Welcome to our new students!

It is with great pleasure that we introduce the new cohort of Linguistics graduate students, so that you can all get to know them a bit better. Welcome, class of 2019!


Ana Elisa Besserman 


Hi! My name is Ana Besserman, I’m from Brazil and I’m terribly excited to be joining the USC Linguistics department! While living in Rio de Janeiro, I graduated with a BA in Journalism and another in Portuguese & English (running from one University to the other while doing that turned out to be quite a lot of fun). In 2011, I moved to San Diego to pursue a Linguistics MA at SDSU and ended up having an amazing time yet again. For my thesis, I designed and ran a study on discourse-based predictive processes during language comprehension – which brings me to my linguistics interests: sentence processing, experimental pragmatics, discourse, information status and word order (but truly everything else language-wise fascinates me almost just as much). 
What else? I’m a big fan of “that’s what she said” jokes (thanks, Michael Scott). Owls are my favorite creatures, but I’d probably be a beaver if I had to be a non-human animal. I had an awful ketchup addiction when I was 7 years old. If Netflix was a place, it would probably be my favorite one. I particularly enjoy watching anything with vampires, Woody Allen and revenge stories, so basically I’m waiting for the day the three will be combined in one glorious, epic movie. I love food (eating, not cooking), sports (watching, not playing) and games (wining, not losing). 

Bhamati Dash


Hye. I am Bhamati Dash. Since many have asked me this after I came here, it starts with an aspirated bilabial voiced plosive and ends with a dental voiceless one. I am from India. My first language is Hindi, the language predominantly spoken in Northern India. I am from the state of Orissa in India( a state in Eastern India) but never having lived there I am not very good at speaking Odia. I plan to improve on it here! Not because there are so many who speak that language here because there aren’t but because my research is in Odia and I cannot stay away from it any longer.
I did my graduation and post graduation from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. ( same place as Mythili and Saurav).
Currently my interest is tipped towards syntax. I plan to work on Plural Expressions in Classifier languages. But I am hoping to find something new here which will catch my attention so that I could diversify my area of interest.

Really excited to be here.


Hayeun Jang


I’m Hayeun Jang from South Korea. My lovely cats’ names are Luffy and Hancock (I took their names from the Japanese manga ‘Onepiece’). Yes. I’m a cat lover, but unfortunately my husband is allergic to cat’s fur.. T^T So they are living with my parents now.

Nowadays I’m fascinated by articulation and perception of nasals, and I’m interested in the phenomenon named ‘spontaneous nasalization’. So I will focus on P-side linguistics, but I love other subfields of linguistics.

Nice to meet you all, and be friends 🙂


Maury Lander-Portnoy



My name is Maury and I’m from Baltimore, Maryland.  I went to undergrad at Haverford College in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I graduated with a degree in Linguistics and Languages, which was a linguistics degree with an additional curriculum of 2 foreign languages, which for me were Mandarin and Arabic (My apologies for being a linguist who asking “oh, how many languages do you know?” is a good question: these two joined Hebrew, Spanish, and Latin).  Linguistically, I’m interested in Phonetics, Phonology, Psycholinguistics, and Endangered Language Documentation, with my thesis being a Phonetic sketch of an Endangered language from northeast India called Bugun.

Extralinguistically, last year I took a gap year to first work at the summer camp I attended as a child, then I went to Ireland and Spain to travel and WWOOF (volunteer on small organic farms).  Then I had to come back and help my grandparents move into a retirement community up in Massachusetts (for those of you who didn’t travel to the east coast last year, it was absolutely freezing, which is part of the reason why I am so excited about LA’s weather!).  After that, I traveled to visit family and stayed for a bit with my parents, who now live in Dallas, TX, before coming here to work for the summer.

For fun, I LOVE cooking (and eating too!), and growing my own produce, although I’m unsure whether I’ll get much opportunity to do that in the city (I’ll try herbs on my balcony).  I love music, singing (solo or a cappella), and playing the guitar although music is less of a hobby and more of a perpetual state of being, manifested in constant singing and listening to music.  To stay active, I enjoy swimming (another reason I’m excited about LA-year round outdoor swimming), hiking, and occasionally running.  And to stay inactive, I like playing video games and watching movies.

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