The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Meet Ling-10

Welcome to our incoming first year students! They’ve sent us some brief introductions.

Ted Levin grew up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. in Language and Linguistics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. While interested in all subfields of theoretical linguistics, as an undergraduate he focused on syntax writing his honors thesis on external possession constructions in Korean. Aside from linguistics, Ted is a fan of all Philadelphia sports teams and a self-described beer snob.

Sam Steddy reports, “I come from a seaside town in the Southeast of England, not far from Canterbury or Sandwich, though I’ve been studying and living in London for the past six years, with interludes in Bologna, Italy and Toulouse, France. I have an undergraduate degree in French & Italian and a master’s in syntax, both from University College London, though I suppose now is the time to begin working in new fields and with new languages. My main areas of interest up until now have been syntax and phonology, the interface between the two, morphology, compounding, and language universals. Outside of linguistics I seek solace in good food and Italian detective novels.”

Gretchen Kern grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, where she recently completed an MA in linguistics. Before that, she did an MA in Irish at Aberystwyth University and a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. Her interests lie in phonology — more specifically in historical linguistics and language change, prosody, and the phonology/syntax interface. She spent the past summer living with an Irish-speaking family on a sheep farm in County Donegal.

Wataru Uegaki writes, “I am originally from Japan, and have done my BA and MA in linguistics at University of Tokyo. Outside of Japan, I have once lived in San Francisco for one year when I was five, but that’s a long time ago. So, my life at MIT is going to be the first time for me as an adult to settle in the US (and in a country other than Japan). I am mainly interested in semantics, especially the semantics of different types of expressions that report attitudes (belief, wish etc.), but am also very excited to learn ideas and methods from other (sub)fields inside and outside linguistics. In my spare time, I like to go for a ride around Boston and Cambridge on my new bike. Let me know if any of you is planning a bike trip!”

Suyeon Yun reports, “I’m from South Korea and have an MA in linguistics from Seoul National University. My major research interests include typology, phonology, and the Arabic languages. I spend a lot of time listening to music and writing in a journal. I also like traveling very much.”

Ryo Masuda grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and earned a B.A. in linguistics and mathematics at UC Berkeley, where he also completed a senior thesis on loanword phonology. His primary research interests are in the interface of phonetics and phonology, with a consideration for historical issues that arise in that area. Outside of linguistics, Ryo likes to watch films both mainstream and obscure.

Isaac Gould enjoys cooking (last dinner was leftover chicken provençal), going for walks (maybe I’ll find the time to do the Camino de Santiago?), and old films (a taste of Jimmy Stewart, healthy portions of Mastroianni and Stanwyck, and the Marx Brothers for dessert). He has an MA and BA in linguistics from The University of Toronto and seems drawn to the syntax-PF interface.

Michelle Fullwood is from Singapore. She graduated from Cornell University with a BA in mathematics and linguistics in 2004. Since then, she has worked in speech and natural language processing and later web development, before the lure of linguistics proved too strong to resist any longer. She is interested in computationally modelling various aspects of language acquisition, particularly phonological and morphological acquisition.

Ayaka Sugawara reports, “I grew up in Chiba, which is next to Tokyo, in Japan. I’m interested in syntax and L1 acquisition. My BA and MA theses focused on relative clauses in Japanese and split topicalization in Japanese, respectively. I’m looking forward to developing my intellectual strength and learning lots of new things through the MIT program. On my day off, I like to listen to (rock) music, and I used to like to play the guitar on weekends. I was in a band when I was in Japan, and I miss my Les Paul (which is still in Japan)!”

Coppe van Urk writes, “I was born and raised in The Netherlands, in a small city near Utrecht. I got a BA in English and an MA in linguistics at Utrecht University. As some of you may know, I was a Visiting Student at MIT in the Fall 2009 semester, as part of that MA. I’ve mainly worked on syntactic issues, particularly on obligatory control, but I’m also interested in language evolution and phonology. Outside of linguistics, I like to play soccer and board games. My first name is a Middle Dutch form of Jacob, now quite rare, and is pronounced: /k?p?/ (note the absence of aspiration).”