LaLoCo: Continued discussion and hands-on implementation of Bayesian modeling
LIP: Creel et al (2008), “Heeding the voice of experience: The role of talker variation in lexical access”
PHLUNCH: Jardine (2016), “Computationally, Tone is Different”
S-Lab: Informal discussion of talks and posters from CUNY
S̅-Circle: Bošković and Messick (to appear), “Derivational economy in syntax and semantics”
SPLAP: Ward & Hirschberg (1988), “Intonation and Propositional Attitudes”
WLMA: Nick Kalivoda will present joint work with Steven Foley and Maziar Toosarvandani on Gender-Case Constraints in Zapotec.


This Friday, April 14th, at 2:40pm in Hum 2 Room 259, we’re kicking off this quarter’s colloquium series with our own Junko Ito and Armin Mester (UCSC). Their talk is entitled “Pitch Accent and Tonal Alignment,” and the abstract is given below.

Recent work (Kubozono 2009, Ito and Mester 2016, among others) has established that the metrical foot plays an irreducible role in the accent pattern of Japanese and its dialects. Here we make a complementary point: Some features of pitch accent systems are irreducibly tonal in
nature, and follow from the constraints aligning tonal melodies with prosodic structure. As a warm-up, we show that the autosegmental well-formedness conditions, recast as OT constraints on tonal alignment and tonal faithfulness, allow for a simple analysis of the recessive accent pattern of Ancient Greek, which has resisted a successful analysis in terms of foot structure (Steriade, Golston, Kiparsky), but follows directly in an account squarely centered on the rightward alignment of the word melody HL+L.

In the main part of the talk, we present some results of the Santa Cruz Accent Project (Adler/Ito/Kalivoda/Mester) on the microvariation in the pitch accent systems of the dialects of Kagoshima Prefecture: the main Satsuma dialect, and the separate dialects of Koshikijima island and the southernmost Kikaijima island (close to the Ryukyu archepelago). All these dialects, except for the main Satsuma dialect, are in serious decline in terms of numbers of speakers. We show that the accentual microvariation in Kagoshima Japanese is due to a simple reranking of the basic constraints aligning the accentual melodies HL and H. The difference in TBU between dialects (syllable- vs. mora-counting behavior), difficult to analyze as a parameter setting, follows from the ranking of constraints against tonal contours on moras and syllables.


During the spring break, Junko Ito traveled to Japan to give a keynote talk (in collaboration with Armin Mester) at a workshop honoring the 60th birthday of Haruo Kubozono (former LRC visitor, and currently the President of the Linguistic Society of Japan). In the audience, and asking good questions, was UCSC Ph.D. alum Philip Spaelti, who is now Department Chair at Shoin University. The work that Junko presented is part of the Santa Cruz Accent Project (Adler/Ito/Kalivoda/Mester), which we will be able to hear about at the colloquium this Friday.


The Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland is looking to fill up to 3 full-time positions for post-baccalaureate researchers, including two Baggett fellowships. Alum Aaron White (BA, 2009) and current graduate student and WHASC maven Tom Roberts were both Baggett fellows, and former undergrad Shayne Sloggett (BA, 2010) was an RA at UMD as well.

Starting date for all positions is Summer/Fall 2017. Salary is competitive, with benefits included. The positions would be ideal for individuals with a BA degree who are interested in gaining significant research experience in a very active research group as preparation for a research career. Applicants must already have permission to work in the US, or be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and should have completed a BA or BS degree by the time of appointment. The ability to interact comfortably with a wide variety of people (and machines) is a distinct advantage.

Applicants may request to be considered for all positions. For best consideration, applications should be submitted by April 21st, 2017. For more information on the positions and how to apply, click here.


On Saturday, March 18th, the department hosted Linguistics at Santa Cruz (LASC), which was a resounding success, featuring talks on linguistic topics of all shapes and sizes on languages both near and far. The day of talks by second- and third-years was rounded out by distinguished UCSC alumnus Kyle Rawlins’s talk on “Unary ‘or'”. The evening was then capped off with a feast and commensurate levels of merrymaking at the Cowell Provost House. Thanks to everyone who helped make LASC happen–in particular, Lisa Hofmann, our LASC paparazzo, who provided us with this photo of the LASC presenters:

LASC 2017 presenters

Back row: Matt Wagers (LING 290 instructor), Margaret Kroll, Tom Roberts, Steven Foley, Jed Pizarro-Guevara, Jake Vincent
Front row: Hitomi Hirayama, Lauren McGarry, Kelsey Sasaki, Kyle Rawlins


On the Saturday of LASC, March 18th, current and former students and colleagues celebrated Sandy Chung‘s 30th anniversary at UCSC by presenting her with a collection of essays inspired by her influence. Spearheaded by Jason Ostrove, Ruth Kramer, and Joey Sabbagh, the papers are diverse in topics, much like Sandy’s own interests, and range from Chamorro morphophonology, the syntax and semantics of nominal expressions, the argument/adjunct distinction, and psycholinguistic investigations of the person/animacy hierarchy. Congratulations Sandy!

The festschrift, “Asking the Right Questions,” is available on escholarship here.

Sandy Chung receiving her festschrift from Jason Ostrove
Sandy Chung receiving her festschrift from Jason Ostrove