About

As a theoretical linguist, I’m in the business of Platonistically uncovering the intricacies of the grammatical mechanisms, and general architecture, which are common to all languages. My research focuses on how humans build linguistic structure and how they interpret and communicate with such structures. I seek to answer these questions by translating natural language into formal language in the hope that these translations alone yield some explanation.

Photo by Leonardo Farina (c) 2012

Photo by Leonardo Farina (c) 2012

I received my doctorate from the University of Cambridge and have held research fellowships at Harvard, NINJAL in Tokyo (pre-doctorally), Graz, and Cyprus (post-doctorally).  I’m currently Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at ZAS in Berlin. My previous doctoral and current post-doctoral work 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 linguistics. The backbone of my doctoral work was a question concerning the natural incarnation of logical connectives and their syntactic/semantic micro-composition. 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. I also looked at Old Japanese 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.