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Syntax

The Graduate Center syntax faculty and students are active in number of areas of research, including the comparative syntax of Germanic and Romance, and also Hungarian, Japanese, Semitic (Hebrew, Amharic) and Slavic; our research occasionally explores languages as exotic as Rotuman as well.

Our specific areas of interest include:

  • syntax of adpositional phrases
  • argument-structure alternations
  • predication and the copula
  • pronouns and agreement
  • quantification and polarity
  • tense and aspect
  • verbs and verbal clusters

Our recent syntax dissertations cover a wide range of topics, such as the syntax of the particle no in Japanese (Koike), long-distance binding in Russian (Rudnitskaya), the syntax of pronouns and agreement in Hebrew and beyond (Sichel), phrasal reduplication in syntax (Gullì), anaphora in Icelandic (Reeves), clause-stacking and Japanese relative clauses (Suzuki), language contact morphosyntax, with particular reference to Afrikaans and Sri Lankan Malay (Slomanson).

Students currently working on their dissertation research are looking, among other things, at the copula in African American English, Romance causatives, Amharic argument-structure alternations, function words and grammaticalization, syntax under a radical interpretation of the UTAH, and the syntax of predication in the complex noun phrase. The syntax faculty are also working on an Appalachian English syntax project (which will eventually involve fieldwork). We are closely involved as well with research conducted by the students and faculty in first and second language acquisition, semantics, and sentence processing.