Yearly Digest – AY 2021-2022

It’s been a year of transition back into in-person department life, and this newsletter is just now catching up! Welcome back to everyone, and also welcome to our rebranded USC Linguistics weekly news: SCling Wrap, where we’ll keep up with what’s ✨fresh✨ at USC Linguistics.

With the academic year winding down, here’s a huge digest of news from this year! If you have news to share (or know of someone who has news to share), please submit your news for next week’s edition.

New Hires for AY 2022/2023

Welcome to 2 new junior tenure-track faculty who will be joining us over the course of the next two academic years: Travis Major, who is currently our postdoc and will be coming on board as faculty in next fall, and Canaan Breiss, who is currently a postdoc at MIT BCS and will be joining us in Fall 2023!


  • Many congratulations to Elsi Kaiser on her promotion to Full Professor this year!
  • Stephanie Shih has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, as of April 2022! Cheers! 🥂

All the Good News

  • Shri Narayanan is named a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. Go Shri!
  • Elsi Kaiser has been awarded the General Education Teaching Award for her contribution to the GE Program in the Fall 2020 through Spring 2021 academic year with GESM 140g, Language in the Age of the Internet.
  • Stephanie Shih has received USC Dornsife’s Raubenheimer Award for junior faculty for research, teaching, and service.
  • Luismi Miguel Toquero Perez has been awarded the General Education Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Jina Song has been awarded the Gold Award for summer research.
  • Jina Song, Jun Lyu, and Luismi Miguel Toquero Perez have been awarded Graduate School Research and Writing Grants.
  • Our Linguistics Office Manager, Guillermo Ruiz, was recognized by Dean Amber Miller for his contributions to the department and university. So well deserved, Guillermo!
  • Recent grad Miran Oh received the 2021-2022 Stetson Award from the Acoustical Society of America.

Up and up

Congrats to everyone who has successfully defended their dissertations this year so far! (And the year’s not even over!): Sarah Harper, Betul Erbasi, Sarah Lee, Miran Oh, Daniel Plesniak, and Tommy Lee.

Our graduates and alum are doing awesome things!

  • Betul Erbasi has accepted a full-time position with Amazon as a Knowledge Engineer.
  • Sarah Hye-yeon Lee defended her dissertation in December 2021 and is starting an NSF post-doctoral research position at the University of Pennsylvania, working on event structure in language and cognition.
  • Miran Oh began a position as a Voice Building Engineer for Siri Text-to-Speech at Apple.
  • Sarah Harper has taken up a postdoctoral scholar position in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UCSF.
  • Alum Monica Do (Ph.D. 2018) has been promoted from postdoc fellow to Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Chicago.

Super congrats to everyone in their next steps!

Welcome to Jack Thomas Guppy-Major

Congratulations to our incoming faculty member Travis Major and partner Kim Guppy on the birth of Jack Thomas Guppy-Major, who joined this world on 17 April 2022. Welcome to the Trojan Linguistics family!

Call for Papers: USC Working Papers in Linguistics

From Mete & Darby, for the organizational committee for USC Working Papers:

We are delighted to announce that we are (re-)starting publications of our annual departmental journal, USC Working Papers in Linguistics! For this year’s volume, we will be accepting paper submissions until the deadline, July 1, 2022

The idea behind this journal is to create an opportunity for our own graduate students to give and receive feedback on the research that is conducted in our department. So, each submission will be reviewed by our own graduate students, and feedback will be provided before the volume is published in the Fall. This is a great way to get feedback on your projects to develop them for journal publications in the future!

Please note that the publications in this journal are considered a work-in-progress, and publication in this journal does not preclude publication of the same work in a different journal.

You can find the call for papers with more information on submission requirements on our website. Submissions should be sent to

We look forward to your submissions! Please feel free to email us with any questions you might have!

Mete & Darby

Look who’s talking

CUSP (UCLA, May 6):

  • Yasha Sapir & Adam Woodnutt. “On precisifiers”
  • Luis Miguel Toquero-Pérez. “There is no MEAS, only MUCH: the case of 3kg of NP”

WCCFL40 (Stanford, May 13-15):

  • Deniz Rudin will moderate the panel, “From WCCFL 1 to WCCFL 40 and beyond: Reflections on lingusitics and linguists–A conversation between Sandy Chung and Kiparsky.”
  • Colin Davis (Konstanz) and Luis Miguel Toquiero Pérez. “The significance of parasitic gap licensing by pronominal cliticization in Spanish.”
  • Tommy Tsz-Ming Lee and Victor Junnan Pan (CUHK). “Licensing VP movement and ellipsis in Mandarin and Cantonese.”
  • Hailin Hao, Jeannette Schaeffer (University of Amsterdam), and Marijn Van T’Veer (University of Amsterdam) (alternative speakers). “On the prosody of contrastive topic and contrastive focus in Mandarin Chinese.”
  • Elango Kumaran. “Mismatched number marking in Murrinhpatha as agreement with a subset of features”.

SALT32 (COLMEX/UNAM June 8-10):

  • Tommy Tsz-Ming Lee, Roumyana Pancheva and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta. “Genuinely tenseless: encoding time in Cantonese.”
  • Elsi Kaiser: “Referential effects on verb agreement: Finnish numeral-noun constructions.”
  • Alexis Wellwood: “Framing events in the logic of verbal modification.”

Upcoming Events


The North American Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information (NASSLLI) will be hosted at USC June 18-24, in person and synchronously online. Registration is free but required for USC faculty and students! Make sure to register by May 13, 2022 on the NASSLI page.

Department Events

  • Monday, 4/25, 12pm: Jessica Campbell at PhonLunch (via Zoom)