21 November 2014

USC Presence @ 2nd Conference of the American Pragmatics Association on October 17 and 18

Professor Elsi Kaiser and graduate student Aninha Vianna (Ana) presented their work at the 2nd conference of the American Pragmatics Association (AMPRA), held October 17-19 at UCLA. Elsi presented "Richness of the Paradigm: Crosslinguistic Investigations of Reference Resolution" and Ana presented her work "There was... something new! Discourse-based Predictions During Language Comprehension", developed from her MA thesis at SDSU. Congratulations to both of them! Some pics below (courtesy of Ana).

 Ana presenting her work.
Elsi presenting her work (she looks small in the pic, but you can still tell it's her :))

The OIS Language Learning Workshop

On November 20th, professor Elsi Kaiser, along with many of our graduate students, put together the Language Learning Workshop at the Parkside Performance Cafe at the University Park Campus  This was an initiative of the Office of the International Students as part of their International Education Week, and the goal was to give students the chance to learn key phrases (eg. Hello, goodbye, what's your name?) in as many different languages as possible. 

The graduate students that participated, and the respective languages they represented, were the following: Thomas Borer (German), Sierra Chinn-Liu (Hawaiian Pidgin), Bharati Dash (Hindi), Alfredo Garcia-Pardo (Spanish), Peter Guekguezian (Western Armenian), Chorong Kang (Korean), Maury Lander-Portnoy (Hebrew), Aninha Vianna aka Anna (Brazilian Portuguese), Xin Zhao (Mandarin Chinese) and Margil (Tagalog). Last, but not least, professor Elsi Kaiser represented her native language Finnish, and she also put together a great workshop by bringing volunteers together, taking care of the handouts and chairing the workshop to ensure it was a complete success, as it was. Thank you to everybody and let's try to do it again!

Below are some pictures of the event, courtesy of Ana.

 Since she took them, I thought Ana should come first in the battery of pics.
  Maury speaking (beginner) Hebrew to Alfredo and a non-linguistics participant.
  Ulli chairing her super crowded German table.
  An overview of the venue.
  Interested in learning Bangla? Go to Saurov's table!
  A busy table, where Western Armenian, Finnish, Hindi and Korean are being learned at the same time :)
 If you want to learn the language with the most native speakers, go to Xin! 

18 November 2014

Sam receives award for excellence in teaching

Congratulations to our grad student Sam for being named Outstanding TA by the Center for Excellence in Teaching! 

This honor is given to graduate teaching assistants who exhibit consistent excellence in the classroom and symbolize the University's dedication to the education of scholar-teachers. Check out the full list of winners here.

Keep making us proud Sam!

12 November 2014

The Furball Diaries : Furrytail, Ninja and Smoky

We're back– and this time we get to meet all three furry companions of Andrew Simpson, Chair of our USC Linguistics Department. 
Our Chair loves his cats.

 "This is Furrytail, who we found living in a car park behind a Chinese restaurant. He decided to come home with us and changed our lives.  Furrytail lights up our lives with his affection and charm, but also worries us when he goes out adventuring far away after dark.  Born in the wild, he hates being confined, but is so happy to have a home.  He also likes to ride in cars, just like a dog, and accompanies me every night to Starbucks."

"This is Ninja the Magnificent, also known as the Black Knight, Sir Ninja Naughtyfellow, faithful defender of Lord Furrytail, who looked after him lovingly as a kitten.  When any bigger neighborhood cats try to menace Furrytail, Ninja gallops in and sends them running away with his Shaolin-style kungfu skills. Ninja also enjoys shredding paper, in particular any paper with the words ‘midterm’ written on it."

"This is Smoky, who was found as a very small kitten in a park.  Now also known as Sir Smoky Snugglesworth, he loves to snuggle with us at any time of day or night.  After dark, he gingerly follows his braver adopted brothers into all our neighbors’ gardens. However, he is most happy when it’s time to watch TV and sit on a welcoming lap with a very big grin on his face."