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Linguistics News

The Moor's Account author Laila Lalami, who earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from USC Dornsife in 1997, speaks Arabic, Spanish and French in addition to English. Her linguistics training informs her writing. “When you’re a writer everything you experience goes into your writing,” Lalami said. Photo courtesy of Laila Lalami.

Estebanico’s Turn to Speak

July 29, 2014

In 1527, Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez led 600 men across the Atlantic Ocean to what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States. Their goal was to claim land for the Spanish crown. From the get-go, the…

Bruce Zuckerman, front, his brother Kenneth and others at the USC West Semitic Research Project are pioneers in the use of digital photography for the preservation of ancient documents. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Digital Humanities at Its Finest

June 27, 2014

For Bruce Zuckerman, a picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words. As an authority on ancient Semitic and biblical texts, he can tell you how a letter worn off the surface of parchment — or even the leg of a…

The highest academic degree is a doctorate. This year, 203 doctoral students earned their Ph.Ds at USC Dornsife.

Our Dazzling Doctorates

May 15, 2014

Jia Liu: Dancing Through Darkness Jia Liu. Photo by Lizzie Hedrick. At age 6, Jia Liu was preparing for her first televised performance with an elite dancing school in Inner Mongolia. As a reward for her success, her…

Jason Zevin, associate professor of psychology and linguistics at USC Dornsife, is a co-author on a recent study in <em>The Journal of Neuroscience</em>, which finds that the predictive power of our brains might play an important role in human communication. Photo by Michelle Boston.

The Brain Is a ‘Prediction Machine’

April 30, 2014

Our brain activity is more similar to that of speakers we are listening to when we can predict what they are going to say, a team of neuroscientists has found. The study, which appears in The Journal of Neuroscience, provides…

James Higginbotham, USC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics, studied the disciplines of generative grammar and linguistic semantics for nearly four decades and was an international leader in his field. Photo by Philip Channing.

In Memoriam: James Higginbotham, 72

April 28, 2014

USC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics James Higginbotham, Linda Hilf Chair in Philosophy at USC Dornsife and world-renowned expert in generative grammar, linguistic semantics and the philosophy of language,…

Desano indigenous researchers Marcelino Massa (blue shirt) and Frank Matos (gray shirt) explaining to Dr. Silva (green shirt) the significance of the image on the cover of a book about the Desano myth of origins. Photo Credit: DLDP Team 2013 (c) copyright. All rights Reserved.

No Loss For Words

January 15, 2014

Deep in the Amazon, Evangeline Alva had just awoken from a nap when she heard her first words in Desano. “A man said to me ‘Good morning, sleepy head,’ ” the linguistics major at USC Dornsife recalled…

The USC Dornsife research team will study octopus behavior in the wild and in captivity at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.

Octopus Got Your Tongue?

January 6, 2014

It’s an unusual coupling: A linguist and a marine biologist are working together to investigate the human tongue. In their study, the USC Dornsife researchers are using two species of octopus and tiny worms that helped…

By examining whole genome sequencing data of living Europeans in more than 40 populations, USC Dornsife’s Peter Ralph has found that the genetics of all human beings are linked more closely than previously believed. Photo by Susan Bell.

We Are Family

August 7, 2013

New research by Peter Ralph of USC Dornsife has confirmed that everyone on Earth is related to everyone else on the planet. So the Trojan Family is not just a metaphor. Turns out, we’re also linked by genetics more…

Vellore Adithi won first place in the humanities category at the 2013 Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work. Adithi's research (shown on computer screen) looked at Jewish-American citizenship and ethnic expression in 20th century America in the work of comic book artist Will Eisner. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Amazing Adventures in Undergrad Research

May 15, 2013

Vellore Adithi loves comic books. Growing up, the Missouri native remembers travelling to India during the summer to visit her family and voraciously reading Archie, Tin Tin, Asterix and Batman.   Adithi, a USC Dornsife…

An assistant professor of linguistics since Fall 2011, Khalil Iskarous spent a decade as a research scientist at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Conn. A Fulbright scholar, Iskarous was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. While in middle school, he and his family moved to New York. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Khalil Iskarous

May 7, 2013

The strongest muscle in the human body, the tongue is our sole muscle connected only on one end. Like an octopus arm, the tongue contains no skeletal support and uses its many muscle groups to contract, lengthen, bend and…