My main research interests are semantics and syntax. I have active projects on disjunction, evidentiality, tense, and modality. I am interested in the insights that cross-linguistic and acquisition data can provide on these topics.
Predictions and Inferences (dissertation)
My dissertation focuses on present tense interpretations of will to investigate two related questions: What is the relationship between epistemic modality and evidentiality? Why are future markers co-opted crosslinguistically to also encode present inference? I use insights from the literature on evidential languages to compare the evidential restrictions of must and will. The dissertation is co-chaired by Jessica Rett and Yael Sharvit.
A semantics for split disjunctive systems (non-final version)
This paper discusses novel data from the split disjunctive system of Egyptian Arabic and presents an analysis under which the two disjunctive lexical items, walla and aw, differ in their ability to introduce discourse alternatives. Systems of this sort have been noted by previous authors, but this paper is the first to provide a complete description of the disjunctive lexical items' behavior and a comprehensive analysis of these facts.This project draws on data from my fieldwork with language consultants in Cairo, Alexandria, and Los Angeles. The earliest version of this paper was submitted as my Master's thesis (advised by Jessica Rett, Ed Keenan, and Yael Sharvit). A updated version of the paper is currently under revisions for Journal of Semantics.
Acquisition of evidentiality
The effects of syntax on the acquisition of evidentiality (pdf)
This project includes a corpus study of child language as well as an adult experiment of copy-raising verbs. We found that children show no production delay relative to children acquiring morphologically encoded evidentiality. This work was presented at BUCLD 2012.
Children's comprehension of syntactically encoded evidentiality (slides)
We conducted a follow up study in which we tested children's comprehension of the evidential component of copy-raising constructions. We found that while children can produce copy-raising constructions by age 2 or 3, their performance on the comprehension tasks lags behind. This result is found crosslinguistically. We argue that the lag is due to a task effect, rather than a delay in acquisition. This work was presented at NELS 45.
- Spring 2014: TA for Semantics II (Jessica Rett)
- Spring 2014: TA for Intro to the Study of Language (Russ Schuh)
- Winter 2014: TA for Syntactic Typology and Universals(Martin Walkow)
- Fall 2013: TA for Intro to the Study of Language(Martin Walkow)
- Winter 2013: TA for Syntax I (Martin Walkow)
- Fall 2012: TA for Semantics I (Jessica Rett)
- Spring 2012: TA for Intro to the Study of Language (Shabnam Shademan)
- Fall 2011: TA for Semantics I (Terry Parsons)
Students, Click here to give me anonymous feedback on my teaching.
- January 8-11, 2015 I will be presenting a poster at LSA 89 on The production/comprehension lag in evidential systems crosslinguistically (co-authored with Nina Hyams, Jessica Rett, and Laura Kalin)
- November 7-8, 2014 UCLA will be hosting CUSP 7! Click here for more information!
- October 31- November 2, 2014 I will be presenting at NELS 45 about Children's comprehension of syntactically encoded evidentiality (co-authored with Nina Hyams, Jessica Rett, and Laura Kalin)
- June 4, 2014 I will be presenting at LURC (Linguistics Undergraduate Research Conference) at UC Santa Cruz.
- January 25, 2014 I will be presenting on The inferences of will at UGGS (Unofficial Graduate student Get-together on Semantics and pragmatics) at UC Santa Cruz.
- October 25-26, 2013 I will be presenting on Disjunction in Egyptian Arabic at The Workshop on Semantic Variation at The University of Chicago.
- July 21-27, 2013 I will be presenting on The Effects of Syntax on the Acquisition of Evidentiality at International Congress of Linguists in Geneva, Switzerland.
- During Summer 2013 I will be a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo conducting fieldwork.