Research

I employ empirical, computational, and theoretical approaches in my research. On the empirical side, I explore the brain basis of syntactic and semantic processing of argument and event structure using magnetoencephalography (MEG). On the computational side, I have created a corpus of natural language inference, as well as utilizing semantic vector representations to investigate questions about argument structure. On the theoretical side, I investigate issues relevant to the syntax-semantics interface, e.g., the connection between argument and event structure in English and Mandarin Chinese, the nature of the connection between number, definiteness, and kind reference.

My most recent experimental work has been on the neurolinguistic processing of argument structure, and particularly of functional relational concepts. The main research question is twofold: how is argument structure represented in the brain, and how to comprehenders process it? Prior research in psychology points to the left Angular Gyrus as a region which may play a  role in processing either event structure or argument structure. This work attempts to determine which, while simultaneously investigating whether the Angular Gyrus also plays a combinatory role in language processing.  I used MEG to investigate these questions for my first qualifying paper.  This project was advised by Liina Pylkkänen (chair), Chris Barker, and Alec Marantz.

My most recent theoretical work is on the syntactic structure of the Mandarin Chinese locative preposition zai when it is used to construct progressive aspect. I explore connections between syntactic argument structure and temporal event structure, while simultaneously presenting novel arguments that this element is prepositional in every case. This qualifying paper project was advised by Stephanie Harves (chair),  Alec Marantz and Richard Kayne.  Another theoretical project I have been pursuing concerns the interaction between definiteness and number interpretation in American English. Recent developments in this project involve work on PP- and object-shift with Haoze Li, resulting in a poster for LSA 2017.

I work with Sam Bowman (NYU Linguistics/CDS, ML2) on Natural Language Processing for linguists. We have created a manually-annotated corpus for natural language inference, and for use as a resource for developing NLP models of natural language understanding. This corpus is part of shared task at the RepEval 2017 Workshop at EMNLP in Copenhagen. Our corpus is available here, and the preliminary write-up is available here.  Feel free to view my github page here.