Kenyon Branan

Hi! I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English Language and Literature at NUS. I graduated from MIT with a PhD in linguistics. I work on syntax and its interface with PF, and I like to use data from understudied languages for theory construction. Here is a way of categorizing my work:

  • Syntax-prosody interactions: I am interested in interactions between syntax and prosody. Much of my work on this topic attempts to develop theories of possible and impossible word orders, in which much cross-linguistic variation is determined by restrictions on prosodic structure, rather than purely syntactic requirements. If this approach is on the right track, then much surface variation between languages simply reflects different strategies to satisfy general prosodic well-formedness conditions.

  • Nominal-nominal relationships: Much work suggests that morphosyntactic rules that target nominals apply only when they are clausemates with other nominals. My work in this domain tries to determine the cross-linguistic shape of these rules, with a focus on languages which are not commonly considered to have such rules [such as Kikuyu], or on languages which display typologically unusual rules of this sort [such as Coahuilteco].

  • Derived transparency effects: Syntactic rules are generally assumed to be bounded in their application: certain parts of a sentence block movement across them. This line of investigation looks at cases where this property of movement blockers disappears as the result of some other rule targeting the blocker.

You can reach me at: kgbranan --- at --- nus dot edu dot sg

Here's my CV.


Pronominal paradigms in two varieties of English. Proceedings of WCCFL 38, 2020. With Keely New.

The Left Edge Ban: a constraint restricting stress placement and possible word orders. Proceedings of NELS 50, 2020.

A prosodic restriction affecting stress and word order. Proceedings of GLOW in ASIA XII, 2020.

Resolving conflicts between locality and anti-locality: evidence from Luganda and Haya. Proceedings of the LSA 2019, 2019.

Agreement and Unlocking at the Edge. Proceedings of the LSA 2019, 2019. with Colin Davis.

In Bùlì, wh-in-situ licenses parasitic gaps. Proceedings of WCCFL 36, to appear. with Abdul-Razak Sulemana.

Edges and Unlocking: Evidence from Chichewa. Proceedings of ACAL 49, submitted. with Colin Davis.

The ι-boundedness of A-scrambling. Proceedings of WAFL 13, 2018.

Dependent Case as a licenser in Kikuyu. Proceedings of NELS 47, 2017.

In-situ Wh-phrases in Superiority Violating Contexts don’t have to be In-Situ. In A Pesky Set: Papers for David Pesetsky, MITWPL, 2017.

Case Sensitive Ā-movement. Proceedings of NELS 46, 2016.