BENJAMIN SLADE portrait
  • Associate Professor, Linguistics

Research Summary

My research focuses on formal & historical aspects of linguistics, esp. semantics/syntax. Language interests include South Asia (Sanskrit, Hindi, Sinhala, Nepali, Malayalam etc). Current research projects include syntax & semantics of quantifier particles; aspectual adverbials; algorithmic focus identification & labelling. Past work includes studies of epistemic indefinites, the morphology of Rastafari English, morphological & orthographic innovations in the cyberpunk subculture.

Education

  • PhD, Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. Project: Formal and philological inquiries into the nature of interrogatives, indefinites, disjunction, and focus in Sinhala and other languages
  • MA, Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
  • MA, Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University
  • BA, English, Johns Hopkins University

Biography

Benjamin Slade is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he has been since 2013. He was formerly Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics & TESOL at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2011–2013. He received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in 2011.

His research focuses on formal and historical aspects of linguistics, especially formal semantics and syntax, with areal interests including South Asia (Sanskrit, Hindi, Sinhala, Nepali, Malayalam etc) and the Caribbean (Jamaican Patois, Dread Talk), as well as early Indo-European (especially Indic and Germanic).

His current research projects include investigations of the syntax and semantics of quantifier particles; the inner semantics of aspectual adverbials like "again", "still", "already", "(not) yet"; "(not) anymore" crosslinguistically (including English, German, Hungarian, Hindi, Nepali, Sinhala); a machine-learning approach to automated focus identification and labelling in English and Hindi.

His 2011 thesis examines a variety of linguistic elements which involve "alternative" semantic values---a class arguably including focus, interrogatives, indefinites, and disjunctions---and the connections between these elements---focusses on the analysis of such elements in Sinhala, with comparison to Malayalam, Tlingit, and Japanese, investigating historical change connected to such elements as well as the cross-linguistic distribution, proposing a Hamblin-style semantic treatment to account for commonalities coupled with variation in formal syntactic features (and pragmatic features) to explain variation.

Other past work includes studies of epistemic indefinites in English and Sinhala; the morphosyntax and semantics of verb-verb collocations in South Asian languages, esp. Hindi, Nepali, and Sinhala; the rise and spread of morphological and orthographic innovations in the cyberpunk subculture; and morphological neological processes in Rastafari Dread Talk.

Other Profile Data

Semanticist, philologer, historical and general linguist.