10 September 2011

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!

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