Me teaching A video introducing linguistics to first-year college students

Tim Hunter

Associate Professor
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Los Angeles

Office: 3103K Campbell Hall

timhunter at ucla dot edu

Curriculum Vitae

Recent and upcoming:


Generative Capacity of Linguistic Formalisms

Effects of Phonological Constraints at the Sentence Level

Integrating Grammars into Cognitive Models

I am interested in developing new ways of testing grammatical hypotheses by integrating them into "larger-scale" theories of things like language processing or language acquisition.

One thread involves probabilistic models and information-theoretic complexity metrics. See also my course at ESSLLI in 2015 for the big picture here.

And along separate but complementary lines:

This handbook chapter reviews much of the formal background relevant to the papers above:


At some point my theoretical work veered, somewhat unexpectedly, in the direction of ellipsis. (It's mostly Masaya Yoshida's fault.) One interesting common thread to the discoveries in the papers below is that they involve sluicing-like constructions that are sensitive to quite global properties of the antecedent of ellipsis, not just the immediate local surroundings of the remnant phrase.

The Syntax and Semantics of Adjuncts

My starting point for this line of research was an interest in the argument/adjunct distinction and the extent to which explanations for puzzling syntactic patterns might derive from the ways arguments and adjuncts contribute to neo-Davidsonian logical forms. This was the focus of my dissertation. The system I developed there turns out to make interesting connections with other topics such as remnant movement, redundancies between merge and move, and extraposition.

Verification and Acquisition of Quantification/Determiners

Along with Paul Pietroski, Jeff Lidz, and Justin Halberda, I'm studying the semantics of quantificational words like 'most'. Based on careful consideration of how linguistic meaning interacts with other cognitive systems (e.g. psychology of number, visual perception), results of our studies indicate that linguistic meaning is not entirely divorced from verification procedures in the way that is implicitly assumed by much standard practice in semantics.

I've also done some experiments, with Jeff Lidz and others, looking at four- and five-year-olds' learning of determiner meanings. The aim of this work is to see how closely the learner's hypothesis space of available determiner meanings reflects existing typological generalisations, such as the restriction to conservative determiner meanings.

Other odds and ends


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