Mr Matthew Tyler

Junior Research Fellow Elect

Matthew Tyler is a syntactician finishing his PhD in linguistics at Yale University. His thesis "Argument structure and argument-marking in Choctaw" investigates how verbs are composed in Choctaw, a Muskogean language spoken in Mississippi, and addresses several questions in syntactic theory more broadly. Chief among them are: what are the atomic 'pieces' of syntax that verbs are assembled out of? And how do the forms and meanings of verbs emerge out of this in this assembly of syntactic pieces? As part of his research, he spends time in Mississippi working with speakers of Choctaw to document the grammar of the language.

His next research project will investigate the form, function and syntactic behavior of 'switch-reference' systems. These are reference-tracking systems, common in the languages of the Americas, whereby clauses exhibit special marking that indicates whether the subject of that clause is the same as, or different from, the subject of a connected clause. He is particularly interested in how the argument structure of different verbs can affect the determination of switch-reference marking.