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Michaelis, Laura A Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • Dr. Michaelis's research focus is linguistic creativity, but not the kind that linguists are usually talking about when they use this term. Since the advent of generative linguistics in the 1950s, creativity has been used to refer not to a human faculty but rather to a property of the so-called generative engine, a mechanism that can produce an infinite set of sentences using a finite set of symbols (words) and a finite set of rules of combination (syntax). Dr. Michaelis tries to put humans back into grammatical picture by focusing on what they do best: exploiting the expressive potentials of forms. In particular, she studies how humans adapt grammatical routines to solve commonly encountered communicative problems and how they change the ordinary affordances of words and constructions in the service of wit and verbal dexterity.

keywords

  • construction-based syntax, corpus syntax, lexical semantics, discourse-pragmatics

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • CLAS 1010 - The Study of Words
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Study of English words of Latin and Greek origin, focusing on etymological meaning by analysis of component parts (prefixes, bases, suffixes) and on the ways in which words have changed and developed semantically. No Greek or Latin required. Same as LING 1010.
  • LING 1010 - The Study of Words
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Study of English words of Latin and Greek origin, focusing on etymological meaning by analysis of component parts (prefixes, bases, suffixes) and on the ways in which words have changed and developed semantically. Same as CLAS 1010.
  • LING 5430 - Semantics and Pragmatics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Explores fundamental concepts of semantics and pragmatics, including theories of communication and meaning, representation, conversational implications, speech acts, and discourse structure. Recommended prerequisite: LING 5420.
  • LING 6450 - Syntactic Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Introduces the major constructs used by formal theories of syntax to capture the relationship between meaning and syntactic form and uses data from diverse languages to explore the universality of these constructs.
  • LING 7420 - Syntactic Theory
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Covers various topics in syntactic theory. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours with instructor consent. Recommended prerequisite: LING 5420.

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