Andrew McKenzie

Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Affiliate Professor in Indigenous Studies
University of Kansas | KU Linguistics

Specializing in formal semantics and linguistic fieldwork.
Focus on Native American languages, especially Kiowa.

me at my desk, 2017. Credit: Miranda Anaya, University Daily Kansan

Office:       428 Blake Hall
Office Hrs: M 9:30-10:45
R 1:00-2:15
Phone:       785-864-2881
In class:       T and R

Andrew McKenzie
University of Kansas
Department of Linguistics
1541 Lilac Lane
Blake Hall, Room 427
Lawrence, KS 66045


Latent homomorphism and content satisfaction: The double life of Turkic auxiliary -(i)p bol-
Co-authors Gülnar Eziz and Travis Major. Under revision at Glossa.

Employs semantic fieldwork techniques to argue that the auxiliary construction -(I)p bol- in the Turkic language Uyghur (and -(i)b bo'l- in Uzbek) is actually two constructions: The first asserts that the event relation is homomorphic, which leads to a sense of 'full completion.' The second, previously unattested in the literature, conventionally implicates that the event relation satisifies the content of some known content-bearing object. This paper promises a new line of research and offers suggestions for deep discoveries concerning Turkic auxiliaries and auxiliaries cross-linguistically.

Almost-at-a-distance and counterfactuality without tense
Co-author Lydia Newkirk. Under revision at Linguistics & Philosophy.

We demonstrate that almost requires a modal in addition to scalar proximity. We describe the modal as a counterfactual adn compare it to ordinary counterfactuals.

( preprint )

(in press) Annotated bibliography of switch-reference, for Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics.

Control Incorporation and Intensional Compounds
Presented at the Workshop on Modality Across Categories, in Barcelona.
(slides | handout)

Kiowa verbs allow a wide array of verb incorporation that expresses many different meanings, including control. In this paper I argue that a covert head in the incorporation structure provides the intensionality required for these meanings.

Almost as a 'variable-force' modal
Co-author Lydia Newkirk. In Proceedings of WCCFL 33.

Argues that a modal almost varies in force between possibility and necessity depending on the context. It thus resembles modals found in indigenous languages of North America. These modals don't actually vary, but have a fixed force mitigated by context. Almost is a necessity modal, whose strength depends on a modal base (the circumstances) and two ordering sources (reality, and one's expectations). The interactions of these derive a gradation of force that derives the context-sensitivity of almost, and offers new avenues for variation across and within languages.

Switch-reference and Austinian topic situations
Submitted to the Journal of Semantics (click title for preprint)

Examines switch-reference when it (non-canonically) ignores subjects, arguing that we can explain this if it is tracking the reference of the joined clauses' Austinian topic situations, rather than their subjects. In doing so, it highlights the role that the utterance context and speaker intent play in shaping reference-tracking.

Reference to content situations in Uyghur auxiliary bolmaq
Co-authors Gülnar Eziz and Travis Major. In Proceedings of BLS 41.

Employs semantic fieldwork techniques to argue that the auxiliary bolmaq in the Turkic language Uyghur describes event situations as contributing to the content of some anaphoric content situation. This offers a role for content outside of attitude environments and may apply to cognates in other Turkic languages.

A survey of switch-reference in North America
In the Int'l Journal of American Linguistics (pre-print version)

Offers a new and comprehensive survey of switch-reference in North American languages. It also discusses major descriptive issues concerning switch-reference, and problems with relying on targeted portions of reference grammars without checking other parts.

On the emergence of discourse functions
invited talk at SULA 8 (click title for slides)

Explores two phenomena in which apparently obvious discourse functions can be derived without recourse to positing any discourse functions. Given what we already know about the semantics (and syntax) of a language, the effects emerge on their own.

Deriving topic effects in Kiowa with semantics and pragmatics
in Methodolgies of Semantic Fieldwork, Bochnak and Matthewson, eds. A volume on semantic fieldwork from Oxford University Press. (click title for preprint)

Uses ordinary semantic fieldwork techniques to elicit clear judgments that suggest that some types of movement that appear discourse-driven are actually moving to disambiguate between opaque and transparent readings. It's the fact of movement that signals discourse prominence, not the other way around.

The role of contextual restriction in reference tracking
2012 - Doctoral dissertation, Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst

Proposes a new theory of switch-reference as an independent morpheme in the extended verbal projection. It links to its clause's topic situation, when there is one, and to the subject otherwise. The interaction of the syntax and semantics derives apparent context-sensitivity and configuration facts.

full abstract

Subject domain restriction and reference-tracking
2011 - Proceedings of SALT 20

Explores the interaction of resource situations with switch-reference in Kiowa. It starts with the question: How does a reference-tracking system work when there is no reference? Apparent subject tracking is derived by linking the subject's resource situation to the sentence's Austinian topic situation.

Recent Teaching  

(click for a syllabus)

(fall 2017)
Ling 107 - Intro to Linguistics (Honors)
Ling 575 - Structures of Kiowa

(spr 2017)
Ling 331/731 - Semantics
(click here to view video lecturelets)
Ling 441/741 - Field Methods

(fall 2016)
Ling 107 - Intro to Linguistics (Honors)
Ling 447/747 - N. Amer. Indian Languages

(spr 2016)
Ling 331/731 - Semantics
Ling 441/741 - Field Methods


I have been awarded a grant from the Documenting Endangered Languages program! (read the grant abstract) The three-year project's goal is to result in a semantic reference grammar of Kiowa, along with papers that result. This kind of grammar is novel and promises to really help document not only Kiowa but other endangered and understudied languages as well. Read up about my grant at the University Daily Kansan, KU Today, and the Lawrence Journal-World. And stay tuned for an upcoming segment on Kansas City's NPR station, 89.3 FM!


ling-macros LaTeX package

KU LaTeX for Linguists workshop

Full curriculum vitae (.pdf)