Research Interests


Here I discuss the various topics I'm working on in more or less arbitrary order



Coordinated wh-questions 

I propose that coordinated wh-questions (like What and when did Dana eat?) in Germanic languages are derived via normal syntactic movement of the rightmost wh-word, but that any other wh-word enters into a non-movement dependency with the verb. This contrasts with other analysis in which all wh-words in such constructions enter into the same type of dependency. Theoretical arguments as well as numerous acceptability judgment studies support two dependency account. Further, online self-paced reading evidence provides further evidence for this view. In work with Shevaun Lewis and Dave Kush, we show differential filled-gap effects for left and right wh-words. This work has been presented at the Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop 2012 , WCCFL 2013, and the CUNY conference on human sentence processing 2012. 

2013. The what and when of processing coordinated-wh questions. WCCFL 31. Arizona State University. Tempe, AZ. (with 
    Dave Kush and Shevaun Lewis)
2013. Varieties of Coordinated Questions in Twi. 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics. ACAL. Georgetown 
    University. Washington, DC.
2012. What and when can you fill a gap with something?. 25th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing. 
    New York, NY. (with Shevaun Lewis and Dave Kush)

Right node raising

The right node raising construction (like Dana bought, and Andy sold, a box of toys.) raises questions of syntactic and semantic constituency, linearization of syntactic structure, intonation, and information structure. In this way it is important for many areas of formal linguistics and may teach us a lot about the interplay between them. I am working on an analysis of right node raising in which all but the last conjunct is incomplete syntactically and only receives its full interpretation through extra-grammatically mediated inference. Such an analysis is prompted by both the facts of the construction as well as what I have shown to be the ineluctable failure of the current analyses. I have argued against the previous analyses in Linguistic Inquiry and at the Austronesian Formal Linguistic Association 2011 and presented my novel approach in Studia Linguistica

2016. Right node raising and nongrammaticality. Studia Linguistica.
2012. A Dilemma with Accounts of Right Node Raising. Linguistic Inquiry. 43.1:143-150.
2012. A, B, C, or None of the Above: A C-command Puzzle in Tagalog. InProceedings of AFLA 18, eds. Lauren Eby Clemens 
    and Greg Scontras. 
2011. Problems with a Movement Analysis of Right Node Raising in Tagalog.Linguistic Inquiry. 42.1:163-171.

Multidominance

Recently there has been much interesting work concerning the possibility of Multidominant structures (involving a single constituent immediately dominated by more than one node) as possible syntactic representations. It has been argued that these representation should not be ruled out a priori and they have been exploited too account for filler-gap dependencies for which ellipsis and movement are empirically inadequate. I have argued against this means of explanation in particular instances and also in general. Also, it has been widely suggested that all syntactic movement results in multidominance structures. I argue that it is very difficult to distinguish multidominance from the copy theory of movement and that the few points that distinguish the two point in favor of the copy theory of movement. 

2016. The representation of syntactic action at a distance. Glossa
2015. Minimal Search as a Restriction on Merge. Lingua 
2011. What can Multidominance tell us about islands?. Islands in Contemporary Linguistic Theory. Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. 
    Universidad de Vitoria-Gasteiz.  


Merge

The concept of Merge is often taken to be the fundamental structure building operation in generative syntax. In my research, I am currently exploring the advantages to decomposing the Merge operation into two sub-operations (Following Hornstein, 2009). If this idea is on the right track, then we should expect evidence suggestive of representations involving less structure than a single monolithic Merge operation would lead us to expect. I argue that we do indeed find evidence of this in cases of adjunction and coordination. As noted above, I have exploit this concept for sprouting. Additionally, I have shown its utility in accounting for Slavic comitative constructions, Arabic conjunct sensitive agreement, and coordination in general. Different instantiations of this work has been presented at the Linguistic Society of America 2012, Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 2011, the Slavic Linguistics Society 2010, and Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) 2010. 

2015. Minimal Search as a Restriction on Merge. Lingua
2014. Russian Comitatives and the Ambiguity of Adjunction. Journal of Slavic Linguistics. 
2013. Arabic First Conjunct Agreement and Primitive Operations. Linguistic Inquiry 
2010. Bare Phrase Coordination. GLOW 33. Generative Linguistics in the Old World. Wrocław, Poland. Uniwersytet 
    Wrocławski.  

Sluicing 

I argue that sprouting instances of sluicing are amenable to traditional analyses of sluicing where the un-elided element undergoes syntactic movement followed by IP-ellipsis. I posit that extraposition feeds this movement and that the extraposition site is not fully Merged with the main structure. This work is also a component of other research discussed below on that nature of the Merge operation. Below are representative manuscripts exemplifying this work that, in various forms, has been presented at the Chicago Linguistic Society 2012, the Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop 2011, the Penn Linguistics Colloquium 2012, the Linguistic Society of America 2012, and the University of Washington.

2014. Sprouting Anew. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago, IL.
2013. Conditions on Sprouting. Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) 36. Lunds Universitet. Lund, Sweden.

In joint work with Norbert Hornstein, I have been working on an argument against a derivational account of adjunct extraction from nominals in English (compared with Slavic languages), that relies on sluicing data. 

2013. A note on p-stranding and adjunct extraction from nominals. Linguistic Inquiry (with Norbert Hornstein)

Across the board movement

Sentences in which a moved element finds its locus of interpretation in two positions across coordination have long puzzled researchers. Examples of these are like: What did Ivan buy and Ivy sell? The major puzzles arise in how a single overt element (what) can be interpreted in more than one position and why this particular construction is not subject to the coordinate structure constraint. I posit that there is actually only syntactic movement from the leftmost conjunct and that the interpretation of that moved element elsewhere is due to extra-syntactic mechanisms. In virtue of moing in the first conjunct, the moved element is presupposed and thus inferred into the gap position in the second conjunct. This is work in progress and portions of it have been presented at Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 2012 and the Linguistic Society of America 2013 (with Dan Parker) 

2013. Two flavors of long distance dependency discerned through island effects. 26th annual CUNY conference on human 
    sentence processing. Columbia, SC. (with Dan Parker) 
2013. 'Across the board movement’ is actually asymmetrical’ 87th Annual Meeting of the LSA. Boston, MA. (with Dan 
    Parker) 
2013. Not-so-across-the-board movement in Macedonian. Proceedings of FASL 21, Indiana University. 
Comments