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.
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.