Tim HunterAssistant Professor
Institute of Linguistics
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
timh at umn dot edu
I construct formal characterisations of the syntax and semantics of natural language. My starting point for this line of research was an interest in the argument/adjunct distinction and the extent to which explanations for puzzling syntactic patterns might derive from the ways arguments and adjuncts contribute to neo-Davidsonian logical forms. This was the focus of my dissertation. The system I developed there makes interesting connections, which I've been investigating more recently, with other topics such as remnant movement, redundancies between merge and move, and extraposition.
Along with Paul Pietroski, Jeff Lidz, and Justin Halberda, I'm studying the semantics of quantificational words like 'most'. Based on careful consideration of how linguistic meaning interacts with other cognitive systems (e.g. psychology of number, visual perception), results of our studies indicate that linguistic meaning is not entirely divorced from verification procedures in the way that is implicitly assumed by much standard practice in semantics.
I've also done some experiments, with Jeff Lidz and others, looking at four- and five-year-olds' learning of determiner meanings. The aim of this work is to see how closely the learner's hypothesis space of available determiner meanings reflects existing typological generalisations, such as the restriction to conservative determiner meanings.
I'm originally from Sydney, Australia but moved to the US for graduate school in 2005. As an undergraduate I studied mainly computer science and French, but towards the end I became more interested in linguistics.
In Sydney I studied at the University of New South Wales from 2000-2004, mainly in the School of Computer Science and Engineering (where I also did some teaching) and the French and Linguistics departments. Most of my involvement with linguistics was with Mengistu Amberber. I also spent a semester on exchange at Ecole des Mines d'Ales, France, in 2002-03.
In my spare time I was what's known in Australia as a "cricket tragic" (a fanatical follower of the game) and also a founding member of the STALW indoor cricket team. I still generally make it back to Sydney for the annual Test match in January, but in between my cricket exposure is sadly fairly sparse.
In my not-so-spare time I was a proud member of the small software development team at Brain Juice.
If you would like a one-minute introduction to Australia, have a look at this (although we don't actually drink that stuff).