My research project has two initial key objectives:
1. I aim to determine "what it takes to be a phi-feature" - is the title based on semantic concepts required for reference, or is it a purely syntactic feature? If the semantic concepts are required for reference, what can the variation in how languages translate these concepts to phi-features (or similar) tell us about the link between syntax and semantics? Also, with that in mind, to what extent are the distinctions within phi-features important, e.g. number and distribution of Gender feature values (or noun classes)?
2. I aim to determine the importance of agreement in the acquisition of phi-features - is the sharing/spreading of a phi-feature through agreement important to indicate to the acquirer the presence and distribution of phi-features within the system? How do phi-features fare in languages with little to no agreement?
My studies and research were in theoretical linguistics: formal (Chomskyan) syntax, morphology and language typology more specifically. The course at Cambridge provided useful experience of independent research in an academic environment and, in addition to participating in seminars and lectures, I followed courses in research methods and statistics to develop transferable skills for a future in research.
My dissertation aimed to provide a theory for the Number feature, its behaviour, and its interaction with numerals. A number of languages are considered and points of parametric variation suggested. The findings are based both in morphosyntactic and semantic terms. A system for the generation of complex cardinal numerals is also proposed, which captures a range of observations from numeral systems cross-linguistically. A theory is also provided for how numerals fit into the nominal projection, and how the Number feature can both constrain, and be constrained by, a numeral.
This degree provided a broad understanding of a wide range of subfields in linguistics. I followed more specialised courses in syntax, semantics and information structure, as well as receiving teaching in the fundamentals of phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics.
Representing the views of postgraduate research students of linguistics to staff at regular committee meetings.
Responsible for the funding, financial planning and budgeting of an established postgraduate and early career researcher conference in linguistics.
Leading seminars for first year undergraduate students and grading their assessed work.
Grading all final examination scripts for third year undergraduate students according to division and university marking criteria and standards.
Reviewing submissions concerned with phi-features within the nominal domain.
Providing a link between fellow linguistics Masters students and the department.