Ivy Sichel, Professor of Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz

I am a syntactician interested in the form of sentences and in the extent to which form can vary across languages. I am also interested in the relation between meaning and form. A current project focuses on pronouns, and on the possibility that some aspects of pronominal meaning are derived by competition with other forms. The project aims to unify the competition, in relative clauses, between gaps and pronouns, with the competition between anaphors and pronouns, in contexts of A-binding, and a competition between personal pronouns and demonstrative-pronouns. What can we learn about pronouns by considering them together, in all these contexts? Why are they less preferred than gaps and anaphors, but preferred over demonstratives? In another project I collaborate with linguists at the Hebrew University and at the University of Göttingen to study the landscape of variation in Negative Concord. It has become clear, over the years, that Neg-Concord is not uniform, and that languages exhibiting Neg-concord may vary along a number of dimensions. Our goal in this study is to try to understand whether and how variation in this domain is constrained. I am also interested in the revival of Hebrew speech in the early 20th century. The project examines the ways in which multiple sources, forces, and distinct dynamics shaped the emergent language. In one study, in collaboration with Miri Bar-Ziv Levy, we examine the contribution of women to the creation of a Hebrew speech community during the first wave of immigration, as teachers, mothers, and language activists. Another project, in collaboration with Uri Mor, traces the promotion of spoken vernacular Hebrew to the level of a standard language, within the broader context of generational, class, and ethnic shifts occurring immediately after the establishment of the State of Israel. The revival of Hebrew is often seen as a historically unique example of successful language revival. Viewed from this perspective, Hebrew may also be exemplary, of the ways in which our languages speak through us.


Recent and upcoming activities and events

Stevenson Distinguished Faculty Lecture, March 15 2017: Ideology and Identity in the Revival of Spoken Hebrew.

Anatomy of a Counterexample: Extraction from relative clauses.

"The Contribution of Women to the Revival of Modern Hebrew" paper manuscript, in Hebrew.


Ivy Sichel
Associate Professor, UCSC

Stevenson 233
Hours Spring 2017: Tues 11am - 12am & Wed 9am - 10am

Stevenson Academic Services
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064