What I do

I am a theoretical and computational linguist: I build formal models of human grammar based on empirical data from natural languages. In particular, I develop a mathematical characterization of syntactic dependencies such as subject-verb agreement, case assignment, and wh-movement. By linking linguistic theory with results from formal language theory, I derive properties of syntactic parsing, which can inform general cognition as well as computer linguistics. I collect data by doing fieldwork: I've worked with speakers of Turkic languages (Karakalpak, Kyrgyz, Turkish) and also with speakers of Nepali and Yaadre.

Currently I am a Ph.D. student of linguistics at UConn, and a visiting student at Stony Brook University. Previously, I've studied linguistics and computer science in Vienna, Austria.

Download my full CV or my 1-page resumé   (last updated: February 2019)

Projects

Please email me for copies of non-linked attachments.
I'm always looking forward to receiving comments. Please don't hesitate to reach out!

The complexity of dependencies in syntax
(with Thomas Graf)
Based on insights from mathematical linguistics, we argue that syntactic dependencies spanning independent subtrees, that is: not expressible via c-command relations, must be established by movement.
  • PLC 43 at UPenn (talk) — March 22–24, 2019.
A formal account of Dependent Case Theory
I formalize DCT into Minimalist Grammars (Stabler 1997) with MSO-constraints on derivation trees (Graf 2013), and I argue that a formalization based on licensing by covert movement is not possible as it increases the complexity class of natural language. I provide a formalism that allows to circumvent this problem (to suspend the SMC) without incurring this blow-up in complexity.
Turkic nominalized clauses
I investigate the possibility of raising-to-possessor in Kyrgyz participial relative clauses with genitive-marked subjects. (The WAFL paper argues against it, but in light of new data, the TU+ paper argues in favor of it.)
  • ConCALL-3 at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (talk) — March 2–4, 2018.
  • WAFL 14 at MIT, Cambridge, MA (talk) — October 19–21, 2018.
    • Handout.
    • Proceedings paper, to appear.
  • TU+ 4 at NYU, New York, NY (talk) — February 16–17, 2019.
I analyze clause-type triggered differential subject marking in Turkish by arguing that factive nominalized argument clauses are complex NPs with a silent head noun.
  • TU+2 at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (poster, cancelled) — Nov 19–20, 2016.
  • ConSOLE 25 in Leipzig, Germany (talk) — Jan 4–6, 2017.
German impersonal passives
German has passives that retain accusative case and must receive a generic interpretation. I argue that they are impersonal actives.
  • Manuscript, May 2017.
The real(is) distinction in before- and after-clauses.
(with Marcin Dadan, Kadir Gökgöz, Jayeon Park, Yongsuk Yoo)
We compare before- and after-clauses in German, French, Japanese, Polish, Korean, and Turkish. We provide a uniform analysis for the different morphological strategies these languages use to mark before clauses. We argue that the intra-language differences between before and after are due to different selectional properties for mood, which stems from realis vs. irrealis presuppositions.
  • GLOW 39 in Göttingen, Germany (poster) — Apr 5–7, 2016.
  • FASL 25 at Cornell University, NY (talk) — May 13–15, 2016.
Turkish polar question particle
Based on evidence from conditionals I argue that the question particle "mI" triggers movement of the focused constituent.
The German relative pronoun "welch-" is an agreeing complementizer.
  • CGG 24 in Madrid, Spain (talk) — May 28–29, 2014.
  • RALFe at Paris 8, France (talk) — Oct 9–10, 2014.
    • Handout
Turkish accusative as topic marker.
  • ÖSKL 6 in Vienna, Austria (talk) — Nov 30–Dec 1, 2013.

Contact

The best way to reach me is by email. (I don't check my Facebook account regularly.)

You can write to me in English or German or French. I can read Turkish and SerBoCroatian, but I'll struggle to compose a response.

My preferred pronouns are she/her/hers.