Recursion arises when a definition or function can reapply to its own output. The concept seems central to human languages. This project explores conceptual distinctions in recursion that have been used in the construction of artifical languages and asks whether they can be useful in explaining properties of natural languages. This is a book project which includes some earlier work on variation in raising, raising in Celtic and Polynesian, and reduced questions in English. It is currently in draft form.
Tough movement structures have had an important role in motivating theoretical changes in syntactic theory. In this paper I offer an analysis of the varying prepositional complements that co-occur with tough movement adjectives and suggest that the differences in their syntactic behavior can be understood as a consequence of how quickly syntactic representations are encapsulated and sent for phonological interpretation (phase theory). tough movement & phases
The interaction of tough movement structures with negation is complex and difficult to understand at first glance. In this paper I offer a possible solution to that puzzle. tough movement & negation
This project aims to show that Samoan, a Polynesian language, lacks determiner expressions of quantify corresponding to English "every, most, many". Instead, the language deploys a range of adverbial expressions for this purpose and, interestingly, verbs. A consequence of this syntactic "choice" is that quantification in the language is symmetrical, in contrast to languages like English that have both symmetrical and proportional quantifiers. One of the features of this conclusion that I explore is whether there is any consideration of cognitive economy that is implicated in this aspect of linguistic variation.
This project is just in its beginning stages. It focuses on changing trends in naming practices and what implications they have for social theory. I am interested in whether social activities in this domain always have social meaning and whether there are conceptual problems in modeling practices that might recur in other social domains such as economics.
Metaphors and negation are both subjects of considerable importance and the source of confusion. This speculative project tries to use their interaction to throw some light on the nature of these subjects typically treated in isolation.
My current work centers on how syntax interacts with semantic interpretation and ultimately other cognitive resources like memory. I am interested in whether major differences between languages are deep ones in mental make up or illusions. I would like to expand the scope of my work to include soical illusions of various sorts.
Von Ehre ohne Ruhm,
Von Grösse ohne Glanz
Von Würde ohne Sold
--W. Benjamin, Deutsche Menschen
(Of Honor without Fame, Of Greatness without Splendor, Of Dignity without Pay. Translation by Hanah Arendt, Men in Dark Times. )