Contact:University of Cambridge Jesus College CB5 8BL UK mm821 @ cam.ac.uk
Recent updates:Giving a talk on 'Boolean atoms and the natural incarnations of XOR' at Syntax Cluster, Cambridge, January 8th. Handout/slides to follow. [↓abstract]
I’m currently completing my doctorate in Linguistics at the University of Cambridge. Here is my CV. I’m interested in the historical development and modern behaviour of words like and, or, all, some and any—the very ‘logical’ pieces of language.
My doctoral work, supervised by Ian Roberts, is in the area of generative linguistic theory, as galvanised by Noam Chomsky over fifty years ago. More specifically, my research is located at the intersection of theoretical syntax and semantics and historical, mostly Indo-European, linguistics. The backbone of my doctoral work is a meta-question concerning the natural incarnation of logical connectives and their syntactic/semantic micro-composition in light of the recent work on the linguistic systems of drawing scalar inferences. Synchronically, I am interested in why languages consistently express quantification and coordination (and some other meanings) using morphosyntactically uniform strategies. Diachronically, I’m trying to find out how (Proto) Indo-European developed and lost these strategies. More recently, I’ve also been looking at Old Japanese, as an AHRC fellow at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL) in Tokyo, working with John Whitman, to see whether there exist any general principles or natural patterns of syntactic/semantic change in construction and interpretation of quantificational expressions. I suppose, more generally, I am interested in what the atoms of logic in natural language look like.
Photo above by a good friend, Leonardo Farina © 2012