The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Introducing Ling-12

The eleven members of the incoming graduate class — one of the largest ever — have provided us with brief introductions.

Isa Bayirili writes: “I grew up in a small, nice and historical city of Turkey, namely Antakya, also famous for its extremely delicious desserts. I got my BA in English Language Teaching from METU, Ankara and my MA in Linguistics from Bogazici University, Istanbul. In my MA Thesis, I was surprised by certain regularities in morphology that have been left to the territories of the lexicon and I tried to develop a syntactic account of what it is to be a suffix within the framework of Brody’s Mirror Theory. This led me to a restrictive theory of syntax and to certain hypotheses about what it is to be a verbal element. Currently, I am working on the question of what other morphological elements can be given accounts by making reference to other components of grammar (i.e. syntax and pragmatics). I am also interested in methodological issues confronting restrictive theory construction for syntax and I share concerns about giving content to the term biolinguistics.”

Ruth Brillman reports: “I grew up in Albuquerque, NM and got my BA in Linguistics at NYU (where I also dabbled in Anthropology). I’m interested in syntax and its interfaces. When not doing Linguistics, I enjoy riding my bike, drinking tea, and playing Scrabble.”

Anthony Brohan is originally from Montreal, Quebec. He earned bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Linguistics at Queen’s University in Ontario. His interests lie primarily in phonology, with an emphasis on experimental work. At MIT he hopes to develop more interests, including putting his CS background to work. Outside of linguistics, he enjoys being outside (hiking, camping, canoeing, climbing and more).

Ishani Guha reports: “I am from Kolkata in India, though my education in linguistics was entirely done at the University of Delhi. So far, I have enjoyed studying the syntax of relative clause constructions in Bangla [Bengali] and I am keen on taking that forward while discovering new areas of interest at MIT.”

Aron Hirsch is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, a small (and very cold) city in central Canada. He writes: “I graduated with a B.A. in linguistics from McGill University a year ago, and have since been working at the McGill Prosody Lab. I am interested in theoretical and experimental semantics, pragmatics, and syntax, with much of my work to date relating to their respective interfaces with prosody.”

Sudheer Kolachina was born in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India, but he likes to think of himself as a pan-Indian as he grew up in different parts of the country. In search of something interesting to do after a Bachelor’s in Engineering (from DAIICT) and an MA in lingustics (from the University of Delhi), he decided to go to Language Technologies Research Center (LTRC), IIIT-Hyderabad to combine his engineering skills with his training in linguistics. During his three years at LTRC, in addition to building parsers and Machine translation systems, he spent a lot of time working towards building linguistic resources for Indian languages (Hindi and Telugu). He also worked on two less documented languages – Hamirpuri and Khasi, spoken in the Indian mountains. He recently submitted a thesis on non-local information in syntactic parsing for a Masters in Computer Science and Engineering. His main areas of interest include formal language theory, syntactic grammar formalisms and parsing, theories of discourse and quantitative methods in the study of linguistic phylogeny. He is keen on exploring new areas in linguistics in the future. Apart from languages, he is passionate about yoga and traveling.

Lilla Magyar grew up in a medium-large town in the central-western part of Hungary and moved to a small village nearby when she was 14. She writes: “I graduated from the University of Pannonia with an MA / MEd in English language and literature and German language and literature, spent six months at the TU Chemnitz in Germany doing research and have also studied at ELTE TLP in Budapest (which might be known to some of you by the song “We are the world, we are the linguists”). My main area of interest is the phonology-morphology interface, especially variation and gradient / non-categorical phenomena, but I’m very much interested in sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics as well. In my free time, I enjoy reading books, listening to music, watching films, doing sports (such as swimming and aikido) and having fun with friends and family.”

Chris O’Brien grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received a B.A. and M.A. in linguistics from Michigan State University. While at MIT, he’s interested in working on formal and experimental semantics. In his spare time, Chris enjoys watching old movies, particularly 1930s-40s screwball comedies.

Juliet Stanton is from Austin, Texas and she recently completed a BA in linguistics at Indiana University. She writes: “I’m mainly interested in phonology—some slightly more specific interests include inventories and phonotactics, as well as the interfaces among phonology, phonetics, and morphology. I am not committed to any one language or language family, but I did spend some time over the past year working on Saafi, an Atlantic language of western Senegal. Outside of linguistics, I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music, and spending lots of time outdoors.”

Benjamin Storme writes: “I was born and raised in Auvergne, France and moved to Paris to study Classics (Latin, Ancient Greek, Old French, etc.). I then studied Hittite at UCLA and finally Linguistics back in Paris. Besides Linguistics, I like among other things playing drums, watching movies, reading… My last name is akin to “storm”, but don’t ask me why there is an -e at the end: I have no clue (maybe it sounded more French!…).”

Samuel Zukoff hails from Summit, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. He received a BA in Linguistics and Classics from Georgetown University, and has just completed an MA in Linguistics at University of Georgia with a concentration in Historical/Indo-European Linguistics. Sam’s Master’s Thesis was on reduplication in Ancient Greek. He reports: “I’m interested in phonology, historical linguistics, and language change, and particularly in applying contemporary linguistic theory to historical reconstruction. I work primarily on ancient Indo-European languages, including Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Latin, and Classical Armenian. I’m a huge sports fan (a New York sports fan, but don’t tell any of the locals), I like board games, card games, trivia, and good beer.”