26 September 2011

SCROLL issue for the week of September 26, 2011

SCROLL issue for the week of September 26, 2011

New Faculty Profile:
Welcome to our two new faculty members Khalil Iskarous and Karen Jesney!
Khalil Iskarous:
"I'm one of the two new phonologists at USC, and quite excited to be here. It's great to be in Southern California! My research centers on the interaction between phonological representations and the grammatical constraints that shape those representations. Do the physical differences between voice, nasality, place of articulation, etc. play a role in shaping the rules/constraints that affect each of these gestures? Or should we expect phonological phenomena affecting each of them to be roughly the same? The goal is not just to understand how language is affected by the physical medium that carries it, but, reciprocally, how language deeply structures the dynamics of that physical medium. I've spent the last 10 years working at Haskins Laboratories, a great place for investigating speech production and speech perception, and their relation to grammatical structure. Most of my work there related to the incredible tongue, and how its motions are discretized in the act of speaking. I'm hoping to continue this work here at USC and to collaborate with my new colleagues to extend it in new directions: the relation between prosodic structure and speech production, the relation between syntactic and phonological pattern formation principles, and computational approaches to linguistic structure. Oh, and I like cafe-hopping, traveling, hiking, movies, walking (a lot), and hanging out with friends."

Karen Jesney:
"Karen's research focuses on the modeling of sound patterns in adult language and the developing language of children. Using simulation techniques, she studies the learning paths that are predicted to emerge given different theories of phonology, and tests these predictions against corpora of child language data. Most recently, her work has specifically concentrated upon the differences that emerge depending if phonological systems are modeled using ranked versus weighted constraints." (From the USC Dornsife New Faculty profiles 2011-12)

Talks This Week:
Phonlunch: Nancy Hall: Epenthetic Vowels in Lebanese Arabic
Linguistics Reading Room (GFS 330) - Sept 26th

PhonLunch Schedule for the Fall Semester: (Mondays 1-2 pm)
September 19th: Khalil Iskarous
September 26th: Nancy Hall
October 3rd: Reading for Matt Goldrick Colloquium
October 10th: Daylen Riggs
October 17th: Karen Jesney
October 26th: Peter Guekguezian
November 7th: Reading for Michael Kenstowicz Colloquium
November 14th: Christina Hagedorn
November 21st: Mike Proctor
November 28th: Daylen Riggs

USC Linguists at Sinn und Bedeutung:
Mythili Menon: “Two ways of forming comparatives in Malayalam”
Sarah Ouwayda: “Cardinals, Agreement, and Plurality in Lebanese Arabic”

USC Linguists at NELS:
Katy McKinney-Bock: "An Argument for Interval Semantics of Gradable Adjectives"
Sarah Ouwayda: "Plurality, Agreement, and Interpretation"

USC Linguists at LSA:
Iris C-Y Ouyang & Elsi Kaiser: "Focus-marking in a tone language: Prosodic cues in Mandarin Chinese."
Bin Yin & Elsi Kaiser: "L2 acquisition of event structure: Effects of complexity on the acquisition of telicity"
Barbara Tomaszewicz: "Semantics and visual cognition: the processing of Bulgarian and Polish majority quantifiers"

Editors: Alfredo García Pardo, Iris C-Y Ouyang, Sarah Ouwayda, and Roumyana Pancheva

17 September 2011

Department Picnic

Check out all the pictures from the department welcome-back picnic!

Department picnic on picassa

Thanks to Priyanka Biswas for sharing the pictures!

16 September 2011

Colloquium schedule 2011-2012

Monday, October 3rd - Matt Goldrick (Northwestern)
Behavioral studies of language processing (Psycholinguistics, Cognitive neuropsychology, Acoustic phonetics); Mathematical and computational models of language processing; Generative phonology; Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar

Monday November 7th - Michael Kenstovicz (MIT)
Phonology, Phonetics, African and East Asian Languages

Monday, November 14th - Ian Roberts (Cambridge University)
Comparative syntax
Ian Roberts received his PhD from the USC Department of Linguistics in 1985. His dissertation, supervised by Osvaldo Jaeggli, was entitled The Representation of Implicit and Dethematized Subjects.

Monday, February 13th - Yael Sharvit (UCLA)
Semantics, Pragmatics, Syntax-Semantics interface, Phonology, PhoneticsSemitic linguistics

Monday, April 9th - Edward Flemming (MIT)
Phonology, Phonetics

Monday, April 16th - Michael Wagner (McGill)
Prosody/Syntax, Prosody/Semantics, Phonology, Language Processing

10 September 2011

Summer Highlights

Welcome to a new semester! We hope this has been a nice productive summer for everyone!

Christina Hagedorn presented a poster at the 9th International Seminar on Speech Production, in Montreal at the end of June. Then, in July, she attended a summer school on robust statistics in Bertinoro, Italy. At the end of August, she gave a talk at Interspeech 2011, in Florence, Italy.

Jim Higginbotham was Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford in the Trinity Term (late April-late June), and gave five lectures, mostly on the "de se." He spoke also at a Workshop in Cambridge (Ian Roberts and Company). Finally, Barry Smith and Jim gave two lectures each and participated in a Q&A session before a large audience all day 28 May at Rewley House, Oxford, on "Knowledge of Meaning."
Jim’s Oxford contract has been renewed for the next two years, so something like the last adventure will be repeated.

Elsi Kaiser attended Sofiana Chiriacescu's dissertation defense at the University of Stuttgart in Germany in July (Sofiana was a visiting student at USC last semester). Elsi also gave a talk at Stuttgart and at a conference in France. Right now she is returning from the main psycholinguistics conference in Europe, AMLaP (Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing), which was held in Paris Sept 1-Sept 3.

Sarah Ouwayda spent June and July in Lebanon, where she worked on her qualifying paper, and attended muntadaa Taraablus al-shi?ri (The Tripoli Forum for Classical Arabic poetry). She attended the European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI) in Ljubljana in August, passed her candidacy defense at the end of August, and gave a talk on Cardinals, Agreement, and Plurality in Lebanese Arabic in Sinn und Bedeutung (SuB) in Utrecht in September. She will be giving a talk entitled Agreement and Interpretation at the North East Linguistics Society (NELS) in Toronto in November.

6pm view from underneath the ESSLLI site

In late May, Roumyana Pancheva gave an invited talk at the Linguistics Colloquium at UC Santa Cruz. She spent 3 weeks in late July and early August at the NYI summer school in St. Petersburg, Russia, teaching an advanced class on Meaning and Structure and co-teaching an introductory class on Universals of Language with John Bailyn and Jaye Padgett. She spent the rest of August with her family in Barcelona and Costa Brava

picture credit: Caroline Heycock

Barbara Tomaszewicz spent July running experiments in Barcelona which was made possible by the summer grant from USC Dornsife College Del Amo Foundation and the wonderful people associated with GLiF at UPF. She then attended the ESSLLI summer school in Ljubljana.

Erika Varis’s summer consisted of baby Remy and quals. :) She had a baby, finished her quals paper 2 weeks postpartum, completed the questions, and successfully defended. She is exploring a few more options from the quals data to inform the details of the dissertation, and then it's thesis writing and job-searching. In upcoming news: Erika is presenting research from my qualifying experiment at the ASA in the beginning of November.

Aaron Walker and Yi-Hsien Liu got married!

Introducing our new first year cohort!

Welcome to our new first year students! Here's a brief introduction to each of them (in alphabetical order):

Huilin Fang:
"I am from Taiwan. My home town is Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. I recieved my B.A. at National Tsing Hua University at Hsinchu, a city in northern Taiwan. My majors were Chinese Literature and Foriegn Languages. Later I recieved my M.A. at the Department of Linguistics in the same university. My primary interest in linguistics is syntax, especially on the syntax of East Asian Languages. In my thesis, I worked on the syntax of Mandarin existential constructions. During my graduate years in National Tsing Hua University, I also worked on a project on Saisiyat, an Austronesian language spoken in northern Taiwan.I speak Mandarin Chinese, Taiwan Southern Min (a Min Nan dialect spoken in Taiwan), and English, and I am starting to learn Japanese right now. In m leisure hours, I love reading, seeing movies, and drawing."

Dasha Henderer is coming to USC from California State University, Fresno, where she received her MA in linguistics with an option in TESOL. For her master’s project, Dasha worked on Russian phonology and explored the idea of prosodic movement in Colloquial Russian. Besides linguistics Dasha likes camping, fishing, reading, baking “Crazy Ivan” (ask her about it) and just hanging out with her husband Brian. Dasha is excited about upcoming years and looking forward to getting to know everybody in the department.

Peter Ara Guekguezian:
"My name is Peter Ara Guekguezian. I'm from Fresno, California, but I grew up in Las Vegas. I went to St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, for my undergraduate studies, where I had a classical liberal arts education, studying math, science, philosophy, music, poetry, and literature. I did my Master's in Linguistics at Fresno State, and I wrote my thesis on the morphology and phonology of verbs in Chukchansi Yokuts, a Native American language spoken near Fresno. I will continue to do work with the Chukchansi language, but I'm open to any other language as well. I haven't made up my mind what to specialize in yet: I like most everything in linguistics, from phonology and syntax to language evolution and typology.
As far as non-linguistic things go, I like a variety of stuff (who doesn't?), including cooking, dancing, watching and playing sports, camping, and playing the trumpet. I don't read much these days outside linguistics, unfortunately. When I do, it's usually about history, philosophy, politics or geography if I'm in an intellectual mood; comics, food magazines, or the sports section if not. When I'm with friends, I like to play games, preferably low-tech (cards, board games), watch TV, or just converse.
I am Armenian on both sides, and really close to my family (who are mostly here in the States), but I don't speak the language that well. In fact, I'm really only comfortable speaking English, but of course I'd love to change that. On the other hand, I can translate Latin and Greek pretty well if I have a lexicon. I know snippets of many languages, and have briefly studied quite a few, including Nahuatl, Yakut, and Hawai'ian. I also know enough Spanish to halfway communicate with speakers if they speak slowly and have loads of patience."

Alfredo Garcia Prado:
"My name is Alfredo Garcia Pardo. I received my B.A. in English Philology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and an M.A in Spanish at the same university. My thesis title (translated) was "Auxiliary Selection in Complex Tenses. A formal analysis of Old Spanish". Also, I have an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. I have taught Spanish during the summer for a couple of years at an NGO in my hometown. Academically, my main interest so far has been syntax and the lexicon-syntax interface. I speak Spanish (native), English (fluent) and French (intermediate).
In my free time, I like watching classic movies and reading novels and poetry. I love ballet and the opera, but due to my tight budget I barely have a chance to see it live. I am also interested, as a hobby, in philosophy (mostly Nietzche) and gender studies."
Alfredo is also the newest SCROLL editor! Welcome on board, Alfredo!

Caitlin Smith:
"I'm originally from the Imperial Valley, which is east of San Diego and 'famous' for being a filming location for movies that are set in the desert (we have sand dunes and everything) and for having the highest unemployment rate in the country. I went to UCLA for undergrad, where I majored in linguistics and history. I was a research assistant to Pat Keating and worked in the phonetics lab when I was a junior and senior, mainly on a project involving pitch and voice quality. After I graduated I moved to San Diego (free rent at grandma's house!) and worked at a school that teaches ESL to adult international students, mostly from Korea. Now I'm very happy to be back in LA and back in school. I'm really not sure what my main area of interest is going to be, but I have a feeling it may be phonetics/phonology. I couldn't tell you where all my free time goes. I seem to be constantly walking my dogs. Now I'm worried that that might be my only hobby. I like to bake but I don't do it as often as I used to."

Ulrike Steindl:
"My name is Ulrike Steindl, my nickname that everybody uses (also back home) is Ulli, only my family calls me Ulrike, I'm 26. I am from Austria. My hometown is actually a tiny place called Langenlois which is about an hour's drive from Vienna, but I've been living in Vienna since 2003. I did my MAs at the University of Vienna in linguistics and Chinese studies, where I graduated in 2010. The title of my thesis was "Grammatical Issues in the Chinese Classifier System: The Case of Classifier Reduplication" In the last half year, I worked in a historical linguistics project about Tocharian (check out their not-yet webdesigned, not-yet very functional homepage at www.univie.ac.at/tocharian - the project is conceived to run for another 5 1/2 years, so it need not be perfect yet). Because I'm not that passionate about historical linguistics, but more passionate about syntax and semantics, I chose to come to USC. My native language is Austrian German, which is of course very similar to German German, but is a little different for example in onset aspiration patterns on the phonological side, and has some other funny properties like articles with proper names and wh- copies in wide extraction. I also speak English, Mandarin, and a little French. When I don't do linguistics I knit (it's not as old-fashioned as it sounds), row (unfortunately, I don't think I will have a chance to do that in LA any time soon), go to restaurants and read."

Welcome to USC guys!