The syntax team at CASTL explores a fine-grained view of syntax, according to which syntax is tightly interwoven with the details of formal semantics, morphology and intonation. We thus tend to use the word syntax in this broad way, including much of what is often referred to as semantics and much of what is sometimes referred to as morphology. In this broad sense, syntax interfaces with phonology, the lexicon, and conceptual parts of cognition. We assume a modular organization of these components (and possibly others).
To obtain quality fine-grained data in syntax in this broad sense, we are committed to detailed field-work, taking into account the subtleties of meaning, pragmatic context, morphological realization and intonational contours of the syntactic data under study. We conduct microcomparative studies of closely related languages and dialects as well as more global comparative work on selected unrelated languages.
Our work builds on prior research in minimalism, cartography, remnant movement, and related approaches, and we actively pursue major issues in syntactic theory, such as those concerning the architecture of the language faculty. On the theoretical side, this has led us to a new approach we call Nanosyntax and on the empirical side, it leads us into thematically wide-ranging syntactic investigations.
Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL)
Moving Right Along