Research

Below, my research projects are listed in vague order of recent, active interest. Click on a title to expand or collapse the corresponding (sub)section. See my curriculum vitae for publications by type and in chronological order.

A'ingae (or Cofán, ISO 639-3: con) is an Amazonian isolate spoken by ca. 1,500 Cofán people in the province of Sucumbíos (northeast Ecuador) and the department of Putumayo (southern Colombia). In addition to documenting and describing the language, I have explored a number of theoretical topics, including the morphophonology of stress and glottalization, recent sound changes, negative agreement on nominalizing heads, apprehensional semantics, second-position clitics, pied-piping, conditional constructions, and other.

1.1.1    descriptive sketch

I present the first comprehensive overview of the A'ingae phonology, including descriptions of the language's phonemic inventory, phonotactics, prominent phonological rules, nasality and nasal spreading, stress, glottalization, their morphophonology, and aspects of clause-level prosody.

The phonology of A'ingae.Language and Linguistics Compass 18(3), e12512. 2024. article

1.1.2    morphophonology of stress and glottalization

I describe and analyze A'ingae's verbal morphophonology of stress and glottalization. I argue that morpheme-specific stress deletion cannot be captured representationally. I demonstrate that the tier of the A'ingae glottal stop differs between two morphological domains and interacts with stress deletion, bearing out a new prediction of Cophonologies by Phase (Sande, Jenks, and Inkelas, 2020). I show that the patterns of stress and glottalization in subordinate clauses are sensitive to the morphological structure of the subordinate verb, violating bracket erasure (Kiparsky, 1982). I account for the bracket erasure violations by indexing phase faithfulness (McPherson and Heath, 2016) to the category of the input phase.

Phasal strength in A'ingae classifying subordination.  In: Proceedings of the 2023 Annual Meeting on Phonology. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. To appear. proceedings

Two grammars of A'ingae glottalization: A case for Cophonologies by Phase.Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 42(2), pp. 437–491. 2023. article   ❧   Invited talk presented at the Atelier de phonologie research seminar Paris 8 University Vincennes-Saint-Denis. 2022. slides   ❧   Talk presented at the QP Fest, University of California, Berkeley. 2023. slides

Dominance is non-representational: Evidence from A'ingae verbal stress.Phonology 38(4), pp. 611–650. 2021. article

1.1.3    metrically-optimizing reduplication

I describe and analyze the A'ingae superplural reduplicative suffix -ʔσ, which requires that the base and the reduplicant form (ˈσ1̆σ2ʔ)σ2. I model this behavior with a reduplicant-specific cophonology (e.g. Orgun, 1996), which consists of a ranking of constraints motivated elsewhere in the language's grammar (Dąbkowski, 2023), and I demonstrate that A'ingae reduplication is phonologically optimizing.

A'ingae reduplication is phonologically optimizing.  In: Supplemental Proceedings of the 2022 Annual Meeting on Phonology. Ed. by Noah Elkins, Bruce Hayes, Jinyoung Jo, and Jian-Leat Siah. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. 2023. proceedings poster

1.1.4    diphthongs and their changes

I document a typologically unusual process of postlabial raising in A'ingae. I present a model which derives the postlabial raising through an interaction of constraint weights and the number of Q-Theoretic (Inkelas and Shih, 2016, 2017) subsegments, contributing a novel argument for the representations of Q-Theory. I argue that the contemporary variation in the distribution of ai and ɨi is a consequence of sound change, followed by recent replacement and partial paradigmatic leveling.

A Q-Theoretic solution to A'ingae postlabial raising.Linguistic Inquiry. Under revision. manuscript   ❧   Poster presented at the 29th Manchester Phonology Meeting, University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester. 2022. poster

Postlabial raising and paradigmatic leveling in A'ingae: A diachronic study from the field.  In: Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8(1). 5428. Ed. by Patrick Farrell. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. 2023. proceedings poster

I identify the "nominal negative" suffix -a nn, which obligatorily attaches to noun phrase-internal functional heads that nominalize negated predicates. I propose that -a nn expones agreement with the Neg(ative) feature on T. Therefore, I document the first case of agreement with polarity on nominalizers to date.

Polarity agreement in A'ingae nominalizations.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, Denver, CO. 2023. handout

In a collaborative project with Scott AnderBois, we describe and analyze different uses of the A'ingae apprehensional morpheme =sa'ne appr. We put forth a formal account of rationale and precautioning clauses, which captures language-internal asymmetries and typological trends within this semantic domain. We propose a typological framework for describing and comparing apprehensional synchrony and diachrony.

The semantics and expression of apprehensional modality,  as second author, with Scott AnderBois. Language and Linguistics Compass. Accepted with revisions. manuscript

Rationale and precautioning clauses: Insights from A'ingae,  as first author, with Scott AnderBois. Journal of Semantics, ffac012. 2024. article

A'ingae =sa'ne 'appr' and the semantic typology of apprehensional adjuncts,  as equal author, with Scott AnderBois. In: Proceedings of the 30th Semantics and Linguistic Theory Conference, pp. 43–62. Ed. by Joseph Rhyne, Kaelyn Lamp, Nicole Dreier, and Chloe Kwon. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. 2020. proceedings

The apprehensional domain in A'ingae (Cofán),  as first author, with Scott AnderBois. In: Apprehensional constructions in a cross-linguistic perspective. Ed. by Marine Vuillermet, Martina Faller, and Eva Schultze Berndt. Studies in Diversity Linguistics. Language Science Press. To appear. chapter

I argue that A'ingae second-position clitics are matrix clausal C-heads. Thus, I show that—despite its apparent non-configurationality—A'ingae has a structured left periphery. I describe A'ingae pied-piping structures and provide a Q-based (Cable, 2010) analysis thereof.

A'ingae pied-piping: A Q-based analysis.  Paper presented at the 4th Symposium on Amazonian Languages, University of California, Berkeley. 2022. handout

A'ingae second-position clitics are matrix C-heads.  In: Proceedings of the 25th Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Working Papers in Linguistics. To appear. proceedings

I have documented A'ingae in the indigenous communities of Dureno and Sinangoé (Sucumbíos, Ecuador) and remotely. I have deposited over 14h of oral narrative video recordings (of which 2h30min transcribed and translated) and elicitation data, including fieldnotes and over 70h of audio recordings. I have played a key role in developing a FLEx database of morphologically analyzed A'ingae texts.

A'ingae (Ecuador and Colombia) – Language snapshot.Language Documentation and Description 20, pp. 1–12. 2021. article

A'ingae field materials. 2020-19. California Language Archive, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. University of California, Berkeley. collection

A'ingae language documentation,  as equal author, with Justin Bai, Kalinda Pride, and Nicholas Tomlin. Poster presented at Summer Research Symposium, Brown University, Providence, RI. 2017. poster

I conducted other A'ingae-related research, including projects on conditional constructions and nominal classifiers.

Conditional constructions in A'ingae.  Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2021. manuscript

Cofán comes in all shapes and sizes.  Manuscript. Providence, RI: Brown University. 2017. manuscript

In a series of collaborative projects with Gašper Beguš, we investigate unusual phonological and syntactic patterns from a diachronic perspective. We show that phonetically unmotivated intervocalic devoicing, word-final voicing, and word-final nasalization in several Austronesian languages and Dakota (Siouan, ISO 639-3: dak) arose from sequences of natural sound changes. We propose that the Austronesian (ISO 639-5: map) voice system has resulted from a reanalysis of prepositions as postverbs.

Complex diachronies of final nasalization in Austronesian and Dakota,  as first author, with Gašper Beguš. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 9(1). 2024. article

The blurring history of intervocalic devoicing,  as second author, with Gašper Beguš. Journal of Linguistics. To appear. manuscript_PsyArXiv manuscript_lingbuzz

The origins of the Austronesian voice system and subject-only restriction,  as second author, with Gašper Beguš and Emily Drummond. Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2023. manuscript_PsyArXiv manuscript_lingbuzz

In a collaborative project with Alyssa Loo, Ellie Pavlick, and Roman Feiman, we demonstrate that people's understanding of a written narrative is disrupted when certain types of inferences are violated. Our findings show that people can reason spontaneously, automatically, and correctly, and suggest that natural logic constitutes an inherent part of human thought.

Language comprehension reveals natural logical ability,  as first author, with Alyssa Loo, Ellie Pavlick, and Roman Feiman. Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley and Providence, RI: Brown University. 2023. manuscript   ❧   (as first author, with Roman Feiman) Paper presented at the 34th CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 2021. slides

In a collaborative project with Gašper Beguš and Ryan Rhodes, we outline a research program and design experiments aimed at testing the performance of large language models on linguistic theory. We show that GPT-4 is capable of constructing valid syntactic, phonological, and semantic analyses and may be the first language model to have metacognitive recursive abilities.

Large language models and (non-)linguistic recursion,  as first author, with Gašper Beguš. Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2023. manuscript_arXiv manuscript_lingbuzz

Large linguistic models: Analyzing theoretical linguistic abilities of LLMs,  as second author, with Gašper Beguš and Ryan Rhodes. Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley and Newark, NJ: Rutgers University. 2023. manuscript_arXiv manuscript_lingbuzz

In a collaborative project with Hannah Sande and Emily Clem, we document and analyze discontinuous vowel harmony in Guébie (Kru, ISO 639-3: gie) focus fronting. We propose a novel model of the phonology-syntax interface, where subparts of phonologically evaluated phases may undergo further movement.

Discontinuous vowel harmony in Guébie: Cyclic interleaving of syntax and phonology,  as third author, with Hannah Sande and Emily Clem. Language. Under revision.

Phonology-syntax interleaving in Guébie focus fronting,  as first author, with Hannah Sande. Paper presented at the 14th Brussels Conference on Generative Linguistics: Where syntax and phonology meet, KU Leuven Brussels Campus, Belgium. 2021. handout

I describe and analyze the prosodic structure of the verb in Paraguayan Guaraní (Tupian, ISO 639-3: gug). I show that the Paraguayan Guaraní (partially free) suffix order is determined by phonological subcategorization and prosodic well-formedness. I propose that the phenomenon of free affix order is not unified, but driven by either phonology or morphology, giving rise to two distinct typological profiles.

Paraguayan Guaraní prosody and the typology of variable affix order.  Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2022. manuscript

Paraguayan Guaraní and the typology of free affix order.  In: Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 7(1). 5159. Ed. by Patrick Farrell. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. 2022. proceedings

Prosody drives Paraguayan Guaraní suffix order.  In: Supplemental Proceedings of the 2021 Annual Meeting on Phonology. Ed. by Peter Jurgec, Liisa Duncan, Emily Elfner, Yoonjung Kang, Alexei Kochetov, Brittney K. O'Neill, Avery Ozburn, Keren Rice, Nathan Sanders, Jessamyn Schertz, Nate Shaftoe, and Lisa Sullivan. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America. 2022. proceedings poster

In a collaborative project with Justin Bai, Nicholas Tomlin, and Kalinda Pride, we formalize a syntactic fragment of Yucatec Maya (Mayan, ISO 639-3: yua) in Sign-Based Construction Grammar. I argue against a nominalization analysis of the language's intransitive subjunctive control.

Yucatecan control and lexical categories in SBCG.  In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, pp. 162–178. Ed. by Stefan Müller. CSLI Publications. 2017. proceedings slides

Yucatec Maya in SBCG: A fragment,  as equal author, with Justin Bai, Kalinda Pride, and Nicholas Tomlin. Paper presented at the 24th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, University of Kentucky, Lexington. 2017. slides grammar_signature

I have dabbled in other things, including Polish sociolinguistics and pragmatics, pied-piping, Garífuna prosody, philosophy, translation, and emojis.

Variable syntax of the Polish future imperfective.  Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2023. manuscript slides

Pied-piping by Cyclic Agree: In defense of feature percolation.  Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2021. manuscript

Wordhood and stress in Garífuna.  Manuscript. University of California, Berkeley. 2021. manuscript

Definiteness and word order in Polish.  Manuscript. Providence, RI: Brown University. 2018. manuscript

Marrying the prosentential theory of truth to formal semantics.  Manuscript. Providence, RI: Brown University. 2018. manuscript

A Wittgensteinian look on vagueness.Ivy League Undergraduate Research Journal 1, pp. 1–12. Ivy League Undergraduate Research Symposium. 2018. article

The end and the beginning  and  The three oddest things.  Translations of the poems  Koniec i początek  and  Trzy rzeczy najdziwniejsze  by Wisława Szymborska. Aldus, a Journal of Translation 8, pp. 6–13. 2016. translations

Proposal for a pretzel emoji,  as equal author, with Justin Bai. Unicode® Technical Committee Document Registry L2/16-374. 2016. document