What’s new this week!

After Labor Day week, we are back with some interesting updates including a short bio on our new grad students! You sure don’t want to miss them.

Meet the new grad students in Linguistics!

This year we welcome a bigger cohort than usual: 7 new students + 3 who deferred their entrance last year. Find out a little bit of who they are in these blurbs.


Hello All! My name is Stacie! I am originally from Utah where I got my bachelors degree in Linguistics at the University of Utah in 2018. Afterwords, I took a year off to be an English as a Foreign Language teacher teaching adults from all over the world. As much as I loved teaching I really missed linguistic theory, so I moved to New York to do my Master’s degree at Stony Brook University and graduated in December of 2020. 

In my Master’s program I developed an alternative modeling system in phonology that uses formal logic to describe phonetic and phonological processes and using it to explore the world of Articulatory Phonology. I hope to build more on what I have already developed and refine my knowledge in other areas! I would especially love to learn more about Psycholinguistics and hopefully incorporate it more into my work. 

I always say it, and it will always be true, linguistics is the love of my life, however I do enjoy lots of other things outside of linguistics. I have been playing capoeira (an Afro Brazilian martial art) for 5 years now and while I may be out of practice, I’m hoping to start up classes again soon. I’m a giant nerd and I play a surprising amount of Dungeons and Dragons and other TTRPGs. I also love video games, movies, and music. Museums are one of my all time favorite things! Being born and raised in the mountains I love hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities as well.
I am so excited to meet all of you amazing and brilliant people!


Hi! I’m Darby and I’m from central Michigan. I received a B.A. in Japanese and linguistics, and an M.A. in linguistics – both from Michigan State University. My research interests are mostly focused on phonetics and phonology, as well as psycholinguistics and speech perception. My M.A. thesis investigated how speakers make phonotactic acceptability judgments. Specifically, the effects of lexical knowledge on phonotactic acceptability judgements and whether those judgments could be better modeled as gradient or categorical. I’m still interested in those topics, but I’m also looking forward to learning more about other subfields too! When I’m not doing linguistics, you can usually find me cooking or baking, planning trips that I can’t actually go on, or buying way too many houseplants. I’m super excited to get to know everyone at USC, and to start exploring the west coast! See you all soon!


Hi! I’m Haley. I am from Northern Mississippi (about 10 min south of Memphis, TN). I did my undergrad at USC, where I got a BA in Linguistics, Mathematics, and Russian. At USC, I gained research experience at our language processing lab and as a Research Assistant in the Department of Linguistics. Additionally, I was awarded a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, for which my research focused primarily on humor and discourse complexity. Broadly speaking, my primary research interests are on phonetics and psycholinguistics. Outside of academia, I enjoy doing theatre and playing board games. I am also a huge cartoon enthusiast and quite possibly the world’s biggest Scooby-Doo fanatic!I’m incredibly excited to continue my studies at USC and to meet everyone (in-person!!) in the Fall!


Hello, all! My name is Mary Kathryn Kennedy, but I usually go by my nickname, Katie. I completed my undergraduate (majoring in Chinese and English with a Concentration in Linguistics) and Master’s (majoring in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics) at Arizona State University. My passion in linguistics is syntax, and my Master’s thesis studied the effects of pause placement on perceptions of fluency in native and non-native speakers of Chinese. While I am always ready to geek out over sentence structure, I look forward to exploring the other disciplines of linguistics and how they interface with syntax, so chat me up about your area of research! I can’t wait to see what everyone’s working on!

I’ve lived most of my life in the 110° weather of Arizona, so I’m looking forward to life in the the much more temperate LA area! I’m keen on exploring all the city has to offer—especially its food! In my downtime at home, I love painting and watching science documentaries, so if anyone ever wants to watch a dinosaur, nature, geological, or space documentary, count me in!


Hi, I’m Mete. I got my BA degree in Foreign Language Teaching at Middle East Technical University, in Turkey, and I obtained my MA degree in Linguistics at the University of Calgary. My research interest is Experimental Syntax and Psycholinguistics with a focus on issues in Turkish, which is my native language. For my MA thesis I worked on raising structures in Turkish (focusing on Copy-Raising structures) under supervision of Dr. Dennis Ryan Storoshenko. In addition, I am interested in negation, copula verbs, and indexical shift in Turkish. You can find some more details about my work on my website.Other than linguistics, I’m interested in some sports like motorsports and soccer!


My name is Ruoqi, but I also go by RQ! I’m interested in semantics and pragmatics, and my hobbies include hiking, painting/drawing, and crocheting.  


Hi! I am Nelly. I am from Armenia, but I have been living in the US since 2008. I did my BA in Armenia (major: English, Minor: Spanish). I got my MA from California State University, Northridge. My main research interest is Syntax. My research at CSUN was mostly concentrated on PRO distribution and case assignment in small infinitival clauses. I am also really interested in syntax-semantics interface and in Morphology to the extent that it relates to Syntactic derivation. 

Besides Linguistics, I really enjoy travelling. My favorite destination is Europe although I like exploring other continents too. I also like reading classic literature and spending time with my friends. Currently, am also trying to learn Japanese. 

I am very excited to join USC!

Muxuan He


Hi! My name is Muxuan He. I come from China and I have lived and studied here for 23 years. The four years of my B.A study were spent on English language and literature, and it might surprise you that I did not know linguistics exist as a scientific subject until the very last year. But it was love at the first sight. Later, I spent another three years at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where I started my linguistic research and earned a master’s degree. Much of my research in the past focused on the syntax-semantics interface of Chinese negation. I tried to explain the differences between two primary negators in the syntactic distribution that cooperates with their semantic features. I investigated whether Korean-speaking L2 learners of Chinese were able to acquire the word order variation with Chinese negation involved. I also tried to determine how the two primary negators might differ in influencing comprehenders’ attention. I have had a marvelous time with negation and I want to explore more topics while I study at USC.

Hailin Hao


Hi, I’m Hailin Hao, and I come from a small town in the center of China. I received my BA in Linguistics from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I’m mostly interested in sentence processing, syntax and pragmatics. Recently I started to think about how communicative efficiency and human cognitive constraints have shaped our grammars and grammar universals. Outside of linguistics, I enjoy biking (as everybody else does in the Netherlands!), travelling, doing yoga and meditation, and watching old movies and series over and over again. I’m very excited about my new research life at USC Ling and to explore Los Angeles, though it’s a shame that I cannot join you now. I’m looking forward to meeting you all next year!

Ariela Ye


Hi, all! I am Ariela Lu Ye from China. I obtained my B.A. from Beijing Language and Culture University with English as my major and Teaching Chinese as A Foreign Language as my minor. The four-year studies led me to have tasted into the mystery of logic and linguistics that eventually made semantics my coveted field of study. Then I moved to Shanghai to do my M.A. in formal linguistics at Fudan University. At my MA studies, I was rewarded with intriguing semantic jewels hidden in daily humdrum. As a budding researcher, I still have a long way to go but I know for sure that rigorous semantics is not for the faint-hearted or the weak-willed. The interface between semantics, pragmatics and syntax remains one of the most intricate challenges in formal linguistics, and is the Everest that I aspire to surmount.  

Outside of academia, I enjoying travelling, along the journey I can experience different cultures. I am also into swimming, practising calligraphy and playing the Ukulele, which for me serve as a way to relax.   I am really looking forward to meeting you all in person

This week in the department

Psycholing lab meeting — Tuesday 14th, 9.30-10.30am

Zuzanna Fuchs will talk about “Quantifying the effort of listening in your non-dominant language: A Dual Task approach.”

The meeting will take place on zoom. Email Elsi Kaiser for link if interested.

Phonlunch — Tuesday 14th, 12-1pm

Professional Development: CV review day

The meeting will take place on zoom. Email Stephanie Shih for link if interested.

S-Side Story — Thursday 16th, 2-3pm

Short talks round #1: Daniel Plesniak, Elango Kumaran, Deniz Rudin, Luismi Toquero Pérez

The meeting will take place on zoom. Email Luismi Toquero Pérez for link if interested.

Tea Time is back!

It’ll take place at 1:00pm on Thursday under the tents by the GFS parking lot. Food won’t be serves, but feel free to bring your own! Masks are required if you are not eating.

Last week

Luismi Toquero Pérez at Sinn und Bedeutung 26 (09/08-10)

Luismi gave a talk entitled “A seeming violation to the Monotonicity Constraint: Evidence from Spanish verbal comparatives” at SuB26 held online and hosted by the Univeristy of Cologne in Germany. Click on the title of the talk to access the OSF platform in case you want to watch the recording or download a copy of the handout.

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