Virginia Dawson


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Western Washington University. My research interests lie in semantics, pragmatics, morphology, syntax and language documentation. I approach questions in these areas primarily through the lens of Tiwa, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Assam, India.

My research interests include:

  • Disjunction and indefinites

  • Countability distinctions and number marking

  • Attitude reports

  • Imperatives

  • Case concord

  • Morpheme reordering and post-syntactic movement

Papers and handouts


  • 2020. Existential quantification in Tiwa: disjunction and indefinites. Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.

    • Chapter 2 presents a grammar sketch of Tiwa.

    • Chapter 3 argues for an alternative approach to disjunction based on its behavior in unreduced phrasal comparatives. It also discusses how obligatory narrow scope disjunction in Tiwa can be captured on an alternative approach.

    • Chapter 4 argues for a choice functional approach to obligatory wide scope disjunction and indefinites in Tiwa, based on their failure to obey the Binder Roof Constraint. It also discusses the pragmatic ignorance affects found with these elements, situating them in the broader context of specific indefinites cross-linguistically.


Handouts, slides and posters

Community-oriented descriptive material


Western Washington University

  • Ling201: Introduction to Language and Linguistics (Spring 2021, Fall 2021)

  • Ling310: Linguistic Analysis (Fall 2020)

  • Ling331: Semantics and Pragmatics (Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021)

  • Ling431: Cross-linguistic semantic variation (Winter 2021)


The latest version of my CV can be found here.




Bond Hall 418E