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Recent Linguistics News

  • Dr. Alex Warstadt joins the faculty

    Dr. Alex Warstadt joins the faculty

    We are enthusiastic to announce that Dr. Alex Warstadt will be joining our department as a tenure-track faculty member starting January 2025 with a joint appointment in the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute. Dr. Warstadt received his Ph.D. in linguistics from New York University in 2022 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich in the Computer Science department. His research uses advances in Large Language Models to address basic scientific questions about the acquisition, processing, and structure of natural language. Check Dr. Warstadt's profile to learn more about his interests and research. Welcome, Alex!
  • Grad student Maxine Van Doren accepts Assistant Professorship at CSUSB

    Grad student Maxine Van Doren accepts Assistant Professorship at CSUSB

    We are delighted to share the great news that our graduate student Maxine Van Doren has just accepted a position as an Assistant Professor with California State University San Bernardino's English Department. She will be joining the founding team for their new graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology, scheduled to welcome its first cohort in 2027. Maxine is wrapping up her dissertation " Individual Variation in Perception and Production of Creaky Voice" under Prof. Marc Garellek's supervision. She wants to share that her time at the UC San Diego Linguistics Department has been invaluable in preparing her for this role by nurturing her development as a researcher and educator. Maxine is eagerly looking forward to contributing to the growth of both the program and its students. Congratulations, Maxine!

    Maxine's website:
  • Grad student Shai Nielson receives NSF grant

    Grad student Shai Nielson receives NSF grant

    We are proud to announce that graduate student Shai Nielson has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (Ling-DDRI) grant. This funding will support Shai’s dissertation research investigating phonological production, perception, and processing of late first language signers of American Sign Language (ASL) through behavioral experiments and neuroimaging using magnetoencephalography (MEG). This research will provide a systematic look at the effects of late first language acquisition at the phonological level in ASL and provide better insight into how language is processed more generally. Shai is grateful for NSF’s support as she conducts this research and shares its findings with deaf communities, professionals who work with deaf individuals, and those who work in language and cognition broadly. Congratulations, Shai!
  • Alumna Dr. Hope Morgan earns €1.5 million grant from the European Research Council

    Alumna Dr. Hope Morgan earns €1.5 million grant from the European Research Council

    UC San Diego Linguistics alumna Dr. Hope Morgan has earned a €1.5 million grant from the European Research Council! She will be conducting her project titled, "Naming the World: Semantic Associations and Form-Meaning Mappings in the Mental Lexicon across Sign Languages (SemaSign)" at the Institute of German Sign Language at Universität Hamburg. SemaSign's goal is to further sign-language research, education, and learning methodologies by improving our understanding of how signs are organized in the mental lexicon. Evidence for the structure of the mental lexicon will be acquired through computational analysis of semantic relationships between signs. The signed languages to be studied include German Sign Language, Kenyan Sign Language, and Guinea-Bissau Sign Language. For more information, read the linked press release. Congratulations, Hope!
    Photo credit: Eva Steentjes
  • Grad student Shai Nielson receives NIH fellowship

    Grad student Shai Nielson receives NIH fellowship

    Shai Nielson is a recipient of the National Institutes on Health F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Award through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This fellowship supports promising predoctoral students in their doctoral training and dissertation work, preparing them to be productive and independent researchers. Shai’s research focuses on sign language phonology using psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic methods and her dissertation aims to provide a better understanding of phonological processing for deaf signers who learned American Sign Language as a first language after early childhood.
  • Undergraduate student Mia Khattar earns HDSI Scholarship

    Undergraduate student Mia Khattar earns HDSI Scholarship

    Our very own undergraduate student Mia Khattar has earned a Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute Undergraduate Scholarship! The Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) Undergraduate Scholarship Program supports multidisciplinary student-led projects. Unlike lab-directed projects, students will be able to choose their own research topics and lead the research process. Scholarships will provide opportunities for students to work closely with a mentor to develop analytical skills, develop data science portfolios, and foster novel data-driven approaches to problem solving.

    Mia will be using the award to fund research of her honors thesis on human and computer detection and perception of AI voices. Her thesis will be supervised by Will Styler, Associate Teaching Professor and Director of the Computational Social Sciences Program. Mia had the following to say about recieving the award, "I am honored to receive this award and to be recognized by the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute."

    Congratulations Mia!

  • Grad Student Rachel Miles receives NIH Fellowship

    Grad Student Rachel Miles receives NIH Fellowship

    We are so happy and proud to announce that graduate student, Rachel Miles, is a recipient of the National Institute of Health F31: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. The fellowship will support Rachel as she completes her dissertation and prepares for a productive career as a researcher focusing on the effects of language deprivation and delay due to infant deafness. Globally, language exposure for deaf children begins at a variety of chronological ages and varies based on the age of the local sign language. Rachel's dissertation research investigates the development of argument ordering in three populations of deaf individuals who were exposed to three distinct sign languages: American Sign Language (200 years old), Vanuatu Sign Language (5 years old) and Fijian Sign Language (30 years old). Together, the three studies examine the interplay of age of first exposure to language and age of language community on the development of argument ordering. Congratulations, Rachel!
  • Grad Student Ray Huaute awarded UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Grad Student Ray Huaute awarded UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship

    We are proud to announce that our graduate student Ray Huaute has been awarded one of 35 University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowships out of more than 800 applicants! During his postdoc, Ray will be producing a manuscript for a new pedagogical grammar for Cahuilla, one of several critically endangered Indigenous languages of Southern California.

    Ray had this to say, "Being part of the Linguistics Department at UC San Diego has helped me grow tremendously as both an academic and a linguist. In the department we have amazing faculty who are both well known and well versed in their respective fields of specialization, as well as incredibly helpful staff members who have been recognized for their work by the university."

    Professor Gabriela Caballero, Ray's advisor, added the following, "Ray's work is incredibly important for our discipline, as it expands the documentation of TMD Cahuilla within its broader social and historical context and develops novel linguistic analyses of this language, which features highly complex linguistic structures in the domains of phonology and morphology."

    More information on Ray's fellowship can be found here:

  • Celebrating our 2022-2023 graduates

    Celebrating our 2022-2023 graduates

    At the end of this 2022 to 2023 school year, we’d like to celebrate our graduating students. Among them, seven graduating Ph.D. students. Their outstanding scholarship and enthusiasm have contributed enormously to our department. In chronological order of defense date, their names and dissertation titles are:

    • Anna Mai (not pictured): “Contrast, Neutralization, and Systems of Invariance”
    • Yuan Chai: “Phonetics and Phonology of Checked Phonation, Syllable, and Tone”
    • Yaqian Huang (not pictured): “Phonetics of Period Doubling”
    • Neşe Demir Nalcı: “Laz Turkish: A Case Study of Partially Productive Vowel Harmony and Sociolinguistic Attitudes”
    • Emily Davis: “The Nature and Evolution of Center-Embedding: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach”
    • Tory Sampson: “Grammaticalization in American Sign Language: The Case of Nonverbal Predication”
    • Alejandro Rodriguez: TBD (defending Summer 2023)


    We’re also saying goodbye to many graduating seniors who are receiving B.A.’s in Linguistics. This year, we gave our department’s “Outstanding Senior Award” to three undergraduates whose excellence in academics and contributions to the department set them apart from other graduates in their class. They were:

    • Alex Meng
    • Khanh Nguyen
    • Tiffany Wu


    Congratulations to all our graduating students! Stay connected to us so we can celebrate all the amazing things you’ll do in your lives and careers. Don’t forget to join the UC San Diego Alumni Network for networking opportunities with your fellow Tritons. Good luck with all of your future endeavors, enjoy your summer, and most of all, don’t forget to shock ‘em, Tritons!

  • Prof. Marc Garellek wins 2023 Legacy Lecture Award

    Prof. Marc Garellek wins 2023 Legacy Lecture Award

    We're proud to announce that Professor Marc Garellek has won the 2023 Legacy Lecture Award! Legacy Lecture is an annual event hosted by UC San Diego Scholars Society that allows one professor to give a lecture on the prompt, "If this were the last lecture you ever gave, what would you want to tell the world?". The winner is chosen by campus-wide student vote. Previous Legacy Lecturers include another linguist, Prof. Will Styler. Marc has the following to say about receiving this award,

    "I love a breathy-voiced uvular implosive as much as the next phonetics nerd. But the sound becomes something fun only when I am asked to produce it for the class. Or when we discuss why the sound is possible, yet still unattested, in the world's languages. So however much I love the subject matter, teaching a class is enjoyable only because of the students in the room. I am very honored to have been chosen to give the Legacy Lecture. And I am extremely thankful to UC San Diego's amazing students not only for nominating and voting for me, but also for what they do on a daily basis: turning a nerdy teacher's passion into something fun."

    Marc's talk titled, "Voices Speak Volumes" will be on Tuesday May 16th, 2023 at 6 pm at the Price Center Forum. The forum is located on the 4th floor of Price Center, the floor plan can be found here. RSVP at Only the first 117 RSVP's will be honored, so register as soon as possible!

    Marc's page:
  • Leon Bergen & Will Styler gain tenure

    Leon Bergen & Will Styler gain tenure

    Leon Bergen and Will Styler have been granted tenure! Both also recieved promotions from "Assistant" to "Associate" Professor and Teaching Professor, respectively. Congratulations, Leon and Will!
  • Gabriela Caballero promoted to Professor

    Gabriela Caballero promoted to Professor

    We are happy and proud to share the great news that our faculty member, Gabriela (Gaby) Caballero, has just been promoted to Professor. Congratulations, Professor Caballero!
  • Graduate Student, Tory Sampson, heading to Boston University

    Graduate Student, Tory Sampson, heading to Boston University

    We are happy and proud to share the great news that our graduate student Tory Sampson just accepted a postdoctoral position at Boston University's Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department. Tory will be working primarily with Dr. Amy Lieberman and Dr. Naomi Caselli in studying the relationship between cognition, iconicity and movement properties in sign language in the classification of syntactic categories using eye-tracking methodologies. Tory's new position starts this Summer as soon as she defends her Ph.D. thesis on the grammaticalization of a certain sign resulting in a copula in American Sign Language under the supervision of Prof. Rachel Mayberry.

  • Ph.D. Candidate, Maxine Van Doren, launches SLP post-bacc blog

    Ph.D. Candidate, Maxine Van Doren, launches SLP post-bacc blog

    PhD Candidate, Maxine Van Doren, started a blog a few months ago to help post-baccalaureate students navigate the Speech-Language Pathology Master's programs. "Our mission is to provide streamlined and up-to-date information on transitioning to a career in speech-language pathology. We spend hours poring through program websites and ASHA standards so you can get your information from one, centralized location."
  • Linguistics Exemplary Staff Award Recipients

    Linguistics Exemplary Staff Award Recipients

    Christina Knerr Frink, our Chief Administrative Officer and Jeffrey Lau, our Academic HR Analyst, have both been selected for the 2021- 2022 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award! This highly selective award was granted to only 15 of the 130 nominees this year. No other two staff members of the same department have been awarded and our department only has 6 staff members! This award honors staff members that have made, “exceptional contributions to the UC San Diego and San Diego communities in support of the vision to be a ‘student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.’” The outpouring of appreciation from the faculty and fellow staff shows that they not only deserve this award but are also a pleasure to work with. Our warmest and proudest congratulations to Christina and Jeffrey!

    If you want to know more about how they became the superstars they are, we prepared brief bio sketches of Christina and Jeffery. We also asked them to share how they feel about this award.

    Christina is the Chief Administrative Officer that serves the Department of Linguistics, the Linguistics Language Program (LLP), the Heritage Language Program (HLP) and the Human Developmental Sciences Program (HDS). She started working at UC San Diego as an undergraduate student assistant for the Human Developmental Sciences Program and was hired following graduation into the Field Research Coordinator position where she had the opportunity to grow and learn through mentorship from Gris Arellano, Alia Welch Partida & Clarissa Reese. She received a promotional opportunity to serve as the lead academic advisor for the International Studies Program where she had the opportunity to learn to lead a Program with mentorship from Nancy Gilson. During this time she also had the formative experience of serving on the leadership board for the Organization for Department and Program Advisors (ODaPA) alongside Jennifer Beauchamp and Laura Majoch. In 2015 she was hired as the Student Affairs Manager for the Linguistics Department, LLP, HLP and Human Developmental Sciences Program and dove in learning the needs of the Department and Programs and finding best ways to support our community members. In 2018, she was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer and has been lucky to have such great support from everyone in the Department, Programs and the School of Social Sciences.

    In response to receiving this award, Christina said the following:

    If I had two words to describe my response to winning this award it would be (1) shocked (particularly because I was advocating so strongly for Jeffrey Lau to win the award!) and (2) overwhelmingly honored (okay, that's more than two words). I might have teared up when Eric shared the news. Just being nominated for this award is so very meaningful to me, and I want to sincerely thank everyone that took the time to submit a nomination. I appreciate you all and am so very thankful that I get to work with you. There are so many wonderful people that have supported me, but I would like to thank Linguistics Department Chair Eric Bakovic and Assistant Dean for the School of Social Sciences Nieves Rankin and my team past and present (Jeffrey (who also won the award this year!), Alia, Rachel, Alycia, Rula, Lily, Olivier, Mariko, Erica, Camie, Cheri and Lucie) because I would not have been able to do this without any of you. And now this really sounds like a sappy awards ceremony quote, so I will end it there! Thank you!

    Jeffrey has been overseeing academic personnel for Linguistics and HDS since 2018. He was one of the principal architects who secured a grant to fund the new monitors on the 3rd and fourth floors. In addition to his regular duties, Jeffrey's been filling in as the department's fiscal and travel assistant ever since Lucie Wiseman retired and recently completed assignments in Anthropology (academic personnel) and Psychology (student payroll) during staff vacancies.  He also represented the School as the HR SME for the campus Enterprise Renewal Systems Identity Management workgroup and became a member of the EVC AA HR Advisory Group. 

    Jeffrey told us:

    I was deeply touched upon learning of the award. Not so much about the award itself, but the fact that people made the time to submit a nomination. This award is really a reflection on them and the school's sense of community.

    On Thursday August 25th from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be an awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements. They, along with 13 other recipients, will be honored. Nominators and fellow recipients and will be invited. Congratulations, Christina and Jeffrey!

  • LSA - Meet the Authors

    LSA - Meet the Authors

    The LSA July edition of Meet the Authors webinar featured authors Tory Sampson and Rachel Mayberry, authors of “An Emerging SELF: The Copula Cycle in American Sign Language." 

     Watch the webinar.


  • Will Styler to give UC San Diego Legacy Lecture

    Will Styler to give UC San Diego Legacy Lecture

    Linguistics Professor Will Styler has been chosen by campus-wide student vote to give the 2022 UC San Diego Legacy Lecture. This lecture series, which was started in 2015 by the UC San Diego Scholars Society, is an annual spring-quarter event that allows one UC San Diego professor to address the student body with a unique lecture with the theme: "If this were the last lecture you ever gave, what would you want to tell the world?"

    Will told us: "This is, to my mind, among the highest honors I could receive, because it comes from my students, the people best suited to appreciate the work I put into my craft as a teacher. It's wonderful when students enjoy my classes or say nice things on CAPEs, but here, they went out of their way, on their own time, to recognize my teaching, share that appreciation at the campus level, and vote me past great teachers from much larger departments. That's absolutely amazing to me, and I will always be grateful to the students who put in the time and effort to make this happen, and I will honor their hard work by bringing my characteristic combination of passion, energy, bad jokes, and 'lightly outdated' memes to this lecture, and by sharing the joys of linguistics and language with the greater UC San Diego community."

    Will's students love him. Here are some of their comments.

    "Probably the most engaging professor I've had ... He's so passionate about his topic and makes his lectures unique and fun."

    "The absolute most unhinged professor, but in a good way. Loves his job and loves linguistics."

    "He's a very engaging and student oriented professor. ... His lectures have definitely changed my outlook on my career."

    Visit Will's website:


  • Annual Conference on African Linguistics 53

    Annual Conference on African Linguistics 53

    The Department of Linguistics at the University of California San Diego is pleased to host the 53rd Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 53) online on April 7-9, 2022.
  • Changemaker Fellowships in Anti-Racist Pedagogy

    Changemaker Fellowships in Anti-Racist Pedagogy

    Faculty member Emily Clem and graduate student Shai Nielson have been awarded Changemaker Fellowships in Anti-Racist Pedagogy to facilitate a review of the linguistics curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate level and the creation of resources and training opportunities to aid linguistics instructors in implementing anti-racist pedagogical practices. The first event supported by this fellowship took place on February 14, 2022 and will be a discussion critically examining the concept of "native speaker" facilitated by UCSD Linguistics alum Savithry Namboodiripad. Stay tuned for more information and for announcements of additional events and resources to come!
  • Are you thinking of pursuing a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)?

    Are you thinking of pursuing a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)?

    Watch the session:

    Prof. Ignatius Nip of SDSU’s School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences joined us to discuss the admissions process at SDSU, how students with Linguistics backgrounds can prepare for SLP programs, and to address questions. Dr. Nip is the current Interim Chair of SDSU's program, and has served as the admissions advisor for SDSU’s SLP Master’s program, so he’s the ideal person to speak with if you have any questions about the admissions process.

    A panel of UCSD alums answer your questions and give advice!

  • Marc Garellek promoted to Professor

    Marc Garellek promoted to Professor

    Dr. Marc Garellek, who joined our department as an assistant professor in 2013 after receiving his Ph.D. from UCLA, has been promoted to Professor starting July 1, 2021. Congratulations to Marc for this major achievement in such a short amount of time!
  • $400K NSF grant awarded

    $400K NSF grant awarded

    Sarah Creel (PI, Cognitive Science), Marc Garellek (Co-PI, Linguistics), and Will Styler (Co-PI, Linguistics) have been awarded a $400K grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate listeners' perceptions of their own speech in order to better understand the relationship between speech perception and production. Congratulations to Sarah, Marc, and Will!
  • Ivano Caponigro has a new book out

    Ivano Caponigro has a new book out

    Faculty member Ivano Caponigro recently published Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages, a new book by Oxford University Press that Ivano co-edited with Harold Torrence (UCLA) and Roberto Zavala Maldonado (CIESAS, Mexico). The book results from a 4-year project in which Ivano led a team of 21 scholars from Mexico, USA, Canada, and France. Together, they investigated the morpho-syntax and semantics of several varieties of headless relative clauses across 15 languages from 5 language families, all Mesoamerican but one. The project and the book were supported by grants from UC MEXUS-CONACYT, UC San Diego Social Sciences, UCLA Academic Senate, and CIESAS, Mexico.
  • Our graduate students, faculty, and alumni present at CUNY

    Our graduate students, faculty, and alumni present at CUNY

    Several of our graduate students, faculty members, and alumni presented at the 34th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, which took place virtually from March 4th to March 6th, 2021 (click on the title link for more details). Congratulations to all!
  • New Field Research Mentorship Program for linguistics majors

    New Field Research Mentorship Program for linguistics majors

    The Linguistics Field Research Lab has just launched a new Research Mentorship Program. This program pairs graduate student mentors with undergraduate research assistants for a quarter to work on linguistics field work research projects. For the inaugural quarter of the program, there are 6 graduate students mentoring 12 undergraduate RAs. More information about available projects and how to apply will be posted on the program website.
  • Michelle Yuan co-organizes WSCLA 25

    Michelle Yuan co-organizes WSCLA 25

    Faculty member Michelle Yuan co-organized the 25th "Workshop on Structure and Constituency in Languages of the Americas" (WSCLA) together with Dr. Mike Barrie (Sogang University). WSCLA brings together linguists who conduct research on indigenous languages of the Americas in order to exchange ideas across theories, language families, generations of scholars, and across the communities who are involved in language maintenance and revitalization. This year, WSCLA took place virtually on May 28-30, 2021.
  • Kati Hout accepts position at LinkedIn!

    Kati Hout accepts position at LinkedIn!

    Alumnus Kati Hout (PhD 2020) has accepted a position as a Computational Linguist at LinkedIn, effective December 2020. Kati has been a member of our Phonetics, Phonology, and Field Work Groups, and successfully defended her dissertation, “Conspiratorial exceptionality: A case study of Mushunguli”, in February 2020. Congratulations, Kati!