Syntax-Semantics

Faculty

  • Marlyse Baptista: Morphology/syntax interface in pidgin and creole languages, syntactic theory, cognition, contact linguistics.
  • Samuel Epstein: Syntax (Principles & Parameters, Minimalism), psycholinguistics (first and second language acquisition, parsing), generative linguistics, philosophy of science.
  • Jeff Heath: Morphology, Lexicon, NW & W Africa, Australia.
  • Ezra Keshet: Semantics, syntax-semantics interface, pragmatics and discourse.
  • Hisatsugu Kitahara: (visiting faculty): Syntactic theory, Principles & Parameters, Minimalism, Japanese syntax
  • Acrisio Pires: Syntactic theory, Minimalism, comparative syntax and morphosyntax, language acquisition, bilingualism, syntactic change, syntax-semantics interface.
  • Jonathan Brennan: Neurolinguistics, syntax-semantics interface, syntactic and semantic parsing, incremental semantic representations.

Other Faculty with interest in Syntax and Semantics

University of Michigan

  • Steven Abney: (Linguistics)   Computational Linguistics, Learning, Syntax.
  • Julie Boland: (Psychology and Linguistics) Psycholinguistics, sentence comprehension and parsing, lexical representation, lexical/syntactic interface, syntax-semantics interface, computational models of processing.
  • Kazuko Hiramatsu: (University of Michigan, Flint) Acquisition of syntax, experimental syntax.
  • Natalia Kondrashova: (Center for Russian, E. European and Eurasian Studies) Syntactic Theory, Syntax/Semantics Interface, Slavic Morphosyntax.
  • Rick Lewis: (Psychology, EECS and Linguistics) Computational Modeling, Psycholinguistics, Sentence Processing, Cognitive Architectures, Unified Theories of Cognition.
  • Elaine McNulty: (Linguistics) First language acquisition, syntax, neurolinguistics.
  • Teresa Satterfield: (Romance Languages) Romance Linguistics (Spanish), Syntax, First Language Acquisition, Bilingualism.
  • Jamie Tappenden: (Philosophy) Philosophy of Language, Philosophy and History of Mathematics, Philosophical Logic.
  • Richmond Thomason: Semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of language, computational linguistics.
  • Annemarie Toebosch: (Germanic Languages and Literatures) Syntax, morphology, Principles & Parameters, Germanic linguistics (Dutch, English, German, Plautdietsch)
  • Jindrich Toman: (Slavic Languages and Literatures) Slavic and German Linguistics.

At nearby universities

  • Ljiljana Progovac: (Wayne State University) Syntax and its interfaces with Semantics and Morphology; Slavic Linguistics.
  • T. Daniel Seely: (Eastern Michigan University) Syntax (Principles & Parameters/Minimalism), Psycholinguistics/Language Acquisition, Semantics, Syntax-Semantics interface. R. W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award, Holman Outstanding Faculty, EMU Ambassadors Recognition for Excellence in Teaching.

PhD Students

  • Marcus Berger: syntactic theory, Minimalism and phase theory, morphosyntax, language change.
  • Tomislava Dragisevic: formal syntax, minimalism, Slavic linguistics
  • Marjorie Herbert: formal syntax, minimalism, fieldwork on understudied languages.
  • Sujeewa Hettiarachchi: syntactic theory, Minimalism, psycholinguistics (first and second language acquisition) (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship)
  • Alan Ke: syntax and semantics processing, Minimalism, language acquisition, Chinese syntax and semantics.
  • Will Nediger: formal syntax, semantics and syntax-semantics interface, with focus on English and Romance languages (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship).
  • Jae-Young Shim: syntactic theory and Minimalism (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship).
  • Batia Snir: semantics, computational linguistics and morphosyntax
  • Alicia Stevers: syntax, semantics, neurolinguistics, ASL, Spanish and Scandinavian languages.

PhDs (since 2000)

  • Tim Chou: (Tenure-track, Taipei Medical University) PhD Dissertation - Phi-Agree, A-movement, and Complementizer-Tense Relations in Chinese (2013) Committee: Acrisio Pires (co-chair), Samuel David Epstein (co-chair), Ezra Keshet, Richard Lewis, T. Daniel Seely. (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship and a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship).
  • David Jenkins Medeiros: (Lecturer, University of New Hampshire) PhD Dissertation - Formal Approaches to the Syntax and Semantics of Imperatives.(2013) Committee: Samuel D. Epstein (co-chair), Acrisio Pires (co-chair), Ezra Keshet, Rick Lewis (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship, a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship and an ACLS dissertation fellowship.)
  • Joseph Tyler (Post-doctoral fellow, Morehead State University) PhD Dissertation - Discourse Prosody in Production and Perception (2012) Committee: Ezra Keshet (chair), Julie Boland, Robin Queen, Hannah Rohde. (Awarded a Humanities Candidacy Fellowship and a Dissertation Fellowship).
  • Konstantia (Dina) Kapetangianni: (Adjunct Faculty, University of North Texas) Ph.D. Dissertation - The Minimalist syntax of control in Greek (2010). Committee: Samuel Epstein (co-chair) and Acrisio Pires (co-chair), Kazuko Hiratmatsu, T. Daniel Seely, Marilyn Shatz. (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship, a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship, and a Tsangadas Fellowship for research on post-Classical Greece.)
  • Miki Obata: (Associate Professor, Mie University, Japan) Ph.D. Dissertation - Root, Successive-Cyclic and Feature Splitting Internal Merge: Implications for Feature-Inheritance and Transfer (2010). Committee: Noam Chomsky (co-chair), Samuel Epstein (co-chair), Hisatsugu Kitahara, Rick Lewis, Acrisio Pires, T. Daniel Seely. (Awarded a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship.)
  • Christopher Becker: (Lecturer, Eastern Michigan University) PhD Dissertation - Clausal and Nominal Agreement in Russian: A Unified Approach (2008). Committee: Acrisio Pires (Chair), Samuel Epstein, Natalia Kondrashova, Ljiljana Progovac, Jindrich Toman. (Awarded a UofM Outstanding Graduate Instructor (GSI) Award, Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship, and a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship - Czech).
  • Gerardo Fernandez-Salgueiro (Tenure-track, National Taiwan Normal University) PhD Dissertation - Aspects of the syntax of (TP-)coordination, across-the-board extraction, and parasitic gaps (2008). Committee: Samuel Epstein (Co-chair), Acrisio Pires (Co-chair), Richard Lewis, T. Daniel Seely and Hisatsugu Kitahara. (Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship).
  • Catherine Fortin: (Associate Professor, Carleton College) PhD Dissertation - Indonesian sluicing and verb phrase ellipsis: Description and explanation in a minimalist framework (2007). Committee: Samuel Epstein (Chair), Richard Lewis, Julie Boland, Acrisio Pires, Jason Merchant (Awarded a Rackham Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award, a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship, UofM Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award, and a Foreign Language Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for two years).
  • Hamid Ouali: (Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) PhD Dissertation - Unifying Agreement Relations: A Minimalist Analysis of Berber (2006) Committee: Samuel Epstein (co-chair), Acrisio Pires (co-chair), Richard Lewis, Jamal Ouhalla (University College Dublin), T. Daniel Seely(Awarded a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship and a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship).
  • Andrea Stiasny: (Lecturer, Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan) PhD Dissertation - The Acquisition of Clitics in Croatian and Spanish and its Implications for Syntactic Theory (2006) Committee: Acrisio Pires (chair), Samuel Epstein, Lijljana Progovac, Marilyn Shatz, Jindrich Toman.(Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship and a Dissertation Fellowship).
  • Hee-Soo Kim: PhD Dissertation - Causatives, Passives and their ambiguities in Korean, Japanese and English (2005) Committee: Acrisio Pires (co-chair), Marilyn Shatz (co-chair), Julie Boland, Peter Ludlow.(Awarded a Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship and a Dissertation Fellowship).
  • Mark Arehart: (MITRE Corporation - Human Language Technology) PhD Dissertation - Noun compound semantics: linguistic and general-purpose reasoning (2003) Committee: Richmond Thomason (chair), Steven Abney, Acrisio Pires, Dragomir Radev.(Awarded a Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship).
  • Annemarie Toebosch: (Director of Dutch Studies, Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan) PhD Dissertation - Gender-animacy and the morpho-syntax of object clitics in Dutch (2003) Committee: Samuel Epstein (co-chair), Christina Tortora (co-chair), William Baxter, Marilyn Shatz.
  • Rose Letsholo: (Senior Lecturer, University of Botswana) PhD Dissertation - Syntactic Domains in Ikalanga (2002) Committee: Samuel Epstein (chair), Mark Hale, Peter Hallman, Rick Lewis, Acrisio Pires, Teresa Satterfield.
  • Ivelisse Martinez-Beck: (Team Leader for Child Care Research, US Department of Health and Human Services) PhD Dissertation - The effects of language on children's understanding of agency and causation (2000) Committee: Marilyn Shatz (chair), Susan A. Gelman,Lawrence Hirschfeld, Christina Tortora.

Honors Graduates (since 2000)

  • Natasha Abner (PhD, UCLA Linguistics) Honors Thesis - Resultatives gone minimal (2005) Committee: Acrisio Pires (chair), Samuel Epstein. Highest Honors, U. of Michigan Honors V. Voss Award for Excellence in Academic Writing, Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.
  • Rachel Bayer 2013 (Fulbright Fellow, Austria) Honors Thesis - Null Subjects in Creole Languages (2013). Committee: Marlyse Baptista (Chair), Acrisio Pires. Highest Honors, Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis.
  • Jaclyn Cohen: Honors Thesis - An Analysis of Classification: A Look at the Semantic Function of Mandarin Classifiers (2011) Committee: Ezra Keshet (Chair), William Baxter.
  • Emily Coppess (University of Chicago, Linguistics) Honors thesis - Syntactic Change in Old English: The Resetting of the Null Subject Parameter in Old and Middle English (2011) Committee: Acrisio Pires (Chair), Samuel Epstein. Highest Honors, M.Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics
  • Edward Cormany (PhD, Cornell University, Linguistics) Honors Thesis - Syntactic Models for Coordination in English and Latin (2007). Committee: Acrisio Pires (Chair), Samuel Epstein. Highest Honors.
  • Charles Crissman (University of Berkeley) &Honors Thesis - Incorporating Reference Time into a Binding Approach to Sequence of Tense (2006) Committee: Acrisio Pires (chair), Samuel Epstein. Highest Honors, Churchill Scholarship/Cambridge University, University of Michigan Honors Sydney Fine Teaching Award, Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior Award
  • Avram Derrow: Honors Thesis - The Empirical Content of Differentiating Redundancy. (2001) Committee: Samuel Epstein (chair) Highest Honors. University of Maryland Best Undergraduate Linguistics Essay.
  • Nayana Dhavan (MS Graduate, Harvard University) Honors Thesis - A non-absolutive and unified movement analysis of Hindi passives and ergatives (2006) Committee: Acrisio Pires (chair), Samuel Epstein. Highest Honors, U. of Michigan Honors V. Voss Award for Excellence in Academic Writing, Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis.
  • Justin Fitzpatrick (PhD, MIT, Linguistics) Honors Thesis - Movement Locality in a Derivational Theory (2001) Committee: Samuel Epstein (chair). Revised version published in Linguistic Inquiry. Highest Honors. M. Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Lauren Friedman (University of Pennsylvania, Linguistics) The Loss of Old English Null Expletive "it" (2008). Committee: Acrisio Pires (Chair), Marlyse Baptista. Highest Honors, U. of Michigan Honors V. Voss Award for Excellence in Academic Writing, Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis.
  • Jon Gajewski (PhD, MIT, Linguistics) Honors Thesis - The Syntax and Semantics of Complete-list Questions in a Non-Standard Variety of English and Non-Cyclic Adjunction. (2000) Committee: Samuel Epstein (co-chair), Christina Tortora (co-chair). Part of thesis published in Linguistic Inquiry. Linguistics Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Award. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Kate Golski: Honors Thesis - The Phono-Syntactic Interfaces (2002) Committee: Samuel Epstein (Chair) Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics.
  • Shang Kong. (J.D., University of Michigan, Law School) Honors Thesis - A Minimalist Analysis of Chinese Wh-questions (2011). Committee: Acrisio Pires (Chair), Samuel Epstein. Linguistics (Highest Honors). Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics.
  • Dave Kush (PhD, University of Maryland, Linguistics) Honors Thesis - Interest: Applying a serialization phrase structure to Hindi verbal compounds. (2007). Committee: Samuel Epstein (Chair), Acrisio Pires. Highest Honors.
  • Jessica Rett (PhD, Rutgers University, Linguistics) Honors Thesis - Japanese Numeral Classifiers: The Effect of Linguistic Configurations on Category Membership. (2001) Committee: Marilyn Shatz (Chair), Samuel Epstein. High Honors. Honorable Mention: NSF Graduate Fellowship Program. Linguistics Annual Leadership and Academics Prize.
  • Keli Rulf: Honors Thesis - The Syntax, Semantics, and Early Acquisition of One (2004) Committee: Samuel Epstein (chair), Acrisio Pires. Linguistics Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Award.
  • Justin Wedes. Bare Necessities? A Quantitative Study of Bare Noun Frequency in Cape Verdean Creole (2008). Committee: Marlyse Baptista (Chair), Acrisio Pires.
  • Gabriel Williams: Honors Thesis - Verb Movement in French and English (2001) Committee: Samuel Epstein (Chair) Highest Honors.

Syntax Discussion Group

The syntax-semantics group provides a forum within which Linguistics students and faculty at UM, and from neighboring universities (thus far including EMU, MSU, Oakland University, Wayne State and UM-Flint) can informally present or just discuss and share their ongoing research in these domains. The group is frequently used by students to practice conference presentations and receive constructive feedback from "familiar faces".

See the discussion groups page for the current schedule. Or contact Acrisio Pires (pires@umich.edu) for more information.