visitor to the department), and Lelia Glass, Ciyang Qing and Brandon Waldon of Stanford. Rudin spoke on rising imperatives, O’Leary on tense in cleft constructions, Glass on the correlation between causativity and distributivity, Qing on Mandarin dou, and Waldon on the strength and weakness of might and must. Also in attendance was Santa Crucian Hitomi Hirayama, who presented a QUD-based analysis of Japanese contrastive wa, and replaced Glass on the return trip to the North.

The conference was rich with presentations on other topics from students at other California universities, and on display throughout was an atmosphere of discussion that maintained a pleasant balance between trenchant, searching engagement and warm, welcoming collegiality — as always, CUSP serves as an annual reminder that we’re all very lucky to be studying meaning in the Golden State.


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





Graduate student Erik Zyman‘s paper “Quantifier Float as Stranding: Evidence from Janitzio P’urhepecha” has been accepted for publication in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. The paper argues that Janitzio P’urhepecha quantifier float (cf. The girls are all reading) is derived by movement that splits up an underlying nominal (cf. all the girls), stranding the quantifier—challenging the view that floated quantifiers are (always) adverbials adjoined to some clausal projection. One of the main arguments comes from Janitzio P’urhepecha’s strikingly wide array of DP positions (most of them subject positions): whether an ordinary DP is possible, impossible, or marginal in a given position, a floated quantifier behaves the same way in that position. The large array of subject positions uncovered in this investigation lends new support to the “distributed” view of subjecthood. A preprint version of the article may be found here.


Congratulations to Jake Vincent, who successfully defended his first qualifying paper on 9/28, titled “D-raising in Chamorro relative clauses and other A’ constructions”. The main goal of the paper is to motivate an analysis for Chamorro internally headed relative clauses, a construction in which the noun phrase being modified by a relative clause surfaces as an argument inside that relative clause. Jake proposes an analysis in which the head noun phrase is a DP headed by a null operator that undergoes long head movement, stranding the head noun phrase inside the clause. The analysis is motivated by other A’ constructions in Chamorro in which overt determiners raise independently of their nominal restrictor. His committee consisted of Sandy Chung (chair), Matt Wagers, and Maziar Toosarvandani.