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.
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).
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.
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).
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.