Field linguistics and documentation

African languages:

  • Kru languages (Vata, Dida, Gbadi..),
  • Gur (Nawdem),
  • Mande (Bambara),
  • Kwa (Abe(y)..),
  • Grassfield Bantu (Nweh, Ncufie, Bafanji),
  • West Atlantic (Wolof, Fulani),
  • Bantu (Ndendeule, Siswati),
  • Nilotic (Maasai, Dholuo),
  • Austronesian (Malagasy, Javanese, Samoan, Tongan),
  • Creole languages (Haitian, Sranan, Saramaccan).

Formal Linguistics

  • Syntactic theory
  • Morphosyntax
  • Comparative syntax
  • Syntax/Phonology interface


2018. Burnett, H., Koopman, H., & Tagliamonte, S. (2018)  Structural Explanations in Syntactic Variation- The Evolution of English Negative and Polarity Indefinites. Language Variation and Change, 30(1), 83-107. doi:10.1017/S0954394517000266

2017a.  Neurophysiological dynamics of phrase-structure building during sentence processing (with Nelson, M.J., El Karoui, I., Giber, K., Yang, X., Cohen, L., Cash, S.S., Naccache, L., Hale, J.T., Pallier, C. and Dehaene, S.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201701590.

2017b. When the Syntax is not what it seems. In Clemens Mayr und Edwin Williams (eds.), Festschrift für Martin Prinzhorn (pp. 163-171). Wiener Linguistische Gazette.

2017c.  Cross-linguistic evidence for a non-distributive lexical meaning of conjunction. (with Enrico Flor, Nina Haslinger, Eva Rosina, Magdalena Roszkowski and Viola Schmitt). In Alexandre Cremers, Thom van Gessel and Floris Roelofsen (eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium (pp. 255-264).

2017d. A note on Huave Morpheme Ordering: Local Dislocation or Generalized U20?. In Gautam Sengupta, Shruti Sircar, Gayatri Raman, and Rahul Balusu (eds), Perspectives on the Architecture and Acquisition of Syntax: Essays in Honour of R. Amritavalli. Springer.

2016. A Further Step towards a Minimalist Analysis of Japanese -no (with Tomoko Ishizuka). Presented at the 24th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference.

2014a. The que/qui alternation: new analytical directions (with Dominique Sportiche). In Peter Svenonius (ed), Functional Structure From Top to Toe. Oxford University Press.

2014b. Recursion restrictions: Where grammars count. In T. Roeper and M. Speas (eds.), Recursion: Complexity in Cognition (pp. 17-38). Springer International Publishing.

2012a. Samoan ergatives as double passives. In L.Brugé, A. Cardinaletti, G Giusti, N. Monera, and C. Poleto (eds), Functional Heads, Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax, 7.

2012b. Notes on Malagasy Causatives. In Dennis Paperno and Anna Szabolcsi,  Theories of everything. In Honor of Ed Keenan UCLA working papers in Linguistics, 19, 19, 163-167.

2010a. On Dutch allemaal and West Ulster all. In J. Wouter Zwart (ed), Structure Preserved Benjamins Publications, pp.267-275.

2010b. The Dutch PP: Prepositions, Postpositions, Circumpositions and Particles. In G. Cinque and Luigi Rizzi (eds), Mapping spatial PPs: The cartography of syntactic structures (Vol. 6). Oxford University Press.

2010c. Verbal complexes and complex verbs: a single computational engine. 12th International Symposium on Chinese Language and Linguistics. Taipei, June 2010. (available on demand)

2007. Topics in Imperatives. In W. van der Wurff (ed). Imperative clauses in generative grammar, pp.153-180

2006. Agreement: in defense of the “Spec head configuration”. In Cedric Boeckx (ed), Agreement systems, pp.159-199.

2006. When to pied-pipe and when to strand in San Dionicio Octotepec Zapotec. Organizing Grammar: Linguistic Studies in Honor of Henk van Riemsdijk, 86, p.331.

2005a. Malagasy Imperatives. In Jeffrew Heinz and Dimitrios Nthelitheos, Proceedings of AFLA XII, pp.141-160.

2005b. On the parallelism of DPs and clauses: Evidence from Kisongo Maasai. In A. Carnie (ed), Verb First, On the Syntax of Verb-initial Languages. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp.281-302.

2005c. Korean (and Japanese) morphology from a syntactic perspective. Linguistic Inquiry, 36(4), pp.601-633.

2003. The locality of agreement and the structure of the DP in Maasai. In William E.Griffin (ed.), The role of agreement in natural language: TLS 5 Proceedings (pp. 207-227).

2002. Derivations and complexity filters. In A. Alexiadou, E. Anagnostopoulou, S Barbiers, H Gaertner (eds), Dimensions of Movement: From features to remnants, 48, p.151-189.

2001. On the homophony of past tense and imperatives in Kisongo Maasai. In H. Torrence (ed), Papers in African Linguistics 1, UCLA Working Papers in Linguisticsno, 6, pp.1-13.

1999. The internal and external distribution of pronominal DPs. In Kyle Johnson and Ian Roberts (eds), Beyond principles and parameters (pp. 91-132). Springer Netherlands.

1999. Hungarian complex verbs and XP-movement (with Anna Szabolcsi). In I. Kenesei (ed), Crossing Boundaries: Theoretical Advances in Central and Eastern European Languages, Benjamins p. 115-137.

1997. Unifying predicate cleft constructions. In K. Moore (ed.), Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 71-85).

1996a. The position of incorporated heads within the Dutch verbal cluster. In F. Lee and E. Garret (eds), Syntax at Sunset, pp. 31-36.

1996b.  The Spec Head configuration. In F. Lee and E. Garret (eds), Syntax at Sunset, pp. 37-64.

1995. On verbs that fail to undergo V-second. Linguistic Inquiry, 26(1), pp.137-163.

1994. Licensing heads. In D. Lightfoot and N. Hornstein (eds), Verb movement, pp.261-295

1992. On the absence of case chains in Bambara. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 10(4), pp.555-594.

1991. The position of subjects (with Dominique Sportiche). Lingua, 85(2-3), pp.211-258.

1989. Pronouns, logical variables, and logophoricity in Abe. Linguistic Inquiry, pp.555-588.

1986. A Note on Long Extraction in Vata and the ECP. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 4(3), pp.357-374.

1986. On Deriving Deep and Surface order. NELS 14, Umass. pp. 220-235

1986. The genesis of Haitian: Implications of a comparison of some features of the syntax of Haitian, French and West African languages. In P. Muysken et al (ed), Universals versus substrata in Creole genesis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp.231-259.

1983. ECP effects in main clauses. Linguistic Inquiry, 14(2), pp.346-350.

1982. Control from COMP and comparative syntaxLinguistic Review, 2(4), pp.365-391.

1982. Variables and the Bijection Principle (with Dominique Sportiche). In The Linguistic Review 2.3. pp. 139-160.

1978. Jan Vat (pseudonym). On Footnote 2- Evidence for the pronominal status of þaer in Old English relatives.  Linguistic Inquiry 9.4. pp. 695-717.


2013. An introduction to syntactic analysis and theory (with Dominique Sportiche and Ed Stabler). John Wiley & Sons.

2000. Verbal complexes (with Anna Szabolcsi). MIT Press.

2003. The syntax of specifiers and heads: Collected essays of Hilda J. Koopman. Routledge.

1984. The Syntax of Verbs: From verb movement rules in the Kru languages to Universal Grammar.

Unpublished papers

2011. To find language universals, at least look for them (with Robyn Rider and Dominique Sportiche). (contact me for a copy)

2004. Agreement-lite. A short summary of judgment patterns of 17 speakers for plural agreement in English there-insertion constructions, depending on interveners.

1997. The Doubly filled C filter, the Principle of Projection Activation and Historical Change.

Edited books

1983. Current Approaches to African Linguistics (with J. Kaye, D. Sportiche and A. Dugas). Foris Publications, Dordrecht.


Recent Handouts

2017.  The View From the Syntax- Some Comments on Winfried Lechner’s (Semantically Active) Head Movement Presentation. Talk presented at the Workshop for Martin Prinzhorn.

2016. Unifying Syntax and Morphology and the SSWL database project. Presented at The 1st SynCart Workshop, Chiusi.

2016. A Further Step towards a Minimalist Analysis of Japanese no (with Tomato Ishizuka). Presented at the 24th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference.

2015. Scattering objects and developing SSWL. Presented at Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia.

2014. On the importance of being silent or pronounced: English –able and Japanese –rare potentials compared. Presented at GLOW 37th, Brussels.

2013. Remnant Movement, Intervention, and Structure Building- the view from Samoan. Presented at the Conference on Remnant Movement, Frankfurt.


Terraling and SSWL

The SSWL database is one of the datasets in Terraling, and can be found at:

Supporting documents 

Information on how to access and navigate it can be found here:

Navigating Terraling

A general description of SSWL and Terraling can be found here:

(2018) SSWLandTerraling_general (incomplete)

Some Background on properties

All definitions, examples are contained in the property definitions on the website. Here are some links:

(2018) Existential Constructions_01

(2018) Existential_constructions_02

The following document explains how to develop a coding schema, applying it to indefinite subjects in negative existential constructions:

(2018) Negative_Existentials_02


(2018) Preliminary Research Results on Object Properties_01

Letters to contributors:

(2017) Letter of 10/29/2017