The Research Group in Syntax and Semantics


The department of linguistics at the University of Arizona sponsors an active and vibrant research team with a focus on theoretical approaches to Syntax and formal approaches to Semantics. This research group investigates all areas of sentence structure, morphosyntax, sentence meaning, and lexical meaning, as well as the interfaces of these with other related disciplines, such as sentence processing, language acquisition, computation. The focus of the group is in Generative (Minimalist) approaches to syntax and semantics, although other perspectives such as HPSG, LFG and Optimality theory are pursued. The research group encourages collaboration between participants and between faculty and students. The group holds frequent meetings (the Syntax Salon) both as a reading group and for the workshopping of new ideas. 


We are excited to welcome Dr. Robert Henderson to our group!

Research Projects

On-going research projects include (but are not limited to):

  • Binding & Obviation in Minimalism
  • Copular Constructions and Predication
  • Topic & Focus, and syntactic structure
  • Case & Ergativity
  • Scrambling & Word Order
  • Argument Structure, Aspect, Aktionsarten & Lexical semantics
  • Extraction and Anaphora
  • Complex Prediates
  • The morphology syntax Interface
  • Dative shift and morphophonology
  • Syntactic theory and Sentence Processing
  • Lexical Access
  • The structure of DP.
  • The acquisition of relative clauses
  • Semantic Timing Effects
  • Reconstruction
  • Reference Types and Anaphora
  • The syntax & semantics of particular languages:
                Modern Irish
                Hiaki (Yaqui)
                Tohono O'odham
                Scottish Gaelic
                Modern Persian
                Mayan Languages
                Salishan Languages

Syntax Salon

The Syntax & Semantics research group sponsors a series of meetings of talks on syntax, including a reading group and workshops of new work.

Graduate Programs in Syntax and Semantics

Syntax & Semantics Classes at University of Arizona

The research group, in coordination with the department of linguistics, sponsors a Ph.D. in Linguistics with a specializations in Theoretical Syntax, Formal Semantics, Lexical Semantics, Syntax/Semantics Interfaces, Sentence Processing and related areas.

A masters degree in the syntax of Native American languages is offered by the Linguistics dept.

A master's degree in Spanish Linguistics (including syntax) is also available from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.