of Prince Edward Island
My primary research interests fall into three areas—syntactic theory, language acquisition, and Korean.
My current work on syntactic theory focuses on emergentism—the idea that the properties of language are best understood in terms of the interaction of more basic, nonlinguistic forces. My research concentrates on the role of the processor, which I take to lie at the heart of the human language faculty and to be responsible for most (perhaps all) of the facts traditionally attributed to Universal Grammar. Syntactic Carpentry (published in 2005 by Erlbaum) provides a detailed outline of this idea, illustrating how many core ‘grammatical’ phenomena can be traced to the operation of an efficiency-driven processor whose primary goal is simply to reduce the burden on working memory.
My research in the field of language acquisition encompasses problems of learnability and development. My recent views on learnability are outlined in Syntactic Carpentry, which proposes that the processor allows language learners to overcome deficiencies in the input that are traditionally interpreted as evidence for an inborn Universal Grammar. My work on developmental phenomena has for the most part focused on Korean and Japanese, but I have also written a book for a general audience on the acquisition of English—How Children Learn Language (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
My research on Korean is relatively wide-ranging. I maintain an ongoing interest in case-related phenomena as well as processing, and I have co-authored a bilingual ‘root dictionary’ of Korean (The Handbook of Korean Vocabulary, University of Hawai‘i Press, 1996) as well as a book on Korean phonology for second language learners (The Sounds of Korean, University of Hawaii Press, 2003).
Where I'll be--upcoming talks
Selected Publications (books)
The following papers are available for downloading as PDF files.
Some dissertations that I have supervised:
Last updated on 01/30/08 by Jason Lobel