I am a PhD candidate in linguistics at McGill University in Montréal, QC, Canada. My research interests span several different topics in theoretical and experimental semantics and pragmatics, including:
Intonation: I am interested in how intonation affects interpretation. My colleagues and I have found experimental support for the claim that intonation affects the interpretation of yes/no responses to negative polar questions in English. Read about it here. Rising intonation played a prominent role in these studies, so we became curious about English rising intonations in general: How many are there? Do they appear in distinct contexts? Do they elicit distinct interpretations from naive listeners? A paper on this topic is forthcoming, but you can visualize and listen to data that we have collected here. We are currently expanding the project by looking at intonation in French.
Bias and evidence in polar questions: Studying the strange behavior of polar particles in response to negative polar questions in English got me interested in the interpretation of polar questions themselves. Why do some polar questions convey that the speaker expects one of the answers to be true? Why is negation allowed in polar questions in some contexts, but not others? Is there a relationship between the answers to the two preceding questions? This research is ongoing.
Epistemic modality: What are the felicity conditions on the use of epistemic must? Does a must p utterance entail p? Is there an evidential constraint on the use of epistemic must? I have recently been engaged in arguing that the answer to the last question is "no", and that this answer has an impact on the answers to the first two questions. You can read about it here.
Besides research, I enjoy teaching and serving the departmental community. Beyond academia, I like to spend time with my wife, Rebecca Fishow, write and sing songs, hike, rock climb, visit friends, and I'm trying desperately to take up running, which I've heard is good for you. (I now begrudgingly accept that it is true, though I'm still skeptical about running in the winter. Maybe I can replace it with cross-country skiing, which I think is the cat's pajamas.)