Weekly Digest 10/16

Sarah Hye-yeon Lee presented a poster titled “The Unavailability of Superlative Movement out of Korean Nominal Phrases” and Tommy Tsz Ming Lee gave a poster presentation titled “Deontic Modality in Japanese: Positioning the recommendation-type modal expressions” (joint work with Tsz Fung Lau, University of Edinburgh) at the 25th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference (JK) held at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

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What’s happening this week, you ask?

Today (10/16) at 2:30pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Haley Wei Wei will present “The lookahead effect in the reduplication-phonology interaction.”

Immediately after, at 3:30pm in the same room: Syntax+! Daniel Plesniak will be presenting on “Agreement in Mandarin Nominals: DE, the OCP, and PF Constraints on the Head.”

And this Wednesday (10/18) at 12pm: Psycholing Lab MeetingBetül Erbaşı will present “Defining Familiarity in Turkish DPs.”


Weekly Digest 10/09

Reed Blaylock gave an invited talk titled “Breaking Down the Beat: The Art and Science of Beatboxing” at the Sonic R/Evolutions exhibition on Friday 09/29.

Khalil Iskarous gave an invited talk  titled “Dynamical principles of hydrostat movement: worm, octopus, and tongue” on 10/6, at Ultrafest 8, University of Potsdam.

Elsi Kaiser gave an invited plenary talk titled “Informativity, interaction and  information structure:  Psycholinguistic investigations of prosody” (based on joint work with Arunima Choudhury and Iris Ouyang) on 10/04 at the Workshop on Prosody and Meaning, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.
Elsi also gave an invited colloquium talk on 10/02 at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands as part of the Center for Language and Cognition colloquium series, titled “Subjectivity and perspective-sensitivity in adjective interpretation: Effects on pronoun interpretation”.

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Here’s the breakdown for this week:


Monday 10/09 at 2:30pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Sarah Harper will present “Phonological and phonetic knowledge in the segmentation of words with novel onset phonotactics.”

Also on Monday, at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Syntax+! Stefan Keine and Bhamati Dash will present their NELS talk on “Agreement reversals and the cyclicity of Agree.”

and Wednesday 10/11 at 12pm in the Conference Room: Psycholinguistics lab meetingMonica Do will give a presentation titled “Focus on planning messages.




Weekly Digest 10/02

Mairym Lloréns is putting together funds to help those in need after the hurricane in Puerto Rico; if you can help with donations, or if you can volunteer your time to assist with paperwork and other tasks, please contact Mai!

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This week, in the linguistics department….

Monday (10/02) at 2:30pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Yifan Yang will talk about “Gestural coordination of vocalic sequences in Yanggu Chinese” and Miran Oh will present “Sub-syllable domain of corrective focus in Korean”.

And also on Monday (10/02), at 3:30pm in VKC203: Syntax+Sarah Lee will present her work on “The Unavailability of Superlative Movement out of Korean Nominal Phrases” and Tommy Lee will discuss “Deontic modality in Japanese: Positioning the recommendation-type modal”.

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Last week, Andrew Simpson was trying to find homes for four abandoned kittens: we are happy to announce that all have found happy homes, two of them with graduate students in our department! If you haven’t met them already, here are Tito (by himself and with Haley’s dog, Cosmo) and Blade (hanging out with Charlie in one of his department trips):

Thanks Andrew and to everyone else in the department who has been helping out with these furry new friends!


Weekly Digest 09/25

Today (09/25), Monday, at 2:30pm in the Conference Room:  PhonLunchYoonjeong (Cynthia) Lee will present “The prosodic substrate of consonant and tone dynamics”.

Then, at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Town Hall Meeting! 

And this Wednesday (09/27), at 12pm in the Conference Room: Psycholinguistics Lab MeetingAndreas Brocher (University of Cologne) will present “Two processes affect referent introduction in discourse: concept activation and referent activation”.

Weekly Digest 09/18

USC is once again sending a big group to the LSA annual meeting! Congrats to these folks who will be representing USC in Salt Lake City in January 20018: Monica Do, Huilin Fang, Alfredo García-Pardo, Binh Ngo, Charlie O’HaraCaitlin Smith, Jesse Storbeck, Pengchen Zhao, Elsi Kaiser and alumns Brian Hsu (University of North Carolina), Mythili Menon (Wichita State University), Saurov Syed (Harvard University) and Patricia Schneider-Zioga (California State University, Fullerton).

This past weekend USC also sent a group to the Annual Meeting on Phonology (AMP 2017) at NYU: Charlie O’Hara presented “Soft typology arises from learning bias even with markedness hierarchies”, Wei Wei presented “Lookahead effect in reduplication: Serial vs. parallel OT” and Yifan Yang presented “Quantified exponence constraints and the typology of exponence”. Alumn Brian Hsu (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Karen Jesney (Carleton University) presented “Weighted scalar constraints capture the typology of loanword adaptation”.

Here are some pictures, courtesy of Yifan:

The Welcome Back Picnic last saturday was a big success: here are some beautiful pictures and a big thank you to our event organizers, Sarah Lee and Miran Oh!

This Monday, 09/18 at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Vic Ferreira (UCSD) kicks off with the first colloquium of the year, titled “Syntactic Entrainment as a Possible Mechanism for Learning the Meanings of Syntactic Constructions“.

Thursday, 09/21 at 11:30am: PhonLunch will host a Website review session for its members.

Weekly Digest 09/11

Congratulations to Khalil Iskarous, who has been appointed as Associate Editor at Language starting January 2018! Read more here.

Monica Do and Alumna Barbara Tomaszewicz attended the Summer School of Statistical Methods for Linguistics and Psychology in Potsdam.

Monica Do presented “How are questions made? A production study of object wh-questions” (with Elsi Kaiser and Pengchen Zhao) and Jesse Storbeck presented “Acquisition of categorical non-adjacent dependencies in an artificial grammar” (with Elsi Kaiser and Toben Mintz) at the 23rd annual Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing conference (AMLAP 2017) in Lancaster, UK.

Here are some nice shots by Jesse, including one of him at the top of Scafell (3,163 ft) in the Lakes District. Jesse gives special thanks to Jane and Steve for helping him find his way off the peak in the thick fog!

What’s going on this week, you ask?

Monday, Sep.11 at 2:30 pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Arthur Santana will talk about “Reduction via laxing in northern dialects of Brazilian Portuguese.”

Also on Monday, at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: Syntax+! Maria Luisa Zubizarreta and Roumi Pancheva will present  “The role of Person in constraining evidentiality and temporality in Paraguayan Guarani.”

Wednesday, Sep. 13 at 12pm: the USC Center for Excellence in Research is offering a workshop on “Writing Compelling NSF Proposals“. If you are interested, click here for information on how to register.

Our Welcome Back picnic is this Saturday, 09/16!
Don’t forget to RSVP!



Welcome to the new Linguistics cohort!

We are so very happy to *officially* introduce the new cohort of Linguistics graduate students at USC: Welcome, class of 2022!

Brooke Kidner


Brooke Kidner

I’m Brooke, and I’m a native Californian and completed my undergraduate work right here at USC in Linguistics and Psychology, where I was a member of the executive board for USiL (the undergraduate counterpart to GSiL). So I guess that makes me a “Double Trojan?” After graduating I spent the last year or so living in Barcelona, Spain teaching at a pre-school! As much fun as kids are, I’m glad to be back and continuing my studies.
My interests in linguistics are in Phonology and Psycholinguistics, particularly with Native American languages. I completed my undergraduate thesis on metrical stress patterns in Lakota. I plan to continue working with Native American languages during my graduate career as well.
Other than that my non-linguistic interests include Yoga, Obstacle-Course Racing, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter… and pretty much anything else super nerdy.

Tommy Lee

Hi everyone!

Tommy Lee

I am Tommy Lee and I am from Hong Kong. I have done my BA in Japanese Studies and Linguistics in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  I pursued my MA in Japan, majoring in Linguistics in Kyoto University. I have good advise for anyone who is visiting Japan, especially Kyoto (a truly lovely place!)
I speak Cantonese, which my mother tongue. It is one of the varieties in Chinese but it is unintelligible with Mandarin. I also speak Mandarin and Japanese. My research interest lies in syntax (minimalist syntax!) and sentence-final particles. I recently started to learn formal semantics. Difficult, but fun!
Apart from linguistics, I like reading, hiking and visiting zoos, aquariums and botanic gardens. I am very fond of a Japanese character called Kapibara-san (see my picture), originated from capybara, an animal native to South America. I also enjoy gaming and thinking things like why we are the way we are. I love to listen to other’s world views.
I am happy to be at USC and I love the weather here very much. I am looking forward to meeting you all.

Haley Farkas


Haley Farkas

My name is Haley Farkas, and I’m from (just outside of) Detroit, Michigan. My research interests focus mainly on formal semantics, experimental semantics, psycholinguistics, and child language acquisition.
I received my BA from Michigan State University in 2015, where I majored in Linguistics with a specialization in Cognitive Science. I received my MA in Linguistics from Northwestern University this summer. My MA thesis work is about the verification and acquisition of sentences involving verbal comparatives. Outside of academics, I enjoy bad TV, coffee, and petting my dog, Cosmo.

Yijing Lu

Hi, my name is Yijing Lu. I am originally from China. My hometown, Suzhou, is a city in the east with many canals, bridges, and classical gardens. I did my undergrad at Nanjing University (Nanjing is another city in my province), majoring in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. It’s kind of related to linguistics but more like language pedagogy. Then I did my masters at Harvard, in a program called Regional Studies East Asia.

Yijing Lu

During my master’s studies, I took some linguistics classes and worked on the syntax of Mandarin Chinese. My MA thesis discusses a special construction called ‘gapless relative clause’ in Mandarin. Here at USC I am very excited about learning more syntax, and exploring some new areas for me like psycholinguistics and phonetics. Apart from linguistics, I enjoy eating and leisure walking. Glad to join USC and meet you all!

Jina Song

Hi! My name is Jina Song and I am from South Korea. I have completed my B.A. in English Language & Literature from Ewha Womans University and my M.A. from Seoul National University.

jina song
Jina Song

My main research interests are psycholinguistics and syntax. Within the field of psycholinguistics, I am interested in anticipatory sentence processing. I have worked on predictive processing of control sentences in Korean. Also, in syntax, I have studied various ellipsis phenomena, including sluicing, sprouting, and swiping. I am hoping to broaden and enrich my research here at USC.
Outside of linguistics, I am a mother of a 5-month-old baby. I think he likes the sunny weather in LA! I may bring him to the department, someday. When you see him, please say hello to him.
I am really excited to start at USC and look forward to my new life in LA.

Silvia Kim 

Silvia Kim


My name is Silvia Kim. I was born in Korea but raised in Costa Rica. I speak Spanish, Korean, and English (believe it or not, my native language is Spanish).
I have a B.M. in Piano from the National University of Costa Rica and a M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Seoul National University. My research mainly involves syntax and psycholinguistics, especially bilingual sentence processing, but also hope to explore other interface areas at USC.
Besides linguistics, I’m passionate about music, sports, and I love traveling! I am so happy to be part of USC and look forward to getting to know everyone 🙂