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 my research, I develop a mathematical characterization of syntactic dependencies such as 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.

I also build software for natural language processing for projects in digital humanities. Then, I work with statistical models to solve problems such as named entity recognition (NER) and text classification.

I work as data analyst for the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritages (ACDH-CH) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences while I wrap up my Ph.D. studies in linguistics at UConn. Previously, I've spent a semester as visiting student at Stony Brook University, and studied linguistics and computer science in Vienna, Austria.

Download my full CV in English or auf Deutsch (last updated: October 2020)

Research

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

Germanic doubly-filled COMP
We derive doubly-filled COMP constructions in Bavarian and other Germanic varieties for embedded questions, successive-cyclic wh-movement, headed relative clauses, and head-less relative clauses by analyzing wh-words as basically feature-less (no Person, Gender, Number, Case, Animacy; only Wh/Rel). Together with Roberts's (2010) analysis of head-movement, this predicts correctly when wh-words and relativizers apper in Spec,CP and when in C.
  • ÖLT 45 at Universität Salzburg — Dec. 6–7, 2019.
  • CGG 30 at Oviedo — May 12–14, 2021.
  • Olinco 5 at Palacký University Olomouc — postponed to May/June 2021.
An implicational universal linking c-command and movement
(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.
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.
  • TU+ 4 at NYU, New York, NY (talk) — February 16–17, 2019.
    • Handout
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.
  • TU+1 at UMass Amherst (talk) — Nov 21–22, 2015.
    • Proceedings paper: draft
    • Proceedings paper available from Amazon
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.

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 pronoun is her.