Welcome new faculty!

The department welcomes one new assistant professor and 3 lecturers this academic year. Read about them below:

Jesse Harris (Ph.D. UMass, Asst. Prof):

My primary research is in language processing, which incorporates methods from cognitive science and psychology to investigate how language users develop a sufficiently rich linguistic meaning during online comprehension. Specific research areas include: semantic processing, interpretation of ellipsis, metonymy and type coercion, lexical access and representation, eye movements during reading, prosody and information structure, and establishing perspectival information in text. Be sure to stop by 2224 Campbell to visit the lab!

I also work in formal semantics and pragmatics, with interests in perspectival terms, free relative structures, domain restriction, and discourse particles. This work often incorporates experimental components, including corpus distributions, as well.

When I’m not working, I’m probably getting wildly lost in LA or annoying my neighbors with my very amateur mandolin-playing.

Vrinda Chidambaram (Ph.D. Princeton, Lecturer):

I am from Alexandria, Virginia. Got my A.B. from Cornell, Ph.D. from Princeton. I like to work on the syntax of relative clauses and resumptive pronouns and am particularly fond of South Slavic languages. I love to teach. I grew up singing south Indian classical (Carnatic) music, but got interested more recently in the choral folk music of Caucasus Georgia. I have started several Georgian choirs: one in Princeton, one in Slovenia, and one here at UCLA. My sister calls me “the Johnny Appleseed of Georgian choirs”, which is not really very flattering, because I understand that Johnny Appleseed was actually quite deranged. For one year, I worked as a jazz singer in a lounge; it was not nearly as fun as it sounds.

Hannah Sarvasy (Ph.D. James Cook University, Australia, Lecturer):

My work focuses on Papuan descriptive and comparative linguistics, and I have also done fieldwork on Tashelhit Berber and Kim and Bom (Atlantic). I am happy to share knots, solar power setup, and bush survival skills with anyone interested!

Brian Smith (ABD UMass, Lecturer):

(reproduced from Brian’s website: http://people.umass.edu/bwsmith/)

My main research interests are phonologically-conditioned allomorphy and ineffability. I also work on variation, metrical stress, and French schwa.

I’m weeks away from earning my linguistics PhD from UMass Amherst. Before UMass, I attended Rutgers University in NJ, where I studied French and Linguistics.

My non-academic interests include classic films, graphic novels, and art, both traditional and digital. I come from South Jersey, specifically the Jersey Shore, where people say things like “jimmies”, “shoobies”, “hoagies”, and “water ice”.



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