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I’m involved with a number of funded research projects that link my work with that of other researchers

Current Projects

I began a new Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship in September 2020 entitled Simplifying and Restricting Syntax where I plan to incorporate some ideas from theoretical computer science into minimalist syntactic theory with a view to exploring how this might provide a new perspective on restricting the range of options that current syntactic theory allows.

I’m co-PI on a major ESRC project with Jenny Culbertson and Klaus Abels, where we are looking to expand the work that Jenny and I did on testing Greenberg’s Universal 20 using artificial language learning to speakers of typologically different languages.

Older Projects

SCOSYA is a major AHRC grant project with the aim of creating a syntactic atlas of the dialects of Scots. I worked with Jennifer Smith, Caroline Heycock and Gary Thoms to both understand the range and nature of grammatical variation in Scots, and to map it out physically.

AthEME was an EU Framework 7 Partnership project looking at multilingualism from a range of perspectives. The Queen Mary aspect of this project that I am involved in focusses on applying syntactic theory to the Multicultural London English corpus collected and investigated by my colleague, Jenny Cheshire. 

Clause:InTEL:  a Marie-Curie-Sklodowska grant, with Christos Vlachos, looking at how clausal complements of verbs and nouns are syntactically integrated. It investigated the feasibility, for this, of the exoskeletal theory, developed by my colleague at Queen Mary, Hagit Borer.

Atomic Linguistic Elements of Phi; an AHRC funded project, working with my colleague Daniel Harbour, seeking to determine the basic makeup of pronominal features in human language.

The Grammar-Meaning Connection: a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, investigating whether we can understand certain ways that noun phrases behave in languages of the world by rethinking the way that syntactic structure works. It led, amongst other publications, to my 2013 monograph A Syntax of Substance. There is a précis of this book available freely.

The Syntax-Information Structure Interface in a Polysynthetic Language: an AHRC funded project with Daniel Harbour that sought to understand the way that the Native American language Kiowa could throw light on important questions in theoretical syntax. It led to the book Mirrors and Microparameters, as well as to an impact case study for the 2014 REF.

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