Hi! I'm a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Manchester, where I work on a project on the lexical semantics of lexical categories. I received my PhD in linguistics from UCLA in December 2018.

Research

I specialize in semantic fieldwork. I am interested in formally modeling how words combine to generate meanings, and I work with native speakers of languages to collect data addressing this question. I am very interested in language variation and typology, particularly as it relates to semantic questions: what is the range of strategies that languages can use to express certain meanings? Are these strategies necessarily truth-conditionally equivalent? If so, how can we formally capture this?

My research is data-driven and contains both descriptive and theoretical components. I have worked primarily on semantic and morphosyntactic topics in Warlpiri (Pama-Nyungan), Tatar (Turkic), and Logoori/Llogooli/Luragooli (Bantu).

Evidentiality

My dissertation addresses a set of portmanteau evidential and temporal morphemes in Tatar (Expressing Evidence handout; Triple A handout). I propose to derive the evidential meanings of the morphemes from underlyingly temporal meanings. The project leans in to the idea that evidentiality is not a semantically homogenous phenomenon, and takes a radical stance in which no evidential meaning is actually encoded in the semantics of these morphemes. This project reflects my broader interest in portmanteau morphemes/polysemy and how to formally model relationships between different meanings.

Modality

John Gluckman and I are studying modality in the Luyia (Bantu) languages of western Kenya. We make three main observations: (1) the Luyia languages share three verbs that are polysemous between modal and non-modal meanings (LSA handout); (2) speakers can use noun class agreement to mark modal/evidential meaning (SALT proceedings paper); (3) expressions of strong necessity modality are polysemous with lexical items that invoke a scalar "threshhold" (e.g. 'to arrive', 'border') (Triple A handout). We have prepared a descriptive overview of modality in Logoori (currently under review).

Gradability

My work at the University of Manchester (with Andrew Koontz-Garboden, Emily Hanink, and Ryan Bochnak) studies cross-linguistic variation in the semantics of property concept lexemes (PCLs). I am currently expanding some of my previous work on PCLs in Warlpiri (Triple A paper), and thinking about semantic variation in supposedly degreeless languages.

Recent and upcoming

Selected papers and handouts

  • To appear, with Ivan Kapitonov. Quantification in Australian languages. In Claire Bowern (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Australian Languages. (draft paper)
  • Under review, with John Gluckman. The expression of modality in Logoori.
  • 2019. Aspect and evidentiality. Presented at Expressing Evidence. (handout)
  • 2019, with John Gluckman. Polysemy and degree scales in Logoori. Presented at Triple A 6. (handout)
  • 2018. An aspectual proposal for evidentiality. Presented at Triple A 5. (handout)
  • 2018, with John Gluckman. Intensifying ideophones in three Luhya languages. In proceedings of Triple A 4. (paper) (handout)
  • 2018, with Sozen Ozkan. Turkish -mIş does not contribute (English-type) present perfect. In proceedings of WAFL 13. (paper)
  • 2017, with Sozen Ozkan. A perfect mess: Towards a typology of the "present perfect", presented at UCLA. (handout)
  • 2017. Quantification in Warlpiri. In Denis Paperno & Edward Keenan (eds.), Handbook of Quantifiers in Natural Language Vol. 2. Springer Verlag. (paper)
  • 2017, with John Gluckman, Maurice Sifuna, and Michael Diercks. Modality in Luhya: A typological study, presented as a poster at LSA 91. (handout)
  • 2016, with John Gluckman. The anticausative alternation in Luragooli, in proceedings of ACAL 46. (paper) (handout)
  • 2016, with John Gluckman. Expletive agreement, evidentiality, and modality in Logooli, in proceedings of SALT 26. (paper)
  • 2016. The status of degrees in Warlpiri, in proceedings of Triple A 2. (paper) (slides)
  • 2015. 'Might be something': Information protection in central Australia, in proceedings of CLS 51. (paper)
  • 2014. Conjunction and disjunction in a language without 'and', in proceedings of SALT 24. (paper) (handout)
    (This paper is based on my MA thesis; please contact me if you would like a copy of the full thesis.)

Miscellanea

  • I co-taught undergraduate Linguistic Field Methods at UCLA with Travis Major in summer 2016 and 2017. We experimented with using websites to store language data and collaborate on our analysis of the language.
    • Here is a link to our 2016 class website on Tatar.
    • Here is a link to our 2017 class website on Mongolian.
  • Sozen Ozkan and I developed fieldwork questionnaires that you can use to test whether your language has properties of the (English-type) present perfect.
    • Here is our basic present perfect questionnaire.
    • Here is our questionnaire for languages with perfect of evidentiality.
  • I developed a suite of visual stimuli that can be used to collect degree constructions (e.g. comparatives in crisp judgment contexts, subcomparatives, comparatives with maximum/minimum standard predicates, etc.). Please contact me if you would like the fieldwork kit.