Itamar Kastner

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Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

I'm a linguist and cognitive scientist. Mainly I'm into morphology, syntax and sign language research. Grab a copy of my CV here or see my list of publications for more details.

In general, I am interested in how lexical material (which may be idiosyncratic or "exceptional") combines with functional material (the syntax) and how the two constrain each other.

My work usually falls in one of two domains. First is the morphology of nonconcatenative languages, specifically the morphosyntax that derives argument structure and the morphophonology that derives templatic effects in Semitic. My most recent thinking on these topics can be found in a few recent papers and in my dissertation; see the publications page. In addition, I have been looking into the computational modeling of acquisition and what it means for an infant to learn roots and templates.

In parallel, I've been working on lesser-studied patterns of embedding, nominalization and subordination crossmodally and crosslinguistically. My Frontiers in Psychology paper identifies the emergence of embedding early on in the life of a particular sign language; a paper in Lingua explores the idea that presuppositional verbs such as know and deny uniformly take propositions nominalized as DP complements; my TISLR poster tested the idea that clauses can be nominalized using space in ASL; and a small project on cognate objects checked what kind of unaccusatives can create embedded predicates in cognate objects.

My experimental work uses various techniques: in an artificial language experiment, I'm testing what biases learners bring with them when learning different morphological generalizations. My Brain and Language paper examined basic composition in English and Arabic using MEG; and two projects currently in progress explore neural correlates of morphological decomposition in Hebrew and of composition in ASL.

I have previously been affiliated with:

2011-2016The Morphology Research Group, the Marantz Lab and the Pylkkänen Lab at NYU's Department of Linguistics (as a PhD student).
2010-2011The Sign Language Research Lab at the University of Haifa (my beautiful hometown), where I was a research assistant for a year. The lab studies American Sign Language, Israeli Sign Language and a number of emerging sign languages, most famous of which is probably Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language.
2006-2010My BA is from Queen Mary, University of London where I was also a research assistant at the Department of Linguistics and Department of Computer Science, working on a couple of computational linguistics and morphology projects.
2009As an exchange student I also spent a semester at the University of Heidelberg's Institut für Computerlinguistik.