Our official first week back culminated in a lovely reception catered by none other than our beloved Viva’s, where we welcomed old and new to the department.

Two new faculty members have joined the department:

Ryan Bennett (Ph.D. UCSC, 2012) comes to us from Yale, where he has been Assistant Professor, and joins the department as Assistant Professor.

Amanda Rysling (Ph.D. UMass, Amherst, 2017) joins us as Assistant Professor as well.

Our incoming graduate class for Fall 2017 consists of two Ph.D. students and four M.A. students:

Jeremie Beauchamps received his B.A. and M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa. His thesis was on posture locatives and existential expressions in Mẽbengokre. This reflects both a broader interest in the syntax-semantics interface, and commitment to original fieldwork on Mẽbengokre and other Jê languages.

Benjamin Eischens received a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, after which he served with AmeriCorps. He has investigated Northern Azeri – the focus of his senior thesis being its light verb constructions. He is primarily interested in syntax, with broader interests in Turkic and Semitic.

Joining us as new MA students are Richard Bibbs (B.A. with honors in Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz, Spring 2017), Dhyana Buckley (Former B.A./M.A.), Lydia Werthen (Former B.A./M.A.), and Anissa Zaitsu (Former B.A./M.A.).

Welcome also to the newest members of the BA/MA Program: Jacob Chemnick and Anny Huang (both of whom you may remember from their past presentations at LURC).

At the reception we also had the opportunity to welcome four undergraduate exchange students from ICU in Tokyo, Japan.


Our congratulations to Karen Duek, who successfully defended her dissertation “Sorting a complex world: an experimental study of polysemy and copredication in container and committee nominals” at the beginning of the summer (June 19th). Many who were present at the defense followed Karen to an after-party, where her success was celebrated with an Oreo Ice Cream Cake. We are happy to see Dr. Duek move ahead, but we will also miss her.


    • Tom Roberts spent much of the summer in Estonia conducting fieldwork, preparing an experiment for QP2, working on miscellaneous projects, exploring the country, and trying every item on the menu at Sõõrikukohvik. He rounded out his trip in his natural milieu–in the midst of semanticists and pragmaticians–with a talk at Sinn und Bedeutung in Potsdam, Germany, before descending once more on sunny Santa Cruz.
    • Kelsey Kraus spent the first part of the break in Göttingen at a summer school on Speech Acts and Historical Linguistics. After a bit of time back in Santa Cruz, she returned to Germany at the beginning of September, but this time to Konstanz, to present at the Questioning Speech Acts Workshop. She’ll be visiting there for most of the Fall quarter, where she will be working with the Questions at the Interfaces Research Unit on English and German discourse particles.
    • Deniz Rudin ventured to Germany to do semantics things. His account: “This summer I went to Berlin to hang out, eat döner, experience efficient public transportation, watch Thomas De Haven Roberts deliver the UCSC Linguistics Annual Second-Year Semanticist’s First QP Sinn und Bedeutung Talk, and drink on the street. Kelsey Kraus and I then drove in a rented car to Göttingen, whither retired linguist and future librarian Andreas Walker (a former UCSC visiting graduate student) had just moved that very week. He graciously allowed us to sleep among his un-unpacked boxes in his charming apartment accessible only via a giant hefty skeleton key. The three of us watched a movie set in NorCal together, and dreamt of home. My peripatetic colleague and I then drove to Konstanz (the Santa Cruz of Europe), where we each presented our (separate) work on the meanings of English intonational tunes at Sven Lauer & Regine Eckardt’s Questioning Speech Acts workshop. Much camaraderie was on display during the startlingly well-programmed sessions, in which excellent work was presented on a cluster of similar themes, and everybody was nice to everybody else despite nobody quite agreeing with each other.”
    • Jeff Adler, the most recent grad ghost of UCSC, participated in an informal workshop hosted by Shigeto Kawahara (UCSC/ICU undergrad alum), at Keio University in Japan, where he was also doing research. Participants included a group of UC Santa Cruz and ICU (International Christian University) people and alums. Jeff gave a talk on the work that he, Junko Ito, Armin Mester, and Nick Kalivoda have done on ‘Microvariation in Kagoshima pitch accent systems’.
      There was a group of to-be Santa Cruzers from ICU:
      Takahiro Asayma
      Shota Shibahashi
      Yoshika Kuroiwa
      Ayaka Sugioka

      Then, (sort-of) current UCSC people:
      Jeff Adler
      Armin Mester
      Junko Ito

      And finally, some other unrelated people:
      Yoko Sugioka (a former fellow grad student, and close friend, of Donka Farkas)
      Robert Daland
      Shinichiro Sano
      Manami Hirayma

    • Kelsey Sasaki spent a month in Hawai’i researching HC and visiting family, then a week in Alaska planting seeds for future HC research. She sliced melons and croissants for the Nido de Lenguas, and worked with our Zapotec consultants in LA. She also went to Minneapolis for a humanities/social sciences workshop. While there, she met Deniz Rudin’s best friend, but no Hedding brothers.
    • Erik Zyman presented on “XP- and X°-movement in the Latin Verb: Evidence from Mirroring and Anti-Mirroring” (joint work with Nick Kalivoda) at the Yale Syntax Reading Group, did a bunch of other syntax, had a blast at his fifth college reunion, and traveled to Blairsville, GA, to watch the eclipse from within the totality belt.
    • After a brief camping vacation in (a somewhat flooded) Yosemite, Jake Vincent spent the summer in Santa Cruz finishing up his QP research on Chamorro relative clauses. He also helped with the organization of the Nido de Lenguas, which was at the beginning of September. His highlight of that was getting to make a lotería board game to help event participants learn the sentence structure of Santiago Laxopa Zapotec and San Martín Peras Mixtec.
    • In early summer Donka Farkas participated in an Inquisitive Semantics workshop, organized by former LRC visitor Floris Roelofsen, in Broek in Waterland, Holland. The program is available here. She reports: “It was one of the best workshops I remember, both in terms of content and organization. The setting was idyllic but the atmosphere was intense, and the discussions incisive, generous and enlightening. Alumn Kyle Rawlins (Johns Hopkins) and department friend and neighbor Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford) were among the speakers. A second workshop will take place in December, in Amsterdam, right before the Amsterdam Colloquium. Note that one of the invited speakers there will be alumn Scott AnderBois (Brown).”
    • Maho Morimoto attended the ASA (Acoustical Society of America) Boston meeting, after which she had a precious experience at the six-day festival in Santiago Laxopa, Oaxaca, where she integrated to the local banda de viento, Banda Filarmonica Macedonio Alcalá. Her Immersion in the Oaxacan languages and culture continued as she worked towards the Nido de Lenguas with a team led by Maziar and Pranav. She concluded her summer travels with a trip to Tokyo, where she ran a production experiment using EMA.
    • Adrian Brasoveanu spent a good part of the summer modeling linguistic phenomena in a new implementation of the ACT-R cognitive architecture (pyactr, book in progress). One of the advantages of this new implementation is that it can be easily enhanced with a Bayesian estimation ‘backend’, which can be seen at work in a poster presentation on ‘Modeling lexical access in ACT-R’ at AMLaP. The poster as well as the research program and the underlying framework are the results of a long-term collaboration with former LRC visitor Jakub Dotlacil.
    • ​Jed Pizarro-Guevara flew to Lexington, KY to enjoy bourbon and present a paper based on his second qualifying paper at the Morphological Typology and Linguistic Cognition Workshop. After, he ​helped organize Nido de Lenguas​. ​Unfortunately, he wasn’t there for the actual event since he had to fly to Metro Manila to collect data for his QE at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. When he wasn’t working, he was sighted near food establishments in Quezon City, scarfing down enough food to feed an entire village.


On Saturday, the department gathered en masse to celebrate and appreciate the many many contributions of three faculty retiring this year, Sandy Chung, Bill Ladusaw, and Armin Mester. The festivities were chaired by Judith Aissen, who began by assuring the retirees that the Other Side was in many ways better (free parking!) and then oversaw a procession of faculty (Jim McCloskey, Jaye Padgett, and Matt Wagers) and former students (Chris Barker, Vera Gribanova, Louise McNally, and Rachel Walker) whose tributes evoked the wit, the wisdom, and the warmth of the honorees. Between the stories swapped, the pictures shared, and the old friends who joined us to celebrate three remarkable careers, it was an event both joyous and (in Judith’s words) a touch mournful. Thanks go to the organizers, Adrian Brasoveanu, Ashley Hardisty, Junko Ito, and Maria Zimmer for putting together an event at once so spontaneously heartfelt and carefully orchestrated. (Take that, Tonys.)

The vignettes offered–of Armin contemplating the true nature of optimality theory in his in-deck hot tub, of Sandy daring Matt Wagers to just try to run an experiment outside laboratory confines, of the veritable Ars Linguistica Bill has imparted to students across the years (an audience favorite regarding including a bit of formalism in a general talk: It’s good to show a glint of steel beneath the velvet glove.)–vividly reminded the audience of the personalities the department will soon miss. But we will miss much more. The various encomiums heaped upon the three sounded the same themes over and over: a gift for teaching and mentoring; a dedication alongside research to university service; and, above all, a striving for lasting insight beyond the technical, modish, or easy that inspired students and colleagues alike. This last characteristic is the goal every Santa Cruz linguist aspires to, and Armin, Bill, and Sandy have played instrumental roles in imprinting that desire on several generations of scholars.

For their countless contributions to the fields of Phonology, Semantics, and Syntax, to the students who their words and their acts inspired, to the university which owes greatly to their probity and grace, and, ultimately, to the department they called home for three decades (and then some), we thank them.

May the next phase be even better!


Karen Duek will be defending her dissertation at 11:30am on Monday, June 19th, in HUM 1 Room 210. Karen’s dissertation is titled “Sorting a complex world: an experimental study of polysemy and copredication in container and committee nominals.” The committee consists of Adrian Brasoveanu (chair), Donka Farkas, and Pranav Anand.