LURC 2018

This year’s Linguistics Undergraduate Research Conference
(LURC) will take place on Friday, June 8, featuring talks by three current students:

  • Alejandro Garcia: “Verb phrase ellipsis in Spanish”
  • Emily Martinez-Figueroa: “Object movement and comparatives in Spanish”
  • Kevin Sanders: “Reduplication and sonorant epenthesis in Nuxalk”

The Distinguished Alumna Address will be given by Meredith Landman (BA, 1997), currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pomona College, on “The pragmatics of the sentence-final particle o in Yoruba.” The conference will begin at 1:00pm on Friday in the Stevenson Fireside Lounge.

Click here for the LURC program.



On Friday, June 1st, Deniz Rudin successfully defended his dissertation, “Rising above commitment” before the department and an especially robust committee (Pranav Anand, chair; Adrian Brasoveanu; Donka Farkas; Cleo Condoravdi; and Dan Lassiter). Deniz’s thesis argues for a general pragmatic contribution of rising intonation in English, illustrating its application to rising declaratives and rising imperatives, the latter of which festooned his cake (provided by the firm of Foley, Kraus, Roberts, and Sasaki):



On the morning of Monday May 28 (Memorial Day) Jason Ostrove successfully defended his doctoral dissertation When φ-Agreement Targets Topics: The View from San Martín Peras Mixtec. The committee consisted of Ryan Bennett, Sandy Chung, Jim McCloskey (Chair) and alumna Ruth Kramer of Georgetown University. Jason’s dissertation explores many aspects of the clausal syntax of the variety of Mixtec associated with the town of San Martín Peras in Oaxaca, Mexico and it is, as far as is known, the first extended study of the syntax of a Mixtec language in the context of contemporary syntactic theory. The dissertation grows out of an engagement with the local Mixtec diaspora that began in Jason’s first year in the doctoral program at Santa Cruz and it is one of the many threads out of which the WLMA project grew.


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!


MA student Lydia Werthen will be performing next week in the chorus of UCSC’s production of Mozart’s famous opera “The Magic Flute.” The production features costume design in collaboration with Academy of Arts University and sets and lighting by Legend Theatrical. Bruce Kiesling conducts the UCSC orchestra and singers, and Sheila Willey directs. It will be sung in German with English dialogues and English supertitles. Lydia invites everyone to attend – seats are filling up quickly, get your ticket here (students $5, faculty $18).


Deniz Rudin will be defending his dissertation at 11:00am on Friday, June 1st, in HUM 1 Room 210. Deniz’s dissertation is titled “A Tale of Two Contours.” The committee consists of Pranav Anand (chair), Donka Farkas, Adrian Brasoveanu, Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford), and Dan Lassiter (Stanford).