About my work
What principles shape human languages? How and to what extent do languages vary?
I am a theoretical syntactician with a primary focus on the syntax of nominals, crosslinguistic variation, and the syntax-semantics interface. I teach courses on syntax, semantics, typology, and fieldwork.
My work draws from languages of East and Southeast Asia and Subsaharan Africa. (I like working on languages with tone!) I have an enduring interest in Thai, which I grew up speaking as a second language and which was the topic of my dissertation.
For over ten years I have been working on Moro, an endangered Kordofanian language spoken in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. I co-developed the Moro Story Corpus, and I am currently collaborating on a descriptive grammar of Moro together with Sharon Rose and our Moro colleagues.
- Articulated definiteness without articles. To appear in Linguistic Inquiry.
- Dependent accusative case and caselessness in Moro. (with Hannah Sande) Proceedings of NELS 47.
- The syntactic diversity of SAuxOV in the Macro-Sudan Belt. (With Hannah Sande and Nico Baier) Proceedings of ACAL 47.
- On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá. (with Andrew Koontz-Garboden and Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.
- October 2017: Cophonologies by Phase (with Hannah Sande) NELS 48, Reykjavik, Iceland.
- September 2017 The Moro Story Corpus: An online searchable text database and lexicon of Moro. (with Angelo Naser and Hannah Sande) 3rd Nuba Mountain Langauges Conference, Cologne, Germany.
- January 2017 Numeral classifiers compete with number marking: Evidence from Dafing. LSA2017, Austin, Texas. (handout)
- November 2016 Hyperraising from pseudorelatives in Moro. Talk at the Morphology and Syntax Workshop, University of Chicago. (handout)
- Dependent accusative case and caselessness in Moro. (with Hannah Sande) Proceedings of NELS 47, UMass, Amherst.
- On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá. (with Andrew Koontz-Garboden and Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, University of Edinburgh.
- Documenting Raising and Control in Moro. (with Sharon Rose). In Africa's Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches. Jason Kandybowicz and Harold Torrence (Eds.) Oxford University Press.
- Accessibility and demonstrative operators in Basaá relative clauses. (with Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso and Larry Hyman). In Relative Clauses in Cameroonian Languages. Gratien Gualbet Antindogbe and Rebecca Grollemund (Eds.) De Gruyter Mouton. 17-46.
- Moro Story Corpus. (with Angelo Naser, Hannah Sande, Marcus Ewert, Juwon Kim, and Maytas Monsereenusorn). UC Berkeley. (slides describing project here)
- Clefts and anti-superiority in Moken. (with Kenny Baclawski). Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistic Society 9, 81-96.
- Two kinds of definites in numeral classifier langauges. Proceedings of SALT 25, 103-124.
- Mobile object markers in Moro: The role of tone. (with Sharon Rose). Language 91.2, 269-307.
- Generalized clausal modifiers in Thai noun phrases. Syntax 17.4, 299-342.
- In-situ and ex-situ wh-question constructions in Moro. (with Sharon Rose, Farrell Ackerman, George Gibbard, Laura Kertz, and Hannah Rohde). Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 35.1, 91-125.
- Kra-Dai Languages. (with Pittayawat Pittayaporn). Oxford Bibliographies, in “Linguistics.” Ed. Mark Aranoff. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Quantifier float, focus, and scope in Thai. Proceedings of BLS 39., 90-107.
- Head movement in Moro DPs: Evidence for a unified theory of movement. Proceedings of WCCFL 31, ed. Robert E. Santana-LaBarge, 248-257. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- Nominal modification in Chinese and Thai. (with Shi-Zhe Huang) Proceedings of WCCFL 31, ed. Robert E. Santana-LaBarge, 227-237. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
- Adjectives as nominal heads in Basaá. (with Larry Hyman and Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso) Selected proceedings of ACAL 43. O. O. Orie and K. W. Sanders (Eds). Somerville: Cascadilla Press.
- Noun phrases in Moro. In Nuba Mountain Language Studies, T. Schadeberg and R. Blench, Eds. Berlin: Rüdiger Koppe Verlag, 57-82.
- Definite spans and blocking in classifier languages. UC Berkeley ms.
- Three ways to modify classifiers in Thai. Presentation at LSA2012, Portland, OR.
- High tone in Moro: Effects of prosodic categories and morphological domains. (with Sharon Rose) Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 29, 211-250.
- The hidden structure of Thai noun phrases. PhD Dissertation, Harvard University.
- Evidence for the syntactic diversity of numeral classifiers. LSA Annual Meeting Extended Abstracts. LSA 84, Baltimore, MD.
- Syllable weight and high tone in Moro. (with Sharon Rose) In Proceedings of CLS 45, Volume I, R. Bochnak, N. Nicola, P. Klecha, J. Urban, A. Lemieux and C. Weaver (Eds.), 271-285. Chicago: CLS.
- 220A: Syntax and Semantics I (syllabus)
- 290A: Relative Clauses (Seminar) (syllabus)
- 120: Introduction to Syntax and Semantics (syllabus)
- 220B: Syntax and Semantics II (syllabus)
- 140: Field Methods
In this class we studied Dafing, a Mande language of Burkina Faso.
- 220A: Syntax and Semantics I
- 290A: Heads (Seminar)
- 222: Linguistic Typology (co-taught with Lev Michael)
- 220A: Syntax and Semantics I
- 120: Introduction to Syntax and Semantics
- 240A/B: Advanced Field Methods
In this class we studied Seereer, an Atlantic language of Senegal. We used a wiki format in this class to aggregate our data and consolidate our findings (click to see).
I am especially interested in working with students who intend to pursue research programs focused on theoretical syntax, morphology, and semantics. I enjoy working with students who are fieldwork-oriented and combine novel description with theoretical analysis, and students who are interested in looking at typological patterns and trends from a theoretical perspective, both historical strengths of the UC Berkeley linguistics department.
Current students (as advisor)
- Christine Sheil, Scottish Gaelic Clefts: Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics
- I-Hsuan Chen, The Diachronic Development and Synchronic Distribution of Mimimizers in Mandarin Chinese
- Jessica Cleary-Kemp, Serial Verb Constructions Revisited: A Case Study from Koro
- Stephanie Farmer, Establishing reference in Máíhĩkì