Syntax at UCSC

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 allrecent)

  • Bern Samko
  • Judith Fiedler (August Martin High School, NYC) 2014, Germanic It-Clefts: Structural Variation and Semantic Uniformity
  • Boris Harizanov (Stanford University) 2014, On the Mapping from Syntax to Morphophonology
  • Mark Norris (University of Oklahoma) 2014, A Theory of Nominal Concord
  • Anie Thompson (Google) 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

Current visitors

Find a list of past visitors on the LRC website.

Groups and events

Research Groups

Recent Events

  • FAJL 5 (2010)
  • Polarity Particles Workshop (2010)
  • Expletives Workshop (2010)
  • AFLA 16 (2009)
  • Alumni Conference (2008)
  • Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop (2006)

Recent Seminars

  • Syntax of Argument Structure (McCloskey), Winter 2011
  • Islands (McCloskey and Wagers), Winter 2010
  • Morphology (Hankamer), Fall 2009
  • Psycholinguistics and Linguistic Theory (Wagers), Fall 2009
  • Topics in the Syntax of the Mayan Languages (Aissen), Spring 2009
  • Ellipsis (Hankamer and McCloskey), Spring 2008
  • Head Movement in the Minimalist Program (McCloskey), Winter 2007

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.