Research & Background
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.
Chaves, R. P. (in press) "On the disunity of Right-Node Raising phenomena"
Language, pp. 63.
Chaves, R. P. and J. E. Dery 2013 "Which subject islands will the
acceptability of improve with repeated exposure?"
In R. E. Santana-LaBarge (edt), 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, Arizona State University.
- 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"
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. 4767.
Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Chaves, R. P. and J. E. Dery 2009 "Complexity,
ellipsis and agreement puzzles in NP
Poster in AMLAP 2009, 15th Annual Conference on Architectures and
Mechanisms for Language Processing. Barcelona, Spain.
Chaves, R. P. 2008 "Linearization-based
- Linguistics and Philosophy, 31(3): 261307.
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. 4664. Stanford University.
Chaves, R. P. 2007 "Dynamic model checking for
discourse representation structures
In J. Geertzen, E. Thijsse, H. Bunt, and A. Schiffrin (ed.),
7th International Workshop on Computational Semantics,
pp. 2840. Tilburg University, The Netherlands.