Research interests


ONGOING projects

Space and motion in Macuxi

Generals Paper II (Spring 2022 - Fall 2022):
po, ka, and everything in-between: a study on space in Macuxi
Supervisor: Suzi Lima
Readers: Barend Beekhuizen; Pedro Mateo Pedro

My second Generals Paper described and analyzed spatial postpositions in Macuxi (ISO 639-1: mbc; Cariban), spoken in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela, focusing on static events.

The most conceptually basic notion of space involves two entities (Figure and Ground) in some locative relation (Talmy 1983; Landau & Jackendoff 1993). The English prepositions at, on and in can describe a Figure-Ground relation, corresponding to proximity, contact and containment (Herskovits 1986). Cross-linguistically, space is divided and encoded varyingly (Levinson and Wilkins 2006). Macuxi, like other members of the Cariban family) has a postpositional system that encodes (a) spatial information and (b) some semantic property about the Ground. For instance, the postposition ka encodes (a) some type of containment or support relation, but also (b) the aquatic nature of the Ground. To investigate these patterns, I worked with my Macuxi collaborator through the Topological Relation Picture Series (Bowerman and Pederson 1992).

Beyond this work, I am also interested in investigating how these spatial postpositions are used in the context of motion events. I have begun work on describing and analyzing lexicalization patterns pertaining to motion in Macuxi (Cariban; spoken in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela), by making use of the Trajectoire stimuli toolkit (Ishibashi 2006).

classifiers and artificial language learning

Generals Paper I (Spring 2021 - early 2022):
Toward studying the typology of classifiers: an artificial language learning experiment
Supervisors: Daphna Heller; Craig Chambers
Readers: Suzi Lima; Myrto Grigoroglou


Past projects

Pluractionality in Macuxi (2019-2023)

MA Forum Paper (2019-2020).

For my Master's, I worked on the description and analysis of two constructions: reduplication and the pîtî morpheme in Macuxi (Carib), an indigenous language spoken in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela, in relation to the multiplicity of events (pluractionality, or verbal plurality). This work is based on the analysis of Macuxi narratives as well as original fieldwork data collected in Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil in May 2019.


Biased questions in colloquial singapore english (2021)

This project grew out of a graduate seminar in semantics led by Michela Ippolito, 'Expressing content with attitude', in Winter 2021.

In this project, I analyze the contribution of the meh particle in biased questions in Colloquial Singapore English (CSE). Canonical CSE questions can be formed with inversion, or with declaratives with rising intonation (maintaining neutrality), while non-canonical questions typically require discourse particles. Meh occurs clause-finally (It’s raining meh?) and has been described to mark questions and express skepticism, encoding the opposite of what the speaker thinks to be true. Drawing from Romero and Han (2004), I propose that meh contributes the meta-conversational operator VERUM, which triggers the existence of an epistemic implicature.



Language attitudes of chinese-argentine youth (2018)

Undergraduate independent research project, University of Toronto (2018-19)

Based on fieldwork done in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the summer of 2018, this undergraduate research project examines the factors which influence the linguistic choices that Chinese-Argentine youth in Buenos Aires make, in relation to the formation of their identity. Through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, I spoke with descendants of first generation immigrants (aged 18-25) in order to learn more about their linguistic choices and attitudes toward their languages: Mandarin or Spanish.

For years, the Asian Argentine voice has been excluded from the national narrative, which focuses on the waves of immigration from Europe encouraged by Argentina’s constitution since 1853. Taiwanese immigrants came in significant numbers in the 1980s and 1990s, while immigrants from Mainland China began to pour in since the 1990s. With the strengthening of Argentina-China commercial ties, even more immigrants have entered Argentina in the past decade. There are about 120, 000 Chinese people living in Argentina, with 80% settled in Buenos Aires province, in the city of Buenos Aires and its surroundings (Samaruga 2014). As Teresa Ko (2016) states in her paper Toward Asian Argentine Studies, there has been little scholarly attention on Asians in Argentina. This study serves to expand on Ho (2011)’s study on Heritage Language Loss in the Chinese Argentine community.

While language shift is indeed occurring, this study has found that participants are optimistic in reclaiming their heritage language. Seeing that the Asian Argentine voice has largely been unheard thus far, this sociolinguistic study can be thought of as a crucial first step to understanding a different facet of the Argentine identity in today’s world.

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