30 September 2013

Summer update from Undergrad Linguistics Student Evi Alva

Evi Alva, who is currently a senior in USC's undergraduate linguistics program and a research assistant in Dr. Elsi Kaiser's Language Processing Lab, spent her summer in the Amazon forest of Brazil, in a town called São Gabriel da Cachoeira. There, she worked with University of Rochester professor/field linguist Wilson da Silva on documenting the language Desano.

Desano is spoken by only 200-300 individuals in Colombia and Brazil, making it an endangered language. Desano has been endangered due to language policies in Brazil, which recognize Portuguese as the one official language. Evi's focus was on adding to the database of the Desano translation dictionary (to English, Spanish, and Portuguese) and documenting Desano through photographs and interviews with native speakers about the flora, fauna, food and other topics of their environment. Evi also helped in recording data, transcribing and interviewing the native Desano speakers, and collecting data on their cultural views.

Thanks for sharing your impressive summer work with us, Evi!

Evi working with Desano speakers

19 September 2013

USC at AMLaP 2013

The main European psycholinguistics conference, AMLaP; Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP), was held at Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France this year from Sept 2-4. USC had several representatives attending the conference this year:

Effects of syntactic flexibility on Korean production: Cross-linguistic Asymmetries
Heeju Hwang & Elsi Kaiser (talk)

Auditory and Articulatory Interference on Rhyme Judgments
Dasha Henderer & Elsi Kaiser (poster)

Perspective-taking Effects on Pronoun Interpretation
Elsi Kaiser & Emily Fedele (poster)

Causality in Vision and Language
Elsi Kaiser, David Cheng-Huan Li & Iris Chuoying Ouyang (poster)

Some photographs follow:

Professor Elsi Kaiser presents a poster to attendees
Dasha Henderer with her poster 
Heeju Hwang outside the conference
Sunset at Marseille's Vieux Port (old harbor)
Congratulations to all who presented at the conference!

17 September 2013

Barbara Tomaszewicz's Summer Update

Graduate student Barbara Tomaszewicz had a very productive summer in Europe between teaching, giving talks, and even finding some time for a vacation. She has shared some details and photos with SCROLL:

In June and July, Barbara was working with the members of the Center for General and Comparative Linguistics at the University of Wrocław. 
The lab at Wrocław
In June she was invited to give a talk at the University of Tuebingen, entitled 
Superlative Ambiguities and Focus

Scenic street in Tuebingen
Also in June, Barbara taught a short course at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, entitled "Comparatives, Superlatives and Focus Association."

Street scene in Brno
In July, she had a week of vacation in Portugal. 

Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal
In August, Barbara co-chaired the Logic and Language Student Session at the European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI) at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Thanks to Barbara for the summer update, and welcome back to Los Angeles! 

14 September 2013

Professor Guerzoni at the International Congress on Linguistics

Professor Elena Guerzoni attended the 19th International Congress of Linguistics, held this year from July 21 - 27 at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Her presentation was called:

Whether or Not Anything but Not Whether Anything or Not
Elena Guerzoni and Yael Shavrit (UCLA)

Congratulations to Professor Guerzoni on her presentation!

12 September 2013

Professor Pancheva at NYI Summer School

Over the summer, USC Linguistics Professor Roumi Pancheva taught at the NYI Summer School. Classes took place from July 15 to Aug 2 at the St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Professor Pancheva taught several classes, including Conditionals (with Rajesh Bhatt of UMass and Sabine Iatridou of MIT), Implicit Arguments (with Rajesh Bhatt of UMass), and Aspect (with Sabine Iatridou of MIT and Sergei Tatevosov of Moscow State University). The summer school brings together faculty and students from all over the world, and aims to give opportunities to study outside of traditional discipline areas.

Following the summer school, Professor Pancheva visited Moscow. She has also provided us with some wonderful pictures of her time in Russia:

A sculpture in the courtyard at St. Petersburg State University
Professor Pancheva in front of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg
Outside the Palace Square and Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Professor Pancheva at the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square
Thanks for sharing your summer activities, Professor Pancheva!

11 September 2013

Congratulations to Sarah Benor

Professor Sarah Benor, adjunct associate professor at the USC Linguistics department, and professor at the Hebrew Union College, has recently been appointed to the position of interim director of the Hebrew Union College Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at USC.

Professor Benor has also been speaking about her book, Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism, at the Library of Congress, the University of Minnesota, Oxford University, and the University of Antwerp. 

Congratulations to Professor Benor on her new appointment and the success of her book!

05 September 2013

Congratulations to Hagit Borer

Professor Hagit Borer, formerly of the USC Linguistics department and now of the Queen Mary University of London, has been named as a member of the 2014 class of fellows of the Linguistic Society of America. This honor recognizes LSA members who have made distinguished contributions to the field of linguistics.

Many congratulations to Professor Borer!

03 September 2013

USC at the 2013 Linguistic Institute

The 2013 Linguistic Institute, sponsored by the Linguistic Society of America and the University of Michigan Department of Linguistics, was held from June 24 to July 19, 2013 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The theme of this year's institute was "Universality and Variability."

Several USC students, faculty and alumni were a part of this year's institute:

  • Professor Khalil Iskarous taught the Articulatory Phonology course
  • Graduate Students Thomas Borer, Samantha Gordon (awarded a fellowship to attend by the LSA), Mairym Llorens, and Ulrike Steindl (awarded a fellowship to attend by the LSA) attended
  • Graduate Alumna Jelena Krivokapić attended
  • Undergraduate alumni Sagan Blue and Joseph Henderer attended

In addition to class, workshop, and conference attendance, participants enjoyed several group outings, a 4th of July picnic, lectures from the likes of Anne Charity Hudley, Keren Rice, Janet Pierrehumbert, Daniel Everett, Lyle Campbell, and Noam Chomsky, and more. 

A selection of pictures follow:
Thomas Borer and Ulli Steindl enjoying Michigan kayaking
Professor Khalil Iskarous enjoying the Fourth of July picnic
The crowd at Noam Chomsky's forum lecture

Photo credits: András Bárány and Mairym Llorens

01 September 2013

Welcome to our new students!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome our new graduate students to the department. We attach a picture and a short description of each one, so that everyone can start getting to know them a bit better.

Jesse Bisogni

Hi, I’m Jesse. Moving to Los Angeles is my first true West Coast experience, and I’m very excited to become an Angeleno and explore all the city has to offer. Prior to LA, I lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years during which time I finished my undergraduate degree in French and linguistics at Georgetown University and worked for the U.S. Government as a language researcher. My hobbies include running, hiking and bicycling which I’ll be able to enjoy year-round in Southern California.

At USC, I hope to pursue my interests in speech production and machine learning and expand my knowledge of computational research and analysis methods. I also would like to explore other areas of linguistics and related interdisciplinary fields while collaborating with my fellow graduate students.

 Reed Blaylock

I’ve lived all around the country, but my home is Ann Arbor, MI. I attended the University of Michigan in my undergraduate years, receiving a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Latin. My focus has been in phonetics, especially speech perception, and my senior thesis explored the nature of the glottal stop as a default epenthetic segment. Before coming to USC, I spent two years in the work force: one year as a speech data analyst for Google, and another as a sales associate with T-Mobile. In that time, I also cultivated my skills as a web developer and general programmer. In my spare time, I sing, ballroom dance, and pretend to be a drummer.

Mairym Llorens

Hello, my name is Mairym but lots of people call me Mai. I am from Puerto Rico.

While turning a Biological Anthropology minor into a major at SUNY Albany, a professor suggested I check out Linguistics, another track offered at the same department. I got hooked, and finished both tracks of the BA in Anthropology. After that I went home and got certified by the National Association for Interpretation and the National Parks Service and worked for five years as a nature interpreter and historical guide. My offices were the Caribbean National Rain Forest, both the smallest and most biodiverse ecosystem in the US Federal Forest system, the Bosque Xerotífico de Guánica and the National Historic Site in Old San Juan, the oldest city in the US and its territories. I loved these jobs. But the complex ethology of human and non-human animals, my daily bread, got me itching to continue the journey into our species' mental life and its distinctive property, language. Hence the MA in Cognitive Science and Language from the U. of Barcelona. And now, here!

I am passionate about natural history and philosophy. In Linguistics, I am most interested in the nature and characterization of phonological content and its development. I am also curious about the development of other mental representations, such as morality and personal identity. To relax, I play piano, walk, read and interact with my dogs. To stimulate, I do digital signal processing to create electronic music (pictured here) and read other things. The most stimulating thing I know of is conversing with people, and that's already begun with you guys. I am very grateful to be here.

Charlie O'Hara

I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago; Barrington, IL. It's a chill enough spot, Smash Mouth played at my high school, but it was during my freshman year at Oberlin College so I didn't get to go. At Oberlin, I majored in math and had as linguistics-heavy of a course load as you can have at a school without a linguistics department. I did a bit of work with Klamath, a Plains Penutian language that was spoken in Oregon, focusing on aspect and verbal morphology. I've also studied Latin, Greek, Arabic, Swahili, and Japanese. I may head down a semantic road here, but we'll see. I'm also pretty into music, I've played in bands with some consistency for the past ten years. At Oberlin, I worked as a DJ and staff member at the campus radio station, and I am interested in continuing that at USC. I'm also very into comedy podcasts, and I've been making my own for the past 5 years. I'm also super into the LA improv scene, and have been to probably like 6-7 improv shows in my 15ish days here so far. Between college and now, I worked IT for about six months, performed stand-up regularly for another six, and got into baking bagels.