Syntax and Morphology

The core goal of research by the syntax and morphology group at UCSC is a precise theory of the structure of sentences and words. We focus on core questions in syntactic and morphological theory and their interaction with other aspects of language ability: semantics, prosody, and real-time production and comprehension. Data diversity and linguistic diversity are important guideposts in this endeavor. We seek insights from a variety of sources: from one-on-one fieldwork with consultants to corpus research to experimental studies of syntax and language processing. We place particular emphasis on analytic depth and on the investigation of understudied (often endangered) languages. Current research features investigation into Austronesian, Gaelic, Iranian, Mayan, Mongolian, Semitic, Turkic, Uto-Aztecan, and Zapotec (Oto-Manguean) languages.



Recent Alumni (see allsee recent)

  • Andrew Hedding (PhD, 2022)
    How to move a focus: The syntax of alternative particles
  • Jake Vincent (PhD, 2021)
    Extraction from Relative Clauses: An Experimental Investigation of Variable Island Effects in English
  • Steven Foley (PhD, 2020)
    Case, agreement, and sentence processing in Georgian
  • Jed Pizarro-Guevara (PhD, 2020)
    When Human Universal Meets Language Specific 
  • Erik Zyman (PhD, 2018)
    On the Driving Force for Syntactic Movement
  • Jason Ostrove (PhD, 2018)
    When p-Agreement Targets Topics: The View from San Martín Peras Mixtec
  • Bern Samko (PhD, 2016)
    Syntax & Information Structure: The Grammar of English Inversions
  • Judith Fiedler (PhD, 2014)
    Germanic It-Clefts: Structural Variation and Semantic Uniformity
  • Boris Harizanov (PhD, 2014)
    On the Mapping from Syntax to Morphophonology
  • Mark Norris (PhD, 2014)
    A Theory of Nominal Concord
  • Anie Thompson (PhD, 2014)
    Beyond Deep and Surface: Explorations in the Typology of Anaphora
  • Ascander Dost (PhD, 2007)
    Linearization, Square Pegs, and Round Holes
  • Florence Woo (PhD, 2007)
    Prepositional Predicates in Nuu-chah-nulth
  • Emily Manetta (PhD, 2006)
    Peripheries in Kashmiri and Hindi-Urdu
  • Anne Sturgeon (PhD, 2006)
    The Syntax and Pragmatics of Contrastive Topic in Czech
  • Vera Lee-Schoenfeld (PhD, 2005)
    Beyond Coherence: The Syntax of Opacity in German
  • Line Mikkelsen (PhD, 2004)
    Specifying Who: On the Structure, Meaning, and Use of Specificational Copular Clauses
  • Rodrigo Gutierrez Bravo (PhD, 2002)
    Structural Markedness and Syntactic Structure: A Study of Word Order and the Left Periphery in Mexican Spanish
  • Jason Merchant (PhD, 1999)
    The Syntax of Silence: Sluicing, Islands, and Identity in Ellipsis
  • Eric Potsdam (PhD, 1996)
    Syntactic Issues in the English Imperative
  • Brian O'Herin (PhD, 1995)
    Case and Agreement in Abaza
  • Cheryl Black (PhD, 1994)
    Quiegolani Zapotec Syntax
  • Robin Schafer (PhD, 1994)
    Nonfinite Predicate Initial Constructions in Breton
  • Peter Svenonius (PhD, 1994)
    Dependent Nexus: Small Clauses in English and the Scandinavian Languages
  • Cathal Doherty (PhD, 1993)
    Clauses Without 'That': The Case for Bare Sentential Complementation in English
  • John Moore (PhD, 1991)
    Reduced Constructions in Spanish

Labs and Research Groups