Phil Branigan - Associate Professor and Head


I am a syntactician, so I obsess over how different languages use different word orders and inflections to express similar ideas. Most of my active research falls into two broad categories: syntactic theory and Algonquian linguistics. They aren't mutually exclusive, but when I'm focused on Algonquian, I'm often investigating the factors which control word order and agreement in Innu-aim√Ľn. Much of my work on Algonquian is done with my Memorial colleagues: Marguerite MacKenzie, Julie Brittain, and Carrie Dyck. I'm a collaborator in the Julie-led Chisasibi Child Language Acquisition Study.

Recently, my examination of Algonquian verbal morphology has led me to pay attention to the more abstract question of what syntactic parameters are, and how learnability issues are manifested in languages of the Algonquian type. This, in turn, is provoking me to examine how specific marked transformations such as multiple and long head-movement are employed to different extents in different languages and language families.

Recently, Doug Wharram and I have begun to examine how labelling operations and quantificational semantics interact in the interpretation of Inuktitut indefinites.

Much of my pure syntactic research over the past few years is consolidated in Provocative Syntax. I've also published work on the nature of ergativity (with Jonathan Bobaljik) and on quotative inversion (with Chris Collins).

Phil Branigan
Associate Professor and Head

Department of Linguistics
Memorial University
St. John's, NL
Canada A1B 3X9

Office: SN-3050C
Phone: (709) 864-3017
Fax: (709) 864-4000
Email: prefix: branigan
  root: @mun
  suffix: ca