Kaden Holladay
[ˈkʰeɪ.dɪn ˈhɑ.lə.deɪ]
he / him

About. I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I specialize in morphology, syntax, and their interface with semantics. 

Contact. For my email address, please refer to the top of my CV.

Research. My dissertation, advised by Kyle Johnson and Rajesh Bhatt, is about person. There’s a special focus on the relation between what person does (semantically, qua indexical) on the one hand, and how person presents itself morphologically on the other. That relation isn’t trivial, which is a good thing — it means that there aren’t many syntaxes which could derive in tandem the morphological and semantic facts. The goal of the dissertation is a theory of person which is informed by both kinds of data. You can read more about this topic in this paper.

Other topics I’ve worked on recently include Right Node Raising, VP ellipsis, suppletive allomorphy, and (from a computational perspective) word-order typology. Like with my dissertation topic, my work on these typically proceeds with an eye toward interpretation. I’ve also worked on more phonologically-oriented morphological problems (Finnish lenition, for example, and the interaction between polysynthesis and metrical structure in Central Alaskan Yup’ik).

Teaching. I currently teach and assistant teach undergraduate linguistics courses at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. These have included introductory courses as well as advanced ones like Introduction to Syntax and Field Methods. You’ll find here the syllabus for an introductory course on linguistic theory which I taught in 2020.

Before coming to UMass I was a teaching assistant for the Institute for Linguistics, Image, and Text (LIT), a Hampshire College summer program led by Daniel Altshuler. LIT’s objective was to apply insights from semantics and discourse coherence theory in the analysis of poetic and literary verse, comics, film, graphic novels, comics, and other forms of visual art. (You can read more about ‘super-linguistics’ here.)

Biography. Via Rotary International‘s youth exchange program, I spent a year of high school in Finland. Learning Finnish (or rather, struggling to learn it) catalyzed my interest in linguistics. I pursed that interest at Hampshire College (and also at the University of Edinburgh, which I attended on collegiate exchange). Daniel Altshuler advised my undergraduate thesis, “Discourse coherence and mood in Central Alaskan Yup’ik.” That project, which involved original fieldwork in Alaska, investigated whether and how inter-clausal meaning is encoded by the Yup’ik inflectional system. I received my BA from Hampshire in 2016, and began my doctoral studies at UMass Amherst the following year.

Miscellania. I hike, rock climb, and ski. My Erdős number is 5. I love cats and dogs equally.