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 🙂

USC Ling Weekly Digest 09/05

Congratulations to Charlie O’Hara, whose paper “How abstract is more abstract? Learning abstract underlying representations” just came out in Phonology!

Sandy Disner presented “Earwitness reliability through a lens of psycholinguistics and acoustics” (joint work with Andrés Benítez) at the 26th Annual International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics (IAFPA) conference in Split, Croatia this July.

Sandy also participated in the annual West Coast Roundtable on Language and Law at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana this August.  Sandy says that “by happy coincidence, a total eclipse of the sun passed just south of Bozeman in the beautiful Grand Tetons, where I was being hosted by friends.  Conference accommodations don’t usually include a sky show!”

Hajime Hoji has published a response to Chomsky’s recent essay “The Galilean Challenge”, titled “Galileo’s Other Challenge”: Hajime’s response is a basis for Chapter 1 of the book he is working on now, Experiments in Language Faculty Science.
You can find Hajime’s response here, and Chomsky’s original essay here.


Here’s what’s happening this week:

Thursday (09/07) at 11:30am in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Charlie O’Hara will present “Soft typology from learning bias even with markedness hierarchies” and Yifan Yang will present “Quantified exponence constraints and the typology of exponence”.



Ling Profile: Arthur Santana

Arthur Santana is a visiting student from the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil who will be with us for this academic year! Get to know Arthur more through this short interview, and don’t forget to come to attend his talk on “Reduction via laxing in northern dialects of Brazilian Portuguese” at PhonLunch on September 11th!


Ana:  Arthur, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are your hobbies?

Arthur: I’m from Brazil, but I’m not the kind of Brazilian who dances Samba and plays soccer every Sunday on the beach. In fact, if you ever see me dancing samba or playing soccer, I apologize. I’m from a city in northern Brazil called São Luís, mostly known for being the starting point for those who want to drive around 3 hours to go to the “Lençóis Maranhenses National Park” (if you haven’t seen it, Google it. It’s truly amazing!). I moved to São Paulo in 2013 for grad school at the University of São Paulo, which has made me even more interested in cinema, theatre, photography and finding ways to be productive while commuting.

Ana: What are your research interests?

Arthur: I’m mostly interested in Phonology, but besides Rachel Walker’s work on vowel pattern in languages, some of the reasons I wanted to visit the USC linguistics department was my interest in learning more about Phonetics and Language processing.

Ana: What are some of your favorite things about Los Angeles so far?

Arthur:  The people! I’m really impressed about how friendly and helpful they are. Also, it is really amazing to live in such a multi-cultural city, I’m constantly learning new things. Yesterday, I had Indian food with my Russian roommate while listening to Brazilian music! So fun!

Ana: What are some of your plans for this year?

Arthur:  Being here for a whole year is definitely going to help me develop my research. I’m taking courses, analyzing data, reading new authors, learning about new research topics… and of course, I want to keep experiencing what LA has to offer. There is still lots of exploring to do.

Ana: Favorite movie or tv show?

Arthur:  Not a fair question! Can I answer this by recommending a movie? The Second Mother (“Que horas ela volta?”). It’s a drama that dissects beautifully some aspects of Brazilian society.

Ana: If you were an animal, you would be….

Arthur: A dog (you can easily by my affection with food).

USC Ling Weekly Digest 08/28

Hello everybody! Here are some news from this summer:

Sarah Hye-yeon Lee gave a talk titled “The Syntax of the not only…but also… Construction: A Linearization Account” at the International Conference on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), held at the University of Kentucky in July 7-9. Sarah also attended the LSA Linguistics Summer Institute at the University of Kentucky and had a great time!

Professor Ed Finegan presented  “On the Utility and Pitfalls of Corpus Use in
Trademark Disputes at the 13th Biennial Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Linguists in Porto, Portugal and “Philosophies of Lexicographical Usage Notes” at the 21st meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America in Barbados. He also gave an invited plenary address titled “Description and Prescription Confront Big Data: An Accord in the Making?” at the 5th Prescriptivism Conference in Park City, Utah, and co-taught an introduction to forensic linguistics course at the LSA summer institute, held this year at the University of Kentucky!

Ana Besserman gave a talk titled “Reading or Reading a Book? Comprehenders’ Expectations About Verb Transitivity” (with Elsi Kaiser) and Binh Ngo presented “Speakers’ Choice of Referential Form in Vietnamese Narrative Discourse” and “Influences of Topicality and Modality on Referential Form Production in Vietnamese” (both with Elsi Kaiser) at the 27th annual meeting of the Society for Text and Discourse (ST&D 2017) in Philadelphia, PA.

If you have news please send submit them here or email us.


Here’s what’s going on this week:

Today 08/28 at 3:30pm in the Conference Room: PhonLunch! Haley Wei Wei will present “Lookahead effect in reduplication: Serial vs. Parallel OT”.

Wednesday 08/30 at 12pm in the Conference Room: Psycholinguistics Lab Meeting! Ana Besserman will present “Implicit Arguments and Discourse”.