Current Research Projects
My work focuses on the earliest stages of linguistic information extraction and processing involved in the retrieval of individual words and parts of words, and in the combination of those pieces to form complex utterances. I am interested in how we store and process morphological constituents, how early, automatic morphological processing mechanisms handle irregularity, and how we assemble morphological constituents into interpretable words and phrases. I am also interested in how lexical semantic information is extracted and integrated into syntactic structures, and how those structures are interpreted, and in how the semantics of roots interacts with the syntax and semantics of functional morphemes. A great deal of my research centers on the morpho-syntax and morpho-semantics of verbs.
Click the links below to read more about some of the projects I am currently involved in. You can also read about the research I and researchers in my lab carry out here: LabEL (Laboratory for Experimental Linguistics).
I am interested in supervising PhD and postdoctoral research on a range of topics, so long as they are very clearly connected to my research interests and expertise. Potential PhD students should begin by completing the PhD Applicant Query Form. Potential postdocs should contact me directly.
Current and Recent Projects:
- Learning about the world through generic statements: a cross-linguistic perspective.
- Decomposing and Recomposing Affixed Words
There is now considerable evidence, from multiple converging sources of data, that all potentially morphologically complex words are parsed into their constituent pieces, at a very early, form based stage of processing. It is less well established what the subsequent stages of processing, in which these constituent pieces are parsed at higher, more abstract levels, are like. With Christina Manouilidou (University of Patras) and Alec Marantz and Laura Gwilliams (NYU Neuroscience of Language Lab) we are investigating how the syntactic category and argument structure of verbal stems is accessed, in contexts where that information critically determines whether affix can or can not attach to a given stem. In our recent paper, Manouilidou and Stockall (2014). Teasing apart Syntactic Category vs. Argument Structure Information in Deverbal Word Formation: a comparative psycholinguistic study., we looked at the English prefix re-, which requires its stem to be verbal and to take an internal, result state argument (Marantz, 2007; Alexiadou et al, 2014), and at the Greek suffixes -simos and -tis, which both also require verbal stems, and further require those stems to be transitive with an internal, theme argument, and transitive, with an external, agent argument respectively. We show, by measuring judgement responses and response times to novel affixed words that either respect or violate these constraints, that verifying lexical category is faster, and more accurate than verifying argument structure. We are now using MEG to further investigate the timecourse and neurobiological resources involved in accessing and making use of these two kinds of grammatical information.
- AThEME: Advancing the European Multilingual Experience