In Rovinj, Croatia, August 2015.

The processing of quotation

I am currently engaged in research on the processing of direct discourse quotation, in collaboration with Amanda Rysling, Pranav Anand, and Adrian Brasoveanu.

One arm of this project seeks to understand the degree to which passages of direct discourse are isolated from their broader sentential context during parsing and interpretation.

The semantics and pragmatics of taste and perspective

I have an ongoing interest in linguistic representation and sensitivity to shifts in perspective, broadly speaking.

Recently, I've been examining the interpretation of predicates of personal taste (tasty, fun), in narrative and in conversation. Some of this work suggests that a subset of judgement shift phenomena known as interrogative flip might be tied more generally to patterns of commitment in discourse.

I have also studied perspective-dependence through the interpretation of epithets (that jerk). Examining in particular the influence of attitude predicates (say, think) in preceding sentences, I find evidence that the relationship between salient perspectives in preceding discourse and the interpretation of an epithet is pragmatically, rather than structurally, dictated.

Verbal meaning in Santiago Laxopa Zapotec

I am also currently engaged in research on meaning within the verbal complex in Santiago Laxopa Zapotec (SLZ). In particular, this work is focusing on the interacting contributions of associated motion and aspect in the language, which offer a unique opportunity to understand verbal composition.

SLZ is a variety of Zapotec spoken in the southeastern Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico and in diaspora communities in California. I work with speakers in the Monterey Bay area. You can read more about the Zapotec people of the Sierra Norte on the Atlas de los Pueblos Indígenas de México.

Other topics in sentence processing

I collaborate on a variety of other projects in human sentence processing.

I'm part of a multi-institution group investigating the reliability and interpretability of self-paced reading data in sentence processing experiments, as compared to methods like eyetracking-while-reading and the Maze task.

During my time at UMass Amherst, I also began collaborating on projects studying negation and verb phrase ellipsis. These projects share the goals of examining empirically testable predictions from theoretical hypotheses in the domains of linguistics and psycholinguistics.

Udi and Caucasian Albanian

In collaboration with Alice Harris, I have begun work with the Nakh-Dagestanian language Udi, spoken in Nij and Oghuz, Azerbaijan and Zinobiani, Georgia, as well as its medieval predecessor, Caucasian Albanian (also known as Aghwan or Old Udi). You can learn more about the Udi people and their history on Wikipedia.

With Alice Harris, I conducted an investigation into the location of person-marking clitics in Caucasian Albanian texts, concluding that the complex rules for determining the clitics' position in Udi (Harris 2002) were present in a looser form in the older language, barring the most typologically unusual form in Udi, the endoclitic within the verb root.

In the spring of 2018, I traveled to Nij to facilitate the development of an experiment into the processing of various clitic positions in Udi, and was fortunate to enjoy the hospitality and generosity of the Udi people. I plan to return for future research.