Research Statement 

Syntax and semantics of clause structure 

The main questions driving this research program are the characterization of clause structure, how negation, mood and sentential force interact in the clause structure, how clause structure in language maps onto meaning, and the cross-linguistic variation attested in this syntax-semantics mapping. I have pursued these questions particularly in the domain of imperatives and yes-no/alternative questions. These sentence types have distinctive morphosyntactic properties in many languages that dis- tinguish them from the declarative sentence type, enabling us to identify features that are involved in the derivation of clause structure. 

Syntax of head-final languages 

This program investigates the syntax of Korean and Japanese to understand variations in grammar that are directly related to the difference in clause structure between head-final and head-initial languages. This work was funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Research Grants. The fundamental question driving the research is how children acquire the placement of verbs in head-final languages. In head-initial languages, such as French and English, direct evidence is abundant from string word order through adverb or negation placement. But in a head-final language, verb placement is hard to detect since there is no evidence from the word order. The project investigates various issues arising from this paucity of evidence, with much of the data obtained from both adults and children through carefully designed experiments. 

Syntax and semantics of long distance anaphors 

This program investigates the antecedent potential of the long distance anaphors in Korean and Japanese in comparison to other anaphoric forms. The questions driving this research program are: How are the relationship between long distance anaphors and their antecedents established, through co-reference or variable binding? What are possible antecedents of long distance anaphors, subjects and/or non-subjects? What grammatical factors contribute to the final interpretation of long distance anaphors, preference for the subject, logophoricity (source of information), and/or lexical semantics of the predicate? These issues are investigated using various empirical methodologies including corpus studies as well as off-line and on-line experiments. This research iscurrently being funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant.

Computational applications of linguistic theories 

The work I have been doing in this area is mostly based on lexicalized Tree Adjoining Grammar (LTAG) formalism, a constrained computational system with well-defined mathematical properties. Using the Synchronous TAG, a variant of TAG, I have developed analyses for the syntax-semantics mapping of relative clauses, it-clefts, coordination, reflexives, and bound variables. This work was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant. I have also built computational resources and tools for the analysis of Korean using Treebanks, which are corpora annotated with rich linguistic information. Using training data and morphological rules obtained from the Penn Korean Treebank, I have developed and implemented a Korean morphological tagger. 


2014-2019   SSHRC Insight Grant Grammar and Processing of Anaphoric Forms
2008-2013 NSERC Discovery Grant Computational Semantics for Natural Language using Synchronous Formal Grammars
2007-2010 SSHRC Standard Research Grant The Nature of Grammar Competition in the Clause Structure of Head Final Languages
2003-2006 SSHRC Standard Research Grant Syntax of Head Final Languages
2001-2003 SFU President's Research Grant Syntax of Negation in Korean

Short Bio 

I received my PhD. from the department of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and am a full professor in the department of linguistics at Simon Fraser University. My main areas of research are syntax, semantics, and their interface. In my dissertation, I investigate various issues pertaining to the structure and interpretation of imperatives across languages. I have also done corpus linguistics using statistical methods to explain the linguistic patterns found in historical corpus and study their implications for theoretical syntax. I am also interested in computational applications of linguistic theories. Before joining SFU, I was a postdoc at Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at Penn and worked on TAG Korean GrammarKorean Treebank and Korean/English machine translation.