Syntax/Semantics

Coordination

Much of my work in syntax has revolved around issues in the syntax of coordinate structures, both in terms of their phrase structure and their extraction properties. Building on a paper originally published in the McGill Working Papers in 1987, I have been developing a theory of coordination based on the idea the coordinate structures are asymmetrical adjunction structures headed by a conjunction. There is now a substantial amount of supporting evidence for asymmetric conjunction from a variety of sources. Two areas that I have been especially concerned with are agreement asymmetries in various languages and asymmetries in Across-the-board (ATB) A-bar movement structures.

Crosslinguistic variation in bare nominals

In addition to my work on coordination, I have also been working extensively on the syntax and semantics of bare nominals. In this work, which is being done in collaboration with Cristina Schmitt, we argue that the syntax of bare nominals in both argument and predicative positions must be taken into account in order to correctly explain the distribution of bare singular count nominals. We argue that differences in the morpho-syntax of Number can account for a wide range of crosslinguistic data including the presence of bare singular arguments in Brazilian Portuguese (and their absence in the other Romance languages and English) and which we argue correlates with the presence of bare singular predicates in Romance. We are currently working on the syntax of ininitival relatives in Portuguese.

Syntax and sociolinguistic variation

I am also interested in both the syntax of non-standard varieties of English, including African American English and Appalachian English, and how sociolinguistic aspects of syntactic varation can be studied.


Last modified: December 24, 2010