About me

Update:

I have finished my PhD and moved on to begin a position at Yale University as Postdoctoral Research Associate under the supervision of Bob Frank. I’m not deleting this site, but I’m also no longer updating it. You can find my new website at campuspress.yale.edu/michaelwilson.

What was here before:

I am a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I am primarily interested in theoretical and experimental approaches to argument structure; in particular, I focus on questions about how verbs’ and their arguments’ meanings relate to the syntactic structures they occur in. I address these questions with both generative models and experimental evidence.

In my dissertation, I investigate the syntax and semantics of verbal argument structure, focusing primarily on spray/load and related verbs. I find evidence from readings of again with these verbs that supports a syntax that allows phrases to belong to more than one mother node (a syntax that permits multidominance). I am also investigating interesting patterns found with non-agentive uses of these verbs. In experimental work, I am studying the processing, comprehension, and production of subject and object experiencer verbs using self-paced reading, sentence production, and acceptability judgment measures. I am also collaborating with Shota Momma to investigate the planning of verbs and long-distance dependencies in spoken and written sentence production, and with Brian Dillon and Maayan Keshev to examine the effect of various syntactic configurations on agreement attraction.

Somewhat less recently, I have done experimental work on the English dative alternation, and formal work on the syntax and semantics of adjectival passives, as well as on an aspectual (eventive/stative) alternation shared by object experiencer, location, and govern-type verbs, which I argue is a kind of double-object causative-inchoative alternation. I have also collaborated with Rong Yin on the syntax and semantics of argument and adjunct coordination in Spanish.

I have also worked on the acquisition of recursion with a large research group headed by Tom Roeper, and have begun collaborating with him and Shota Momma to examine priming of recursion in adult speakers. For the acquisition side of this project, I developed an experiment to test the acquisition of possessive recursion in English, which was adapted and run in Mandarin by Daoxin Li and colleagues.

Email: ma(last name) at linguist dot umass dot edu