Research

Dissertation - My dissertation is focused on the the morpho-syntax and semantics of a range of phenomena related to the verb "say" and complementation involving "say" in Uyghur (Turkic: China) and Avatime (Kwa: Ghana). I demonstrate that the morphology leads us to an account that accurately accounts for the empirical facts. I demonstrate that "say"-complementation is actually "say" serialization, which I motivate by carefully describing and analyzing the properties of the verb "say" and serialization/clause-chaining more generally. This discussion thus engages with a range of topics, including: syntactic/semantic properties of "say", coordination/serialization, argument sharing, case/agreement, factivity, quotation, indexical shift, and syntactically-encoded perspective.

Serialization/Clause-chaining - Independent of my dissertation, I am interested in how languages construct events via constructions that involve multiple verbs. I am especially interested in how careful investigation of event structure and cross-clausal relations can shed light on how arguments are shared in these constructions.

Logophoricity/Indexical shift - Over the past few years, I have looked at long-distance reflexive anaphors and logophoricity in Ibibio, Avatime, Turkish, and Uyghur. In pseudo-English, these are constructions like John said himself is tired, where himself is only permitted when the clause is reported from the perspective of the subject (in this case John). I am interested in the relationships between quotation, the verb "say", and how indexicals ("I", "you", "here", "yesterday") and logophors behave when embedded under it. I have also been carrying out research on the relationship between these phenomena and the corresponding prosody/intonation.

Prosody/Intonation - I am interested in prosody/intonation to both investigate how much it reveals about syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, but also because it is often ignored in language description. For Uyghur (with Connor Mayer), we are currently writing a book chapter that introduces our model of the intonational system. For Avatime, Blake Lehman and I are developing the foundation to begin modeling intonation/prosody.

Fieldwork - I have been doing fieldwork since ~2011 and language description and collaboration with language communities is a prominent characteristic of my research. Thus far I have done research on the following languages:

  • Uyghur: a Southeastern Turkic language spoken in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China. I have been doing research on Uyghur since 2011 and have studied it as a second language since (formally for 3 years).
  • Kazan Tatar: a Kipchak Turkic language spoken primarily in Tatarstan, Russia. I have been doing research on Tatar since roughly 2017.
  • Turkish: a Southwestern/Oghuz Turkic language spoken primarily in Turkey. I have primarily done comparative work on Turkish (with Uyghur and Tatar), but have also done a couple projects exclusively focused on the language.
  • Ibibio: a Lower Cross River, Niger-Congo language spoken around Uyo, Nigeria. I began doing fieldwork on Ibibio in 2014.
  • Avatime: a Ghana-Togo Mountain language within the Kwa family spoken primarily in the Volta Region of Ghana near the city of Ho. I began doing Avatime research in the summer of 2018 as part of an NSF funded documentation project.

As part of my fieldwork, I enjoy working with naturalistic data, gathering and annotating texts, and working to assist language communities in whichever ways I can.

Colloquial English "saying": There are a variety of colloquial constructions in English that replicate the "say" clause-chains that I am looking at in my dissertation. I am currently working on an analysis of sentences like "So I says to John I says..." and "I wrote a message to John I said..." which exhibits similar properties to parallel constructions in Avatime and Uyghur.