Syntax and Morphology

I am primarily interested in syntax and morphology from both a theoretical and a typological perspective. My interests within these areas are very diverse, but my research has focused on agreement in Mazahua (Oto-Manguean), ellipsis in Spanish, and clitic placement and clitic linearization in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian.


Agreement in Mazahua
I am currently studying split intransitivity in Mazahua, a morphosyntactic alignment where some intransitive arguments cross-reference subject agreement while others cross-reference object agreement morphology. Despite being present in a decent number of language families, split intransitivity has not received enough attention from formal approaches compared to other alignments like accusative and ergative. The few accounts that exist rely on the idea that unergative predicates are transitive and that the split intransitivity system is just a surface phenomenon within an ergative system. Mazahua split system is of special interest because unergative predicates cannot be analyzed in this way, suggesting that split intransitivity is not itself an homogenous phenomenon. My current interest is to determine what is the property of verbs and predicates that triggers the split in Mazahua and provide a formal analysis to account for it.


Stripping and Pseudostripping
Stripping and pseudostripping, two elliptical constructions where only a DP/PP remnant and a polarity particle survive deletion, have been treated as related structures and analyzed along the same lines. Nonetheless, despite being almost identical in their surface representation (differing only on the position of the polarity particle with respect to the remnant), I have presented evidence that they show very different syntactic behaviour regarding binding and optionality of ellipsis. I have proposed that pseudostripping constructions involve conjunctions of two CPs, where the remnant in the second conjunct is dislocated in TopicP and TP is deleted. On the other hand, stripping structures do not actually involve any elliptical operation, but are analyzed as cases of constituent negation/affirmation, where the "remnant" is fronted to be focalized.

I am interested in a phenomenon known as the uno-strategy, a mechanism that spells out the atypical exponents uno 'a', alguno 'some' and ninguno 'no' in NP-ellipsis (NPE) constructions instead of the usual forms of the determiner un and the quantifiers algún and ningún, which are found in non-elliptical constructions. To account for this, I build on previous work on the uno strategy and argue that the vowel /o/ that appears in NPE is the phonological exponent of the masculine Gender morpheme merged as an Agreement node (Agr°) through nominal concord (Norris 2012, 2014) in elliptical contexts where Gender features would not be recoverable from the elided noun.


Clitic linearization
Most of the literature on Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS) clitics has focused on accounting for the (2nd) position of clitic strings within a clause, but not on providing an explanation for the strict order in which clitics appear with respect to each other. In my research I have pursued the idea that clitics in BCS are linearized inside a clitic string based on how feature-specified they are. This account relied on the morphological structure of the clitics and not on their phonological properties, as previous accounts have proposed. In addition to providing an explanation for the internal order of the clitic string, this proposal allows to account for exceptions to this order and for ungrammatical sequences of clitics in this language.

Language Processing

Differential Object Marking

Differential Object Marking