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, Germanic, Iranian, Mayan, Numic (Uto-Aztecan), Turkic, Slavic, Semitic and Zapotec languages.




Recent Alumni (see allsee recent)

  • Steven Foley (PhD) 2020, 
  • Jed Pizarro-Guevara (PhD) 2020, 
  • 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 (Powerset) 2007, Linearization, Square Pegs, and Round Holes
  • Florence Woo 2007, Prepositional Predicates in Nuu-chah-nulth
  • Emily Manetta (University of Vermont) 2006, Peripheries in Kashmiri and Hindi-Urdu
  • Anne Sturgeon 2006, The Syntax and Pragmatics of Contrastive Topic in Czech
  • Vera Lee-Schoenfeld (University of Georgia) 2005, Beyond Coherence: The Syntax of Opacity in German
  • Line Mikkelsen (UC Berkeley) 2004, Specifying Who: On the Structure, Meaning, and Use of Specificational Copular Clauses
  • Rodrigo Gutierrez Bravo (CIESAS) 2002, Structural Markedness and Syntactic Structure: A Study of Word Order and the Left Periphery in Mexican Spanish
  • Jason Merchant (University of Chicago) 1999, The Syntax of Silence: Sluicing, Islands, and Identity in Ellipsis
  • Eric Potsdam (University of Florida) 1996, Syntactic Issues in the English Imperative
  • Brian O'Herin (SIL) 1995, Case and Agreement in Abaza
  • Cheryl Black (SIL) 1994, Quiegolani Zapotec Syntax
  • Robin Schafer (MRI Lab, Yale University School of Medicine) 1994, Nonfinite Predicate Initial Constructions in Breton
  • Peter Svenonius (CASTL, University of Tromsø) 1994, Dependent Nexus: Small Clauses in English and the Scandinavian Languages
  • Cathal Doherty (University College Dublin) 1993, Clauses Without 'That': The Case for Bare Sentential Complementation in English
  • John Moore (UC San Diego) 1991, Reduced Constructions in Spanish

Research Visitors


Labs and Research Groups

Artifacts from our Work

  • Extraposition of additive particles in Danish direct partitive constructions. From Jorge Hankamer & Line Mikkelsen (2008). Definiteness marking and the structure of Danish pseudopartitives. Journal of Linguistics 44:2, 317--346
  • Representing Language: Essays in honor of Judith Aissen. Eds. Rodrigo Gutierrez Bravo, Line Mikkelsen, and Eric Potsdam.
  • Effects of adverb type on adverb placement in English VPs. (From M. Wagers)
  • From J. McCloskey (in prep), Polarity, Ellipsis, and Case Licensing in a VSO Language
  • Chamorro Dictionary Project; (l to r): Sandra Chung, Dr. Elizabeth D. Rechebei, Noel B. Quitugua, Carmen S. Taimanao
  • Linguistic diversity in Language Experiments and Corpora. From Anand, P., Chung, S., & Wagers, M. Widening the net: challenges for gathering linguistic data in the digital age. NSF SBE 2020: Future Research in the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.
  • Simultaneous effects of locality and anti-locality in language comprehension. From M. Wagers, Anti-local contexts increase the overall speed of dependency completion, CUNY2010.
  • Sandra Chung & William A. Ladusaw (2004). Restriction and Saturation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.