I am a postdoctoral researcher at Göteborgs universitet in Gothenburg, Sweden, working with Elizabeth Coppock on ‘Most and more: Quantity superlatives across languages.’ This project takes into account new data from a rich sample of languages and develops new elicitation tools (including storyboards and short visual contexts) designed to gather data about quality and quantity superlatives.
Much of my research asks what understudied and underrepresented languages – especially Navajo (Diné Bizaad) – can tell us about crosslinguistic semantic variation, especially with respect to the semantics of modals and temporal expressions (in particular future marking), attitude reports, adjectival meaning, and comparative constructions. I am also a regular participant — and occasional teacher! — at the Navajo Language Academy (Diné Bizaad Naalkaah), an annual three-week program in linguistic theory held on the Navajo Nation. This past year, I taught a course with Ted Fernald on the semantics of time-related expressions in Navajo, including situation and viewpoint aspect.
Recent and upcoming:
- Elizabeth Coppock and I will be presenting a poster at SALT 28 at MIT in May (‘Forces at the interface of gradability and quantification’). The poster will present the results of our ongoing work on a proposed semantic universal in the domain of quantity superlatives.
- Editing is well underway for the Proceedings of TripleA 4: Fieldwork Perspectives on the Semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian Languages, which we hosted last year at the University of Gothenburg.
- My paper ‘The semantics of the future in Navajo‘ has been submitted to the Festschrift for Margaret Speas. I present new evidence about the meaning of future-marked verbs in Navajo, showing that while future-marking always makes a temporal contribution, differences in the modal flavor of the future marker lead to interpretations either as predictions or expressions of desire or other goals.
- ‘Navajo in the typology of internally-headed relatives‘ (with Keir Moulton) will appear soon in the proceedings of SALT 27. We present new evidence from fieldwork about the scope of quantifiers in Navajo internally-headed relative clauses and argue that — for at least certain quantifiers — quantifiers interpreted clause internally take clause internal scope (contra Grosu 2012). We designed short storyboards to elicit the relevant judgments, which are presented in the paper.
- ‘Sentential and possibly subsentential modification: the ambiguity of Collins conjunctions‘ (with Andrew Weir) has just been published in the proceedings of NELS 47. In this paper, we argue that sentences like This stew contains beef and possibly sausage permit two readings. Under one reading, possibly takes scope above conjunction; this reading results from a conjunction reduction parse (This stew contains beef and possibly this stew contains sausage). Under the second reading, possibly takes scope below conjunction; this reading results from a reduced Transparent Free Relative structure, which I discuss in previous work.