What kind of knowledge must speakers possess in order to produce and understand utterances? How is this linguistic knowledge organized, and how does it interact with other types of information during sentence processing? Although human language is complex and ambiguous,
speakers usually process language very rapidly and effortlessly, which suggests that language relies on probabilistic information. My research focuses on how sentence structure
is linked to sentence meaning, with particular interest on unbounded dependency constructions.
I use corpora and controlled psycholinguistic experimentation to determine what is the division of labor between syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and cognition in such phenomena.
I have also focused on other topics, involving coordination, ellipsis, extraposition, and linearization.
More broadly, I am interested in grammatical theory, specially in formally explicit models of language that are consistent with what is known about human cognition and computational tractability.
I have specialized in constraint-based grammatical frameworks
like HPSG and SBCG because their surface-driven nature
is compatible with psycholinguistic
of language comprehension and production
here for more discussion, and see
for an example), and because
the formal explicitness of such surface-oriented theories allows the
implementation of efficient large-scale computational
grammars, useful not only for improving language
processing technology and benefiting society at large
(e.g. translation and question answering systems), but also for research purposes such
as grammar comparison, consistency checking, 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.
Chaves, R. P. 2016 "Freezing as a
Unpublished manuscript, pp.25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"
of Linguistics, 48(2), 297–344.
Park, SangHee (ongoing) Gapping and Discourse Coherence, University at
Jin, Dawei 2016 The
Interface and Island Constraints in Chinese, University at
Wetta, Andrew C. 2014 Construction-based Approaches to Flexible Word Order, University at Buffalo.
HPSG & Workshop on Understudied Languages and Syntactic Theory