What kind of knowledge must speakers possess in order to produce and understand utterances? How is this knowledge organized, and how does it interact with other types of information during sentence processing? My research focuses on how sentence structure is linked to sentence meaning, with specific interest in unbounded dependency constructions, coordination, ellipsis, and linearization. I have specialized in surface-driven, construction-based, non-derivational grammatical frameworks such as HPSG/SBCG, and use corpora and controlled psycholinguistic experimentation to determine the division of labor between syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and cognition in shaping complex phenomena and their exceptions. I am particularly interested in how probabilistic information influences sentence processing and acceptability, and how it can explain complex idiosyncratic patterns.

PhD Supervision

  • Park, SangHee (in progress) Gapping and Discourse Coherence, University at Buffalo.

  • Jin, Dawei 2016 The Semantic-Pragmatics Interface and Island Constraints in Chinese, University at Buffalo.

  • Wetta, Andrew C. 2014 Construction-based Approaches to Flexible Word Order, University at Buffalo.

  • Selected publications

  • Chaves, R. P. 2016 "Freezing as a probabilistic phenomenon" Unpublished manuscript, pp.25.

  • Chaves, R. P. 2014 "On the disunity of Right-Node Raising phenomena: extraposition, ellipsis, and deletion" Language, 90(4), 834–886.

  • Chaves, R. P. and J. E. Dery 2014 "Which subject islands will the acceptability of improve with repeated exposure?" In R. E. Santana-LaBarge (edt), 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, pp. 96–106. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

  • Chaves, R. P. 2013 "An expectation-based account of subject islands and parasitism" Journal of Linguistics, 49(2), pp. 285–327.

  • Chaves, R. P. 2012 "On the grammar of extraction and coordination" Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 30(2), 465–512.

  • Chaves, R. P. 2012 "Conjunction, cumulation and respectively readings" Journal of Linguistics, 48(2), 297–344.