I am an associate professor at department of Language and Culture at UiT. In addition to teaching, I carry out research on linguistic variation and stability, mainly in my own project Experimental approaches to Syntactic Optionalily. During the last couple of years, I've spent a lot of time building up a database of syntactic variation in the North Germanic languages (in collaboration with Ida Larsson, Maud Westendorp, Eirik Tengesdal and Anders Nøklestad): the Nordic Word order database. In addition, I'm currently a member of three other resarch projects funded by the Norwegian Resaerch Council: Multilectal Literacy in Education (Project leader: Øystein Vangsnes), Grammatical Gender in Norwegain Dialects: Variation, Acquisition & Change (Project leader: Terje Lohndal), and Variation and Change in the Scandinavian Verb phrase (Project leader: Ida Larsson). Here in Tromsø, I collaborate with my colleagues in the research group CASTLFish and the reseach center AcqVA-Aurora.
Find my CV here.
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My background is in threoretical linguistics, with a focus on the syntax-semantics interface. My research interests today are fairly broad, spanning argument strucutre alternations, language processing, dialect variation and change, the syntax-prosody interface, language attrition and language acquisition, but all my research aims at gaining a better understanding of the architecture of the human language faculty.
I'm currently involved in several projects, with local, national and international collaborators. I'll present some ongoing and recent projects/studies below, organized thematically.
Eye tracking, Language change and the processing of Grammarical Gender in Norwegian
Over the last couple of years (2015-2018), we have been using psycholinguistic metohds, mainly eye tracking, to understand the current ongoing change in the Norwegian grammatical gender system. This research involves collablorations with Irina Sekerina (CUNY), Marit Westergaard, Yulia Rodina, Rachel Klassen and Øystein Vangsnes. Here is some of the output and current research:
- Language separation in bidialectal speakers: evidence from eye tracking - (With Øystein Vangsnes. Recently submitted article about gender processing, grammar separation and language change.)
Grammatical gender in the mental lexicon: Insights from L1 language change (With Rachel Klassen, abstract, presented orally at the TheGEN workshop, erlin 14-15 June 2016, Berlin. This is mainly Rachel's work, building on reaction time data collected through IbexFarm. Hopefully, we will collect more data over the coming months and write it up as an article - the results are really cool!)
- Dialect leveling as large scale mild language attrition (With Øystein Vangsnes. Poster presented at the CUNY colloquium 2017, covers partly the same data as the article 1 above.)
Gender Change in Norwegian Dialects: Comprehension is affected before Production (2016, with Yulia Rodina, Irina Sekerina and Marit Westergaard, article published in Linguistics Vanguard, special CUNY issue)
- Featurally underspecified forms are not treated as informative cues, even when they are sufficiently contrastive in the available context Evidence from the Visual World Paradigm (2016, Poster presented at AMLaP 2016, Bilbao)
Other stuff related to Gender in the Mainland Scandinavian languages, from a more theoretical and typological angle, see the following recent abstract: Gender syncretism as a result of overspecification, not underspecification and an old slideshow: Adjectival inflection in Mainland Scandinavian: Subset vs. Superset (2010 - 2011).
The transitivity alternation project
From 2013 to 2016 I was a reseracher (50%) in the Transitivity Alternation Project. The project was managed by Gillian Ramchand, and other collaborators included Antonella Sorace (Edinburgh) , Martin Corley (Edinburgh) and Mai Tungseth (UiT). We are still running some follow-up studies, now in collaboration with Eva Wittenberg (UCL, San Diego). Find more information about the project on Gillian's project page. Some of the output with links to articles, posters and presentations are listed below.
- Adventures in Structural Priming - The search for effects of Argument Structure. Argument Structure and Linguistic Processing (presentation at the Ars-Ling workshop at the 28th Colloquium of Generative Grammar, Tarragona, 2018, the whole slideshow is available here). A follow-up study was presented AMLaP 2019 (with Corley and Wittenberg), find slideshow here .
Anticausatives are semantically reflexive in Norwegian, but not in English (Article in Glossa, 2016, with Tungseth, Corley, Sorace and Ramchand)
- Transitivity Alternations in English: Processing Subcategorization frames (Poster, AMLaP 2014, Ramchand, Lundquist, Tungseth, Corley and Sorace)
Word order variation in North Germanic synchronically and diachronically
Over the last couple of years I have been collaborating with Ida Larsson (UiO) on word order variation in Scandinavian, with a focus on particle placement, object shift and subject placement. Currently we are working within Ida's NFR-funded project Variation and Change in the Scandinavian Verb Phrase on building up a database of elicited production data, targetting variation with respect to consituent order in the Scandinavian languages. The elicitation method and the background research questions are described in the article The Nordic Word order Database: motivations, methods, material and infrastructure (accepted for publication). The database can also be browsed here: https://tekstlab.uio.no/nwd . Other related work is Ida's and my chapter on particle placement diachronally and synchronally in Swedish and Norwegian (again, only Swedish). For a more diachronic focus, see our poster from DiGS 2017: Argument Placement in Scandinavian - Stable Variation and Parametric Change. More news about the database to follow soon!
Second language acquistion
Since Aumtumn 2016, I have been involved in a couple L2 acquisition projects.
- Testing the bottleneck hypothesis: acquisition of English morphology and word order by Norwegain students. (Collaboration with Isable Jensen, Roumyana Slabakova and Marit Westergaard: article under review - updates and links coming soon.)
- Acquistion of word order in L2 Norwegian: Object Shift and Subject shift (Ongoing work with Merete Andersen, Kristine Bentzen, Guro Busterud (NTNU), Anne Dahl (NTNU) and Marit Westergaard, article under revision - updates and links coming soon)
- Gender processing by Greek and Turkish L2 speakers of Norwegian (Since last year I've been helping out with an eye tracking study run at MultiLing in Oslo about Greek and Turkish L1 speakers' processing of gender in Norwegian. The first results were presented as a poster at AMLaP 2019. Find the poster here.
The syntax-prosody interface
The CASTL-fish research group at UiT had a strong focus on the syntax-prosody interface 2017-2018. Some of my work on the topic is listed below. My work on Scandinavian word order variation is recently also more oriented towards prosody. Some recent work below:
- Mer om de preverbala adverbialens syntax, semantik och prosodi (2018, article in Norsk lingvistisk tidskrift about V3 in Swedish triggered by preverbal adverbs)
- Morpho-syntactic restrictions on right- and left-headed maximal prosodic words in Mainland Scandinavian (2018, abstract for FINO workshop, find full slideshow here)
Norwegian heiritage speakers in America
Recently, I have been involved in two projects that build on the recordings of Norwegian heritage speakers, as collected in the CANS-corpus (Corpus of American Nordic Speech). The first one is a collaboration with Merete Anderssen and Marit Westergaard on noun phrase strucuture (possesives and definite expressions). This work centers around Merete and Marit's extensive research on the structure and acquisition of noun phrases in Norwegian. The article Crosslinguistic similarities and differences in bilingual acquisition and attrition: Possessives and double definiteness in Norwegian heritage language is now out in Binlingualism: Language and Cognitiion. The seocnd collaboration is with Terje Lohndal and Marit Westergaard on V2 in heritage Norwegian -- updates to follow soon!
Scandinavian dialect syntax
A lot of my research targets syntactic microvariation within and between the Scandinavian languages. I was a researcher in ScanDiaSyn/NorDiaCorp project 2010-2013, together with Kristine Bentzen, Piotr Garbacz, Janne Bondi Johannessen (project leader), Ida Larsson and Øystein Vangsnes (project leader). This resultet in volume 1 of Nordic Atlas of Language Structures (online), with more than 60 articles each targetting the dialect varation with respect to a specific syntactic phenomenon. My articles (17) mainly cover argument structure/verb phrase syntax (overview here) and binding/co-reference (see overview here). More about micro-variation with respect to binding can be found in my paper On inter-individual variation and mid-distance binding in Swedish (2013, Working paper in Scandinavian Syntax).
Voice, category change and argument structure
Most of my work earlier was centered around different types of passives and nominalizations. I'm still working modelling the choice of passive in Swedish (periphrastic or synthetic), and the relationship between argument structure and category (adjectival and verbal particles, "big" and "small" nominalizations). Some work that still bears some relevanc is listed below, with links to published or unpublished material.
- The role of tense-copying and syncretism in the licesing of morphological passives in the Nordic languages (2015, Studia Linguistica)
- The category of participles (2013, in chapter in Categorization and category change, which summarises my views on participles and nominalizations)
- Double object passives, pseudo-passives and the complete loss of Case in Swedish (Extended handout from LAGB workshop on Double objects, 2015)
- Noun-verb conversion without a generative lexicon (2009, in Nordlyd special issue on Nanosyntax).
- Nominalizations and participles in Swedish (2008, PhD thesis from the University of Tromsø)
The locus of cross-linguistic variation
A common theme of my research is linguistic variation, both within and between languages and even speakers. Several of the publications above, e.g. the causative paper and the mid-distance reflexives paper. Other relevant work, with a focus on differences between Swedish and English, are listed below.
- Objects as locations in English and Mainland Scandinavian (with Gillian Ramchand, article in Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, 2013)
Localizing cross-linguistic variation in Tense systems: On telicity and stativity in Swedish and English (2012, in Nordic Journal of Linguistics, fulltext here)