Lauren McGarry

lemcgarr [at] ucsc [dot] edu

Office Hours: Tuesday 10:00am - 11:00am, Stev 265

Current Research

  • Context structure
  • Russian anaphora
  • Nominal syntax

I’m a second year graduate student in Linguistics at UC Santa Cruz.

Broadly, I am interested in syntax and semantics, and the majority of my work involves Russian and/or English. My current QP builds on recent approaches to context structure, focusing on the presuppositions of response particles like ‘indeed’ and ‘correct.’

I have been conducting elicitation on Santiago Laxopa Zapotec both to contribute to Santa Cruz’s SLZ dictionary and database, and to investigate some surprising facts regarding the syntax and semantics of possession in this language. I am a co-organizer of the Workshop on the Languages of Meso-America (WLMA).

Outside of linguistics, I enjoy listening to Tchaikovsky while working on my cake-decorating.


  • Coming soon: A draft of my first qualifying paper, advised by Donka Farkas. This paper discusses the presuppositions of response particles such as indeed and correct in terms of relative epistemic authority.


  • McGarry, L. 2016. East Slavic paucal constructions: A cross-Slavic assessment of Pesetsky 2013. Linguistics Society of America 2016 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
  • In Russian paucal constructions, the noun is singular while the adjective is plural, and the noun and adjective have genitive morphology while the numeral is nominative. Pesetsky (2013) presents a novel account of this heterogeneity as evidence in favor of a new theory of case. I assess this theory by applying Pesetsky’s account of Russian to Belarusian and Ukrainian paucal constructions, which have similarly heterogeneous morphology. I find that the mismatch arises from paucal grammatical number, and that case theory has no bearing; Pesetsky’s theory can capture all of the data, but this does not adequately support his theory.

  • McGarry, L. 2016. Possession and questions in Santiago Laxopa Zapotec. Workshop on the Languages of Meso-America, University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • This handout provides an overview of possession in SLZ as well as the puzzling facts discovered in the course of my fieldwork. This project is on-going.

    SLZ shows an alienable/inalienable distinction in how possession is marked, much as we would expect from an Oto-manguean language. However, the word order of 'whose' questions and behavior of prepositions suggests a different categorization: Kinship terms do not allow inversion (e.g., xna nude' mother whose, but *nude' xna *whose mother), while all other nouns permit it (e.g., xben nude' finger whose, or nude' xben whose finger). This suggests that there is a syntactic cut that does not line up with the superficial inalienable/alienable cut.

Department of Linguistics

University of California Santa Cruz