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Research

My research is empirically driven, in  that I make use of diverse 
methodologies, including corpus work, traditional field elicitation,
and psycholinguistic experimentation. This work proceeds from
a guiding principle that new data should always be a motivating factor
in theoretical development. My research since arriving in the
Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures at the University
of Calgary remains focused on issues at the interface of syntax and
semantics, most focused on areas of scope, question formation, and
reference resolution (binding). I am currently engaged in research
projects on scope, question formation, and binding in English, Korean,
and Blackfoot, as well as supervising MA theses on scope and predicate
structure in Farsi, and the interactions between tense and modality in
Blackfoot and English. I will be accepting new graduate students in the
2016-17 academic year, and below you will get a sense of the types of
research I am interested in.

During my time as a post-doc and lecturer at Yale, under the super-
vision of Robert Frank, I examined the mechanics of Synchronous Tree
Adjoining Grammar (STAG), working to gain a better understanding of
the semantic compositionality of the model. This work has taken the
shape of a still ongoing exploration of the relationship between tense,
quantifier scope, and question formation. As previous work in STAG
has unified quantification with question formation, and our own work
has been moving toward formalizing the relationship between scope
and tense, in continuing work we shall continue to develop the STAG
formalism to bring together a comprehensive account of these three
phenomena which are generally treated separately.

While at Yale, I also began to contribute to the Yale Grammatical
Diversity Project, which seeks to document and describe variations in
the English of North America. My first major contribution to this project
has been a study of the morpho-semantics of variant reflexive forms
primarily in the USA, reaching the conclusion that there is a meaning
distinction between "standard" himself and "non-standard" hisself. To
carry out this work, I have been exploring methods of using twitter
as a corpus of naturally occurring examples, and making use of the
available metadata to make observations on the social and geographic
distribution of these variants. In the future, I plan to refine this method
and use it to study other patterns of variation in Canada and the US.
At the same time, I continue to be interested in questions relating to
pronouns and binding theory more generally, including non-argument
uses of English reflexive pronouns, and continuing work on Korean
anaphora.
My thesis research was primarily concerned with the expression of reflexivity in natural language through a comparison of four languages:
English, Korean, Plains Cree, and Shona. In examining the manifestations
of reflexivity in these diverse languages, I arrive at a list of necessary
features for an all-inclusive theory of reflexivity, modelled within the
parallel semantic/syntactic framework of STAG. In 2011, I was awarded
with SFU's Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal, which recognises
outstanding dissertations across the university. Outside of my PhD thesis research line, I have been engaged in an
ongoing investigation into the syntax of head-final languages with my
PhD supervisor, Chung-hye Han. Using experiments testing scope
judgements between negation and quantifiers, we are looking for
evidence of verb raising in Japanese and Korean. This work, along with
portions of my PhD thesis, and our ongoing Korean anaphora research
is carried out under the research banner of the SFU Linguistics
Experimental Syntax Lab I also continue to work on the morphosyntax of Shona, a Southern
Bantu language. Under the supervision of Rose-Marie Dechaine of the
University of British Columbia, this began as part a collaborative group
project involving a number of grad students. My work here broadly
focuses on valence-changing operations in the language, working
toward a complete mapping of the Shona clause structure. Recently,
my research has steered back toward reflexives, but beyond Shona, to
compare the reflexive morphologies of other Bantu languages. Teaching and Service
Since taking my current position at the University of Calgary, I have
taught core curriculum syntax courses at all undergraduate and graduate
levels, as well as our Introduction to Linguistics course. Beyond these,
I have also had the opportunity to teach a course in morphosyntactic
typology, as well as a course on the syntax/semantics interface using
the STAG framework. I have also served as an Undergraduate Advisor
in the Linguistics program, and also as coordinator of the research
participation program for our Ling 201 students. In the 2015-16
academic year, I am also serving on the Faculty of Arts Equity and
Diversity Committee, and have served as an abstract reviewer for
the LSA and WCCFL conferences.

While posted as a lecturer at Yale, I was responsible for three courses.
Two were core curriculum courses in Introductory Syntax and
Morphology, and the third was a practical skills course in Experimental
Methods for Syntax and Semantics where students were able to develop
programming skills and have hands-on experience working with open-
source experiment design software. This course will be re-developed to
be offered at the University of Calgary in 2016. While still a Post-Doc,
I developed a course on a cross-linguistic examination of pronominals
and binding theory, comparing patterns from Pacific Northwest, Bantu,
East-Asian, and European languages.

Throughout my grad career, I was employed as a marker for numerous
undergrad classes, and four times as a TA leading tutorials in introductory
Linguistics. I have also provided TA support for a writing-intensive
Linguistic Argumentation course, and filled in lectures in introductory
semantics. In the 2008/09 academic year, I was twice appointed
as a sessional instructor, teaching an intermediate-level syntax course. Personal For the record, I was born in March of 1979, and have lived my
most of my life somewhere in the Greater Vancouver area. This makes
me a native speaker of a relatively unremarkable variety of English,
though being a French Immersion kid made things more interesting.
I have since taken courses in Japanese, German and Korean, though
my German prof noted some L2 to L4 interference, saying that I
speak the language "as Jean Chretien would." All of my graduate education was at SFU, with the exception of courses
taken as an "exchange" student at UBC, and courses taken at the
2007 LSA Summer Institute. I did part of my ultimate dissertation
writing as a visiting student at the Univeristy of Edinburgh. Outside linguistics, I worked on and off in Vancouver's tourism and
accommodation sector for twelve years, making me exceptionally
good at giving directions, and relatively prepared to face the real
world should I ever choose to. Living outside Canada for three
years has, ironically, made me increasingly conscious of what goes on
at home, and you can find my WordPress blog of armchair political
commentary and random musings on research and expatriate life here.