News | 7 January 2013

Professor of Linguistics Sandra Chung honored by American Associate for the Advancement of Science


Sandy ChungThe American Associate for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) awarded Professor of Linguistics Sandra Chung, with the distinction of AAAS fellow, “for distinguished contributions to teaching and research in linguistics, advancing syntax through insights from under-studied languages, notably Chamorro, and engaging minority communities in linguistic research.”

Chung is a leading authority on Austronesian languages, especially Chamorro, a language spoken by 45,000 people in the unincorporated U.S. territory of Guam and in the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In 2008, she was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year collaborative project to help preserve the endangered Chamorro language. Since joining UCSC in 1986, she has served as chair of the Linguistics Department, chair of the Philosophy Department, and chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel. In 2011, she was elected as president of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA)–the major professional society in the United States that is dedicated to the scientific study of language.

Much of Chung’s recent research has focused on the interface of syntax and semantics, including a collaborative project with UCSC Professor of Linguistics and Dean of Humanities William A. Ladusaw.

According to Chung’s website, problem-solving and linguistic argumentation have always appealed to her. “There’s something I find deeply satisfying about discovering new evidence for an analysis or bringing new evidence to bear on a theoretical claim,” Chung states. “I’m committed to the idea that lesser-studied languages have as much to contribute to syntactic theory as do languages like English, French, and Italian.”

This year, 702 AAAS members have been honored as fellows because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin on February 16, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.