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Itamar Kastner | איתמר קסטנר

['ʔiɾəmɒɹ 'kæstnəɹ]

[News 10/2017: Upcoming poster on biases in artificial language learning at NELS 48 (with Tal Linzen).]
[News 9/2017: The program for SelectionFest 2017 in Berlin (November 10-11) is now up.]
[News 9/2017: Thanks to everyone who came to our SLE workshop on the morpheme!]
[News 8/2017: New paper on paradigm gaps with Vera Zu has appeared in Morphology.]
[News 8/2017: New paper on reflexive verbs has appeared in Glossa.]
[News 7/2017: New modeling paper with Frans Adriaans has appeared in Cognitive Science.]

I'm a postdoctoral researcher in Artemis Alexiadou's Research Unit on (Experimental) Syntax and Heritage Languages at the Humboldt University, Berlin. My CV is available here.

In June 2016 I filed my dissertation, Form and Meaning in the Hebrew Verb, at NYU's department of linguistics, where my advisor was Alec Marantz.

My main interest lies in morphology, crosslinguistically and across modalities, signed and spoken. At NYU I split my time between the Morphology Research Group, where I did theoretical and computational morphosyntax and morphophonology, and the Marantz Morphology Lab, where I worked on neural correlates of morphological processing in Hebrew and English. I was also affiliated with the Pylkkänen Neurolinguistics Lab, working on semantic composition in English, Arabic and American Sign Language.

The links at the top of the page will tell you more about my academic activities: research, publications, resources and links.

What I do: an explanation for non-linguists

Linguistic theory tells us that single words and full sentences are built and processed in similar ways. In what way are the two similar and how are they different? This is the main question that guides my research, and there are a few ways we can answer it. (1) We can get an idea of how language works in our mind by looking at well-studied languages (English, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese) and by considering languages many people have never heard of (Limbu, Biak). How do all these languages match up against each other? Does one have unique structures which the others do not? (2) We can also study the various sign languages of the Deaf, which are natural languages just like any other: if they're similar to spoken languages, that means there's something very basic to language that we can identify. If they're different, that means some parts of language aren't necessary for all humans. (3) By tracking neural activity going on inside the brain, we can identify specific parts of language in the brain and see to what extent they are shared with other cognitive abilities and to what extent they are unique to language.
So yeah, I study language.

So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

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