Autumn 2023 Linguistics Newsletter

As the 2023-2024 academic year approaches, I would like to reflect on our accomplishments in 2022-2023 and welcome all the faculty, staff, and students back to campus for another exciting year. A special welcome to our new graduate students: 6 PhD students and 49 CLMS students, and to all our new and returning undergraduate majors and minors in linguistics as well as our new and returning ASL minors.  We finished last academic year with another successful in-person graduation ceremony, with one… Read more
In 2022-2023 the department awarded 53 Bachelor of Arts degrees, 42 Master of Science degrees and 1 Doctor of Philosophy degree.  Congratulations to all of our graduates! We were delighted to celebrate your successes during our June commencement ceremony. We were also delighted to welcome back Chia-Hui Huang (2003 PhD) as our commencement speaker. Chia-Hui distinguished herself both in academia, during her time at the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh, and in her… Read more
Betsy Evans has been selected as the next Executive Director of the American Dialect Society. She begins her 5-year appointment in January 2024, following the current Executive Director, Julie Roberts. The ADS, established in 1889, is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it. Membership in the society includes academics and amateurs, professors and students, professionals and… Read more
Congratulations to Trent Ukasick on receiving the Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship and the Endangered Language Fund’s Sharing Language Diversity Fellowship to study Gyegu Tibetan. Trent plans to use the funds to document the grammar and sound system of Gyegu Tibetan while studying Mandarin at Qinghai Nationalities University in Xining. The project to document Gyegu Tibetan began as part of a field methods course here in the Linguistics Department, and since that time… Read more
Congratulations to C. M. Downey, who received a prestigious and highly competitive Presidential Dissertation Fellowship! Downey’s dissertation work follows from a wider research goal of improving Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools for under-resourced languages (i.e., those which lack abundant text data). Modern NLP heavily relies on huge neural networks trained for very high-resource languages like English and Chinese. Such techniques are inapplicable to the majority of the world’s… Read more
Congratulations to Qi Cheng and Sharon Hargus on receiving the Royalty Research Fund awards, and to Naja Ferjan Ramírezqi  and Richard Wright on receiving Linguistic Fund awards! Naja Ferjan Ramírez’s project ‘Linking infant attention to speech with language experience: A novel eye-tracking study with infants in same-sex families’ will examine the contributions of parental input in families headed by same-sex couples and the ways in which this input shapes infants’ attentional responses to… Read more
Congratulations to Emily Ahn and Sara Ng on receiving Excellence in Linguistic Research Fellowships to fund their dissertation research. Emily Ahn’s  research contributes to the fields of phonetic and phonological typology, as well as to the development of technologies that will serve diverse languages and communities. More specifically, Emily seeks to improve automated tools that align sound units with the speech signal. She  plans to extend her second Generals Paper research, which centered… Read more
Members of our department have been very active over the summer, presenting at conferences, teaching at summer schools and conducting fieldwork. Here are a few highlights: Emily Ahn presented at Interspeech 2023 in Dublin (Emily P. Ahn, Gina-Anne Levow, Richard Wright, Eleanor Chodroff. ‘An Outlier Analysis of Vowel Formants from a Corpus Phonetics Pipeline.) Sunny Ananthanarayan, Ella De Falco, and Jessa Jeter joined Myriam Lapierre in Brazil over the… Read more