Syntax research at Stanford is focused on the development of theoretical models that yield insight into the complexity of word and sentence structure in human language.
Our department’s breadth of coverage — in semantics, pragmatics, phonology, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics, among others — enables research that takes seriously the interaction between syntax and these domains, drawing insight from observations that emerge from in-depth work in each one. This approach unearths otherwise hidden and sometimes surprising connections, and it encourages us to consider how our investigations must ultimately fit into a consistent framework of understanding. Reflecting the Stanford Department of Linguistics’ longstanding commitment to empirical depth and breadth, these undertakings are informed by numerous sources of evidence, including in-depth fieldwork with native speakers, experimental and corpus investigations. A diverse range of languages is studied by faculty and students; this includes a strong focus on the Turkic, Balkan, Indo-Aryan, Austronesian, and Slavic languages.
Faculty and students working on syntax take part in varied and often collaborative research projects and activities, frequently crossing subdisciplinary boundaries. The Syntax and Morphology Circle (SMircle) provides a forum for local and visiting scholars to share the results of in-progress research, and the Crosslinguistic Investigations in Syntax-Phonology (CrISP) group meets on an ad hoc basis to discuss problems of interest at the syntax-phonology interface. There are also working groups dedicated to psycholinguistic inquiry, grammar engineering, and to problems at the intersection with computational linguistics. Ongoing projects include: