In general, my dissertation research focusses on the intersection of language comprehension and broader cognitive systems. I explore this by examining expressive content, which includes swearing.
Despite being a regular linguistic practice for most cultures, and perhaps our best example for the encoding of emotion in linguistic form, swearing remains an understudied topic of research. In my dissertation, I show through behavioural and electrophysiological means that swears demonstrate both unique syntactic and affective properties. As a result, swears provide a rich arena for probing our understanding of one of the central properties of language: conveying emotion. A better understanding of their analysis is critical to a complete understanding of how language and social communication interact.
Such a project can only happen with great advisers who can offer big perspectives. I'm fortunate to officially have two, Tom Bever and Vicky Lai. Robert Henderson has also been a great help, especially with integrating aspects of social meaning.
I also consider myself an experimental pragmaticist. I have explored this domain by examining local pragmatic anomalies--utterances that are difficult to incorporate into the context of our real world knowledge. The project attempts to adjudicate current theories on local pragmatic anomalies, and whether or not their processing is automatic.
Finally, along with labmate Leah Rice, we consider how behavioural processing differences in CPs and PPs can inform formal aspects of Phase Theory.
Coffee is great, and Tucson has a lot of quality roasteries (my fave lab equipment is our AeroPress). It's a great town for graduate students--you can cycle everywhere, and we have a really nice century ride every November. Sometimes, I go for runs along the 'river' path. I sort of took up rowing while in Berlin, but I'm still unsure if I'm coordinated enough for it.