We examine syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and prosodic constraints on negative concord and double negation in French and French Based Creoles in comparison to other negative dependencies like Negative Polarity Items (NPI). In collaboration with Sabine Ploux, we also use dynamic corpus tools to explore the historical emergence of negative meaning in French Negative Concord Expressions words (NCI).

Collaborators: Anne Cheylus, L2C2, CNRS, Susagna Tubau, Maria Teresa Espinal - University Autonoma de Barcelona, Fabiola Henri, University of Kentucky. Pierre Larrivée


What is the meaning of 'the' ? Although determiners (like 'the' and 'a') are among the most frequently used words in languages that have them, characterizing their meaning and the complex nature of their use is far from obvious. In this project, we explore the acquisition of determiners by second language learners and compare the factors at play in this acquisition with those at play with the emergence of determiner systems in Creole languages. The focus is on the acquisition of French determiners and their absence and emergence in French based creoles.

Collaborators: Petra Sleeman - University of Amsterdam, Akima Guella, Mostari Hind, Asya Achimova - Rutgers. Emanuel Shang - Université


This project explores the syntax semantic and intontation of distinct types of questions. In collaboration with Kristen Syrett and Shigeto Kawahara, we investigate the interactions between syntax, prosody and discourse in French wh-in situ questions.

In collaboration with Asya Achimova and Julien Musolino, we investigate the interaction of questions with quantifiers and the factors that license pair-list readings in adult and child speakers.

Collaborators: Kristen Syrett - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Shiegto Kawahara - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, J. Musolino - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Asya Achimova -

Language and the Motor system

Investigating whether the structure of simple common motor actions could have anything in common with the structure of simple common sentences, this project seeks to deepen current understanding of embodied cognition.

Collaborators: Aurore Curie - Laboratory on Language, Brain and Cognition, Tatiana Nazir - Laboratory on Language, Brain and Cognition, Pia Aravena -Laboratory on Language, Brain, and Cognition. Alice Roy.

Creole syntax