Rui P. Chaves
Associate Professor
Department of Linguistics :: University at Buffalo

Office: 604 Baldy Hall
Address:   609 Baldy Hall, Buffalo NY 14260–1030
Phone: (716) 645–0133

My research focuses on natural language syntax and its interface with semantics: the study of sentence structure and of the rules that allow speakers to produce and understand complex utterances. I am particularly interested in one of the strangest hallmarks of human language: words that go together in meaning can often occur very far away from each other (for example, as in sentences like This is [something] that most geneticists think about _ but never consider the implications of _). Such long-distance dependencies are subject to various constraints, and interact differently with different types of sentence to yield complex and theoretically challenging patterns. One of my main goals is to arrive at more comprehensive formal models of the behavioral linguistic data by parceling out which constraints are due to syntax, semantics, pragmatics and cognition.
   I am interested in grammatical theory, specially in the construction of formally explicit models of language that are consistent with what is known about human cognition and computational tractability. I have specialized in formally explicit constraint-based grammatical frameworks like HPSG and SBCG because their surface-driven nature allows them to be compatible with psycholinguistic models of language comprehension and production. The formal explicitness of surface-oriented theories also allows the implementation of efficient large-scale computational grammars, which are useful for language processing technology (such as question answering and automatic translation), and for grammar comparison and hypothesis testing. Before coming to UB, I was a visiting researcher at CSLI (2004–2007), and prior to that I was an assistant researcher at CLUL.

Representative publications
Chaves, R. P. 2014 "On the disunity of Right-Node Raising phenomena: extraposition, ellipsis, and deletion"
Language, 90(4), 1–53.

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 "Conjunction, cumulation and respectively readings"
Journal of Linguistics, 48(2), 297–344.

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

Chaves, R. P. 2010 "Crash-free syntax and crash phenomena in model-theoretic grammar"
In Michael T. Putnam (ed.), Exploring Crash-Proof Grammars (Language Faculty and Beyond), pp. 269–298. John Benjamins.

Chaves, R. P. 2009 "Construction-based cumulation and adjunct extraction"
In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, Goettingen, Germany, pp. 47–67. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Chaves, R. P. 2008 "Linearization-based word-part ellipsis"
Linguistics and Philosophy, 31(3): 261–307.

Chaves, R. P. and D. Paperno 2007 "On the Russian hybrid coordination construction"
In Stefan Müller (ed.), Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, pp. 46–64. Stanford University.

Last modified: Oct 12 2014