Erik Zyman

Postdoctoral Fellow, Instructor in Linguistics
Rosenwald 224
(773) 702-8522

I'm a theoretical syntactician, and my research program is driven by the following overarching questions: What are the principles, elementary operations, and atomic elements determining how the smallest units of human languages can and cannot be licitly combined to form larger units (words, phrases, clauses, sentences)? Which of those principles and operations are universal, which vary from language to language, and why? And what are their cognitive (and other) underpinnings? Because I'm committed to pushing forward our understanding of these matters, I'm interested in a great many syntactic operations, processes, and phenomena, including movement, phrase-structure building and constituency, selection, projection, adjunction (and argument/adjunct asymmetries), the A/Ā-distinction, clause structure and functional sequences, and phenomena at the syntax/morphology interface (including "wordhood" and [anti]mirror effects) and at the syntax/semantics interface. In short, I seek to characterize as precisely as possible the elementary operations that build syntactic structures and to determine why they have the properties they do in our species. My research languages have included P'urhepecha, English, Latin, and Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec.