Specializing in formal semantics and linguistic fieldwork.
Focus on Native American languages, especially Kiowa.
I will see you in Los Angeles this April as I attend WCCFL 36 to present my work on the semantic licensing of English synthetic compounds!
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.
Under review at Natural Language & Linguistic Theory.
Resolves two elements of weak compositionality in noun incorporation in one stroke. NI either involves non-objects (knife+cut) which are quantified over but whose relation to the verb is vague, or objects (meat+cut) whose relation is clear but whose entity argument is not saturated in a satsifactory way. Looking at Kiowa NI and English synthetic compounds, I show that these issues are both resolved if noun incorporation requires a mediating relation, which is independently needed in many cases. This relation provides a thematic role when required, and binds the entity argument, along with world and event arguments when the meaning requires. Object incorporation requires a mediating relation above the verb, provided by a derivational or light-verb head not in the inflectional projection.
Co-authors Gülnar Eziz and Travis Major. Accepted and in print 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.
Co-author Lydia Newkirk. Under revision at Linguistics & Philosophy.
We demonstrate that the English adverbial almost requires a modal in addition to scalar proximity. The modal involves the same Non-Interrupting ordering source that Portner finds in the progressive. If the event and its circumstances allow the event to proceed to completion in normal relevant counterparts to the topic situation, almost can apply `at a distance'. In cases where that isn't possible, notably in statives, present tense eventives, and cases where the evaluation is based on the result rather than the process, almost requires most of the necessary conditions to be complete.
seed paper from WCCFL 33
Available at Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics.
Critically annotated bibliography spanning major descriptive and theoretical work on switch-reference. Focuses on different switch-reference areas around the world, and major issues in the theory of switch-reference.
Under revision for the Journal of Semantics
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.
In the International Journal of American Linguistics. 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.
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.