Awards, jobs, and promotions

Fujiwara & Wang | Postdoc positions

Yoshiki Fujiwara and Shuyan Wang, who got their PhDs last academic year, have both been hired in postdoc positions. Yoshiki is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the linguistics department at Yale University, supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, while Shuyan is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the linguistics department at Rutgers University, working with Dr. Kristen Syrett. Congratulations to both and to many more successes!

Welcome to Omar Agha

We are pleased to announce that Omar Agha will be joining our department for the coming academic year. Omar is finishing up his dissertation in semantics at NYU with Lucas Champollion, having previously received a BA in linguistics and mathematics at the University of Chicago. He will teach courses in semantics/pragmatics and computational linguistics.

You can find more information about his research here.

Welcome Omar!



Van der Hulst | AAUP Career Award

Harry van der Hulst has been awarded the 2022 Excellence in Research & Creativity Career Award from the UConn-AAUP, one of only two recipients in the university. The recipients were chosen by the UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards Committee from a pool of excellent candidates. The intention of the awards is to showcase academic excellence at UConn.

A virtual ZOOM ceremony to honor Professor van der Hulst, and other UConn-AAUP award recipients, will take place on Monday, April 25th at 12:00pm. Any and all who wish to attend are welcome and are asked to email Barbara Kratochvil to receive the ZOOM link.

Park | Academy of Korean Studies Best Student Paper Prize

We are pleased to announce that Jayeon Park received the Academy of Korean Studies Best Student Paper Prize for her presentation at the 28th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference (JK28).

The prize was awarded for her presentation on The sustained anterior negativity and syntactic movement dependencies in Korean”, which reports on joint work with Satoshi Tomioka and Jon Sprouse.

Congratulations Jayeon!

Bertolino, Nguyen, Petrosino | Isabelle Y. Liberman Award

We are pleased to announce that three of our graduate students have been recognized and awarded stipends for this year’s Isabelle Y. Liberman Award, which is intended to recognize and encourage young researchers who are investigating topics relating to Isabelle Y. Liberman’s interests.

Emma Nguyen received the award for her work on The link between lexical semantic features and children’s comprehension of English be-passives”, a paper submitted to Language Acquisition with Lisa Pearl.

Additionally, Karina Gomes Bertolino and Roberto Petrosino have been named finalists for the award.

Congratulations to all three!

Carstens to join UConn Linguistics

We are thrilled to announce that Vicki Carstens will join the faculty of the Department of Linguistics as Professor of Syntax in Fall 2020! She comes to us from Southern Illinois University where she is Professor & Chair of Linguistics.

Prof. Carstens is a renowned generative syntactician who has worked extensively on word order and agreement cross-linguistically.  She is a skilled, experienced fieldworker and an expert on African languages with a focus on Bantu.

Check out her research here.

And find out more about her from her 2016 Featured Linguist profile on Linguist List.

Coppola | Best Paper in Language Award

A paper co-authored by Marie Coppola, “The noun-verb distinction in established and emergent sign systems” (Language 95, no. 2 (2019): 230-267), has won this year’s Best Paper in Language Award.

Congratulations to Marie and her co-authors: Natasha Abner, Molly Flaherty, Katelyn Stangl, Diane Brentari, and Susan Goldin-Meadow!

Abstract: In a number of signed languages, the distinction between nouns and verbs is evident in the morphophonology of the signs themselves. Here we use a novel elicitation paradigm to investigate the systematicity, emergence, and development of the noun-verb distinction (qua objects vs. actions) in an established sign language, American Sign Language (ASL), an emerging sign language, Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL), and in the precursor to NSL, Nicaraguan homesigns. We show that a distinction between nouns and verbs is marked (by utterance position and movement size) and thus present in all groups–even homesigners, who have invented their systems without a conventional language model. However, there is also evidence of emerging crosslinguistic variation in whether a base hand is used to mark the noun-verb contrast. Finally, variation in how movement repetition and base hand are used across Nicaraguan groups offers insight into the pressures that influence the development of a linguistic system. Specifically, early signers of NSL use movement repetition and base hand in ways similar to homesigners but different from signers who entered the NSL community more recently, suggesting that intergenerational transmission to new learners (not just sharing a language with a community) plays a key role in the development of these devices. These results bear not only on the importance of the noun-verb distinction in human communication, but also on how this distinction emerges and develops in a new (sign) language.