USC Ling Weekly Digest Sep.26

Hi folks! Here’s what’s happening this week:

Today, Monday 09/26, at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Syntax+! Betül Erbaşı will give a talk on syntactic behavior of genitive phrases and compounds in Turkish and their implications for the nominal domain.

Tuesday 09/27, at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunh! Yifan Yang will talk about “The realization of mutation in Chinese dialects”, and Peter Guekguezian will present “Autosegments interact with syntax-prosody mapping”.

Other highlights: this Thursday 09/29 at 1pm the USC Libraries will hold a workshop on Citation Managers, and throughout the entire week the Center for Excellence in Teaching will hold Career Week workshops. Check them out!

And remember: the deadline to submit to CUSP is this Friday, September 30!


Our USC Ling blog has a new look! Most importantly, you will now see on the home page, next to HOME and ABOUT, a link to SUBMIT BLOG NEWS!
Please use this form to send us any news and updates for the blog!
Your help is much appreciated.


Here are some pictures from our Welcome Back Picnic last week! Thanks Betul and Sarah for putting this awesome event together.

USC Ling Weekly Digest!

Hi folks! Sorry about the short hiatus the past couple of weeks – we are back! Here’s what’s going on this week:

Monday 09/19 at 2:30pm: USC Ling blog meeting! We are getting together the talk about our blog – if you’re interested in writing for USC Ling, please join us! Let Ana know that you’re coming at

Tuesday 09/20, at 9:30am in GFS330: PhonLunch! Cynthia Lee will present “Global and local interaction of consonant type and tone in the Korean accentual phrase”.

Thursday 09/22 at 2pm in the reading room: Psycholing Lab Meeting! Hayeun Jang will present “/o/-stems as faster late-starters in decay of Korean vowel harmony: An experimental investigation”.

Also Thursday 09/22, at 3:30pm: Tea Time!


Over the past couple of weeks, USC folks have been all over:

Congrats to Tanner Sorensen, who received an ISCA Award for Best Student Paper at Interspeech 2016! The paper’s title is “Characterizing vocal tract dynamics across speakers using real-time MRI” (joint work with Asterios Toutios, Louis Goldstein and Shrikanth S. Narayanan).


Reed Blaylock presented “Velum control in oral sounds” (work with Louis Goldstein and Shrikanth S. Narayanan); Sarah Harper presented  “L2 Acquisition and Production of the English Rhotic Pharyngeal Gesture” (coauthored with Louis and Shri); Maury Lander-Portnoy presented “Release from Energetic Masking Caused by Repeated Patterns of Glimpsing Windows”, and Mairym Lloréns had two presentations: “Investigating the Impact of Dialect Prestige on Lexical Decision” (with Jason Zevin) as a poster and “Perceptual Lateralization of Coda Rhotic Production in Puerto Rican Spanish” (with Shri Narayanan and Louis Goldstein) as a talk. All at INTERSPEECH 2016 in San Francisco:

Charlie O’Hara presented “
Hilary Clinton is not Mitt Romney rich: Nouns modifying degree and dimension of adjectives”; Huilin Fang presented “Subjective standard-setting in gradable predicates: On the Mandarin hen structure” and alum Barbara Tomaszewicz (with Alexandra Spalek) presented “Reading times with complement coercion in Polish: The role of selectional restrictions“, all at Sinn und Bedeutung in Edinburgh:



Ana Besserman presented “Discourse cues can help unravel the garden-path, but the verb must lead the way” and “Effects of surprisal in Garden-Path sentences: an additional source of difficulty” (both joint work with Elsi Kaiser); Monica Do presented “How much structure is required for structural priming? Investigating priming in underspecified structures” (with Elsi); Binh Ngo presented “Effects of passivization on subsequent mention and anaphor production in Vietnamese” (with Elsi); and Elsi Kaiser presented “
Causal sequences across domains: Evidence from language productionand “Hearing only half of the story: What can overheard conversations tell us about language processing?” (this one co-authered with Sayuli Bhide & Casey McMahon). Johanna Klages, visiting student last semester, presented “Juggling multiple perspectives when interpreting epithets: Who’s the crazy genius?” co-authored with Elsi Kaiser, Thomas Weskott, Simone Gerle and Anke Holler. All of this happened at AMLaP in Bilbao:



Don’t forget to check out this  interview in the LA times with Ed Finegan, Professor Emeritus of USC Linguistics!


Last but not least: we are hosting AMP 2016  this year, from Oct 21st to the 23rd Oct.
Your help will be much appreciated!🙂


Welcome to the new linguistics cohort!

We are so very happy to introduce the new cohort of Linguistics graduate students at USC: Welcome, class of 2021!

Miran Oh 

Hi, I’m Miran Oh, and I’m from South Korea. I’ve done my undergrad in English Language and Literature and MA in Linguistics both at Ewha Womans University. Last year, I was at Stony Brook University as a PhD student in Linguistics. I then came here, starting fresh in the west coast!
I started out having interest in Syntax, and my current interest revolves around Phonetics/Phonology. I’m also interested in computational modeling of sound patterns although I’ve just started exploring this area. My previous research were on how prosody changes with respect to interlocutors of different power relations, how onset affects syllable’s pitch and duration, etc.
Other than above, I love all kinds of active things! I was once a member of the cheerleading group, a drummer in a school band, and an actress in a musical club. I also enjoy sports, love movies, and can’t live without delicious food.
I’m so excited to spend several years with you guys! Nice to meet you all🙂


Sarah Hye-yeon Lee

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah, and my Korean name is Hye-yeon [hɛjʌn]. (Some people have asked me whether I have a preference on what to be called, but I don’t have much of a preference.)

I’ve moved back and forth between the United States and Korea as a kid, but I grew up mostly in Korea. I graduated from Seoul National University with a B.A. in English Language & Literature and Linguistics, and an M.A. in English linguistics. My main interests are syntax and its interface with semantics. I am also interested in the experimental side of these things, which I hope to start exploring here at USC. During my master’s, I have worked on Korean resultatives and English appositives and afterthoughts. I’m very excited to be starting a new journey at USC, and wish to broaden my interests and take my work to new directions while I’m here.

Besides linguistics, I get really excited about movies (good ones), traveling, and talking about them! Nowadays I’m trying to get myself excited about cooking as well.

Nice to meet you guys!


Merouane Benhassine

Hello ! 

My name is Merouane (pronounced : marwan). I was born and grew up in Algiers, Algeria. I completed there a BA in mathematics and later moved to Paris, France, where after some time meandering between Maths and Linguistics, I completed an MA in Linguistics. My interests include, but are not limited to, Morphology and Phonology, their interaction and how they interface with Syntax, Architecture of Language, Speech production and Articulatory phonology. I’m also hoping to learn more about Semantics here at USC, and in seeing how that interfaces with Syntax too. I enjoy cooking and trying out new food, trekking, classical music, playing piano and video games and (my favourite activity) sipping tea while doing nothing.


Madhumanti Datta

Hi!! I’m Madhumanti (with a voiced aspirated dental plosive at the beginning of the second syllable). I am from India, and my native language is Bangla, the Indo-European language mainly spoken in the state of West Bengal in India, and across Bangladesh . I have completed my bachelors in Linguistics from University of Calcutta, and my masters and M.Phil. from University of Delhi in India. My major research interest has been syntax, but at USC I also look forward to working in some of the other areas of my interest, psycholinguistics and language acquisition. I have written my M.Phil. dissertation on the subjunctive mood in Bangla, mainly looking at the the issues of tense, finiteness and the complementiser and tense level interactions in the Bangla subjunctive, thereby also trying to locate the subjunctive within the finite-non-finite paradigm in Bangla .

Apart from Linguistics, what consumes a lot of my time and attention is music. I don’t usually like calling it an interest, it is more like a part of my regular existence. This, I guess, is also an additional reason for me to be happy to be in LA!

Apart from this I love reading, writing, watching movies, travelling, hiking, cycling, cooking, and yes, I love eating!!!

I’m really excited about joining USC, eagerly look forward to my life in the department, and also in LA in general.


Yoona Yee

Hi all! I’m Yoona Yee from South Korea. I earned my BA and MA in linguistics at Seoul National University in Korea and now, I’m so excited to be joining at USC! J I am currently interested mainly on phonology and phonetics, and their interfaces with morphology. To be specific, my MA thesis was on typological asymmetries observed in consonant harmony. Also, I’m very much interested in other areas of linguistics as well.

Outside academia, there are many many things that I love. I like listening to music, watching movies, enjoying sports such as swimming and skiing and others, taking a walk, taking trips, cooking (I started cooking 2 years ago and since then I have tried various Korean recipes. Now it’s time for western food, a new area to me, about which I’m very excited!), camping (as my family love sto go camping to the sea and mountains, I have been enjoying camping since I was 100 days old. Lol. If I ever have a chance, I want to try going camping in the US, although I’m not sure at the moment if I could have an opportunity.), and finally, I also love idling away in my room.

I feel lucky to be here at the linguistics department at USC, and I’m also happy to be in LA. I’m looking forward to everything that I will experience here!


Daniel Plesniak

Hi, my name is Daniel Plesniak. I was born in Lafayette Indiana, but have lived for most of my life in the Washington D.C. area. I just graduated with a degree in linguistics from Haverford College in Pennsylvania. In terms of linguistics, I’m especially interested in Syntax and Semantics and their interface, but really anything about language seems neat to me. My undergraduate thesis is about nominal structure in Mandarin Chinese, a topic I hope to pursue further. Outside of linguistics, I enjoy nature, history, poetry, and generally being a nerd. But in a good way (I hope?). I did co-found, lead, and live at a place/organization called Nerd House for the past three years, take from that what you will. I’m really happy to be starting at USC, and look forward to working with and getting to know other people in the department!

20160703_201411 (1).jpg

USC Ling: Summer Digest!

Here’s what happened throughout this last summer…

Brian Hsu accepted a visiting lecturer in linguistics position at George Mason University, Virginia. He will be teaching syntax to graduates and undergraduates during the coming year – Congrats Brian!!!

A group of USC folks was at the Laboratory Phonology 15 conference in Ithaca, NY (July 13-16): Cynthia Lee, Samantha Gordon, Caitlin Smith, Sarah Harper, Tanner Sorensen, Rachel Walker, Louis Goldstein and Khalil Iskarous, who was an invited speaker. Here’s a picture of Cynthia and Sam presenting their poster on “Prosodic convergence during and after a cooperative maze task”:


Maria Luisa Zubizarreta gave lectures this July at the University in Lima, Peru and travelled to Cuzo/Machupichu. She is currently doing fieldwork on Guaraní in Paraguay. Here’s a picture with  USC alumni Héctor Velázquez and Liliana Sanchez at Universidad Catolica de Lima, July 18-19:


Sandy Disner gave a précis-poster this July at the 25th IAFPA (The annual meeting of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics) in York, England.

Roumi Pancheva taught syntax at the NYI 14 (The New York – St Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture) in St. Petersburg in July (check it out:

Elsi Kaiser taught a course on “Information structure and reference resolution: Experimental and corpus-based approaches” and also led a research discussion group on “Psycholinguistic investigations of interface phenomena” at the 2016 LOT Summer School (Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap, the National Graduate School of Linguistics in the Netherlands). Here’s a picture of gorgeous Utrecht:


Alfredo Garcia Pardo presented a paper called “Argument structure in adjectival passives: an aspect-based approach” at the 3rd Workshop on Aspect and Argument Structure of Adjectives and Participles (WAASAP 3) at Université Lille 3 (Lille, France); he also attended the 13th Workshop on Syntax, Semantics and Phonology (WoSSP 13) in Barcelona, Spain, where he presented a paper called “Ser and estar: back to aspect”, co-authored with alumni Mythili Menon (Wichita State University) and a poster on “Building adjectival passives from aspectual structure”. Below is a picture of the poster session in Barcelona: try to find Alfredo!


Betül Erbaşı gave a talk titled “Aspectual Domain as a Prosodic Constituent in Turkish” at the 12th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics between May 13-15.

Ana Besserman presented a poster on “Garden-path sentences: perspectives from a production task” with Elsi Kaiser at the International Workshop of Language Production (IWLP 2016) in San Diego, CA this July. Ana also presented a poster on “The effects of discourse cues on Garden Path processing” with Elsi Kaiser at COGSCI 2016 in Philadelphia, PA this August:


Hayeun Jang, Monica Do, Andres Benitez and Chorong Kang got together in Seoul, South Korea. Here’s proof to make all of us jealous:


We hope you had a terrific summer, and here’s to an even better Fall semester!

USC Ling end-of-semester digest!

Congratulations to Mythili Menon and Emily Fedele for successfully defending their dissertations!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Come celebrate all the students graduating this semester at the Linguistics Commencement Reception this Friday, May 13 from 12pm to 1:30pm in the west lobby (first floor) of Grace Ford Salvatori Hall!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We’re also hosting SPRING LING THING, an end-of-semester dinner (catered by Chichen Itza!) and board games affair, this Thursday, May 12, at 5pm in GFS330! Please bring a beverage.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The incredibly impressive delegation from USC to WCCFL in beautiful Salt Lake City has returned!

USC student presenters included Monica Do, Huilin Fang, Chorong Kang (twice!), Alfredo Garcia Pardo, Brian Hsu, Hayeun Jang, Charlie O’Hara, Mythili Menon, and Saurov Syed.

USC faculty on the program included plenary speaker, Rachel Walker, and Karen Jesney, Elsi Kaiser, Andrew Simpson, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta.

USC linguistic alum Asier Alcázar (PhD 2007, now Associate Professor at University of Missouri-Columbia) also gave a talk. Check out his 2014 book on The Syntax of Imperatives, coauthored with Mario Saltarelli, published by Cambridge University Press:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Professor Mario Saltarelli, a linguist in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, is retiring after over 30 years at USC! Here’s a picture from his retirement event last week:

IMG_1269 (1)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Peter Guekguezian presented “Acoustic Evidence for Multiple, Quantity-Sensitive Stress in Chukchansi Yokuts” at the Workshop on American Indigenous Languages 2016 at UC Santa Barbara. He’d like to thank everyone at PhonLunch for helping out with the presentation!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Undergraduate linguistics student Brooke Kidner has been selected for a senior profile! Shout outs to Ling department and Brandon are in the story; check it out:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And here are Charlie O’Hara and Hayeon Jang presenting at CLS 2016!



If you have any news, pictures or corrections that you would like to see in this post (or in a new post), please send them to Thank you!🙂

USC Ling Weekly Digest!

Very special shout-out and congratulations to Mythili Menon, who has recently accepted a tenure-track position at Wichita State University (and also had an offer of a 2-year post-doc at UConn) and to alumni Canan Ipek, who has accepted a lecturer position at USC Psychology department for next year!

Some very relevant information from last month: Audrey Li (USC) & Fuzhen Si (Beijing Language and Culture University) organized the Workshop on Universals and Variations in Syntax at the Beijing Language and Culture University (March 15th, 2016). Hajime Hoji, Audrey Li, Maria Luisa Zubizarreta & Roumyana Pancheva all presented papers!

Congrats to all the students who presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium for Scholarly and Creative work! A special shout-out to Brooke Kidner for winning honorable mention! Way to go!

Alfredo Garcia Pardo will soon be on his way to the Romance se-si workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (April 21-22) to present “Two types of anticausative se: The case of Spanish light verbs.”  

Furthermore, lots of our USC peers are heading towards Chicago this weekend for CLS 52! Charlie O’Hara (“Sonority Based Stress in Harmonic Grammar: Nontransitive Conflation in Phonological Hierarchies”), Hayeon Jang (“A constraint schema for the OCP: modeling scalar interactions”) and Saurov Syed (joint work with Andrew Simpson: “On the DP/NP status of nominal projections in Bangla: Consequences for the theory of phases”).

Do not forget: this Thursday, 4/21, we are having out *** 5th ANNUAL BAKE-OFF *** !!! Please prepare your most delicious treats to enter this joyful competition. We’ll meet at the usual tea-time location at the usual tea-time time.
(PS. baked goods with punny and linguistic-oriented names are always a plus😉 )

Here’s what is going on this week:

Today, Monday 4/18 at 4pm in the Conference Room: Syntax Plus! Haley Wei will be presenting Landau’s (2015) incorporation of Point of View into a theory of control.

Thursday, 4/21 at 2:30 in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Peter Guekguezian will talk about  “Acoustics of stress in Chukchansi Yokuts”

Also on Thurday, 4/21, at 3:30pm in the usual tea time location: OUR 5th ANNUAL BAKE-OFF!

And at 4pm: Psycholing Lab! Johanna Klages (University of Göttingen, Germany) will present “On Some Cues for Perspective Shift in German and English”.


Here are some pics from the Undergraduate Research Symposium (Brooke Kidner and Rachel Walker; Sasha Spala, Elsi Kaiser, Katie Roberts and Sayuli Bhide):



USC Ling Weekly Digest

Congratulations to Christina Hagedorn (Ph.D. 2015), who is taking up a tenure-track position at College of Staten Island, CUNY in the fall!

The Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work ( takes place this Wednesday, April 13, 11-2pm!  People can come by anytime between11am and 2pm to look at the posters in the Tutor Campus Center ballroom (downstairs). It’s a great way to learn about the wealth of undergraduate research going on at USC!

Sayuli Bhide and Katie Roberts will present a poster called “Processing with a purpose: How good are we at recognizing unwarranted explanations of scientific phenomena?”, based on research they have been doing with Elsi Kaiser in the USC Psycholinguistics lab.

Sasha Spala will present a poster on how the speaker’s prosody is influenced by the knowledge state of the listener, based on her work with Iris Ouyang and Elsi Kaiser.

Brooke Kidner, a senior in the Linguistics program will be presenting a poster on “Documenting Lakota: An Endangered Language” .

Please come by!

An addition to our spring conference presentations: Hayeun Jang will be presenting her work at CLS later this month.


The 39th GLOW colloquium (Generative Linguistics in the Old World) took place April 5th – 8th, 2016 in Göttingen, Germany. Elsi Kaiser gave a talk in the Perspectivization workshop, on “Pronominal patterns in Finnish reported speech and free indirect discourse.”


Here’s what’s happening this week:

Monday 4/11, at 10:30am in the Reading Room: Binh Ngo will present “Pronoun interpretations in Vietnamese”,
and at 4pm in GFS107, Syed Saurov will talk about his work “On the DP/NP status of nominal projections in Bangla: consequences for the theory of phases”.

On Thursday 4/14, 2:30pm in GFS330: Charlie O’Hara will speak on “Sonority-based stress in Harmonic Grammar: Noncontrastive conflation in phonological hierarchies”, and Hayeun Jang will speak on “Interactions between proximity and similarity in dissimilation: Swedish case study.”


A picture of the building in Goettingen where GLOW took place this year:


And here’s part of our gang busting some moves at SCAMP: