Language, Mind and Mathematics

Semantics & Morphology

My work focuses on using the tools of logic to analyze the grammatical representations of meaning within the language faculty (a component of the mind/brain). It also explores the consequences that such representations have for the lexical and morphological aspects of language. The spirit of my work follows the semantic projects laid out by generative linguists such as Chomsky and Katz & Fodor, while also taking advantage of the technical machinery introduced by Montague and Keenan & Faltz.

Language and Competition

Lately, my research has pulled me towards investigating the grammatical representation of morphological and scalar competition. This kind of competition relies on semantic representations to determine the set of viable competitors. However, it is my suspicion that other factors, both lexical and morpho-syntactic, may also affect when certain constructions compete. Teasing apart the contributions of the lexicon and morpho-syntax from semantic representations is a difficult task that requires a thorough morphological and semantic analysis of a variety of different linguistic phenomena. I am conducting research on this topic in such languages as Western Armenian and Mi′kmaq with the help of a SSHRC Standard Research Grant.

Language and Mathematics

My research on competition is connected to a much larger project exploring the link between language and mathematics. For several years, I have been studying linguistic representations of number, quantification and scales as they relate to certain types of syntactic constructions (Noun Phrases, Verb Phrases, Conjunctive Phrases, etc.). My hope is that by knowing more about our linguistic representations, we might discover links to how we understand numbers non-linguistically in mathematics. Such a research project will help to evaluate our current teaching methodologies and perhaps could even lead to new ones. It is my goal in researching this topic to push towards a level of understanding that will ultimately have this kind of practical application. For further information, click on the links below.

Languages Studied: English, French, Mandarin, Mi'kmaq, Turkish, Western Armenian
Recent Topics: Scales, Scalar Competition, Number Marking, Quantification, Count-Mass Syntax

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