Language enchants me on all levels. In particular, I am interested in the structure of phrases and words (morphosyntax) with emphasis on the revitalization & documentation of endangered languages.

Background

Led into linguistics by my creative practice, I graduated magna cum laude in 2015 from New York University with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics with Highest Honors and a double-minor in Mandarin Chinese and Global Visual Arts. My Honors Thesis, entitled Filling in the Gaps — Revisting the Syntax of English Gapping Constructions, is a paper in theoretical syntax which revisits a well-known (and fascinating nonetheless) construction called gapping.

Gapping is when two utterances are joined by a conjunction (and, or, but), and the verb from the first conjunct is deleted from the second conjunct, leaving its arguments behind. For example: 

  • The dog ate beef and the cat _ pork. 

The elision above, underscored, is unpronounced, yet we interpret it to mean ‘ate.’ This is a gap! In my thesis, I presented data from Google which revealed a new kind of gapping. I call this resumptive gapping due to the presence of resumptive pronominal remnants after gapping has taken place. For instance:

  • Imagine meeting incredible people who love supporting you, and you, _ them.

Concurrently, I grew more and more conscious that globalization, industrialization, and (economic) colonialism all pose a severe threat to diversity of biology, thought, culture, and language. The profound nature of language endangerment reoriented my priorities such that I became intent on solving issues that were not purely theoretical.

Thus in 2014, I began volunteering with the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) in Manhattan. This shifted my focus towards endangered language documentation in the hopes of synchronizing theory and practice. Under the auspices of the ELA, I have been fortunate to assist with fieldwork in Nepal (thanks to Danielle Ronkos) and Botswana (thanks to Prof. Chris Collins and the ELA). And as research assistant to Prof. Zvjezdana Vrzić, I have been able to witness an inspiring community-driven revitalization workshop in Rovinj, Croatia called DERSII.

Documents