Prof. Leonard Babby lecture in Helsinki 29.10.: Argument Structure, Grammatical Relations, and Morphosyntax

The Department of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Cultures proudly announces the lecture Argument Structure, Grammatical Relations, and Morphosyntax given by Professor Leonard Babby, Princeton University, USA, 29.10. at 10.15 in lecture room 22, Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40B.

Leonard Babby was born in New York City and attended college there. He received his Ph.D. in 1970 from Harvard University, where he was a graduate student in the Slavic Department. The director of his master's thesis was Roman Jakobson; the topic was verbal aspect. He then took courses in linguistics at the MIT, and his Ph.D. dissertation, A Transformational Grammar of Russian Adjectives, published by Mouton, was one of the first analyses of Russian morphosyntax in the generative framework. After two years at Princeton, he accepted a position at Cornell University in the Linguistics Department, where he became a full professor and wrote his second book, Existential Sentences: Negation in Russian (1980). He returned to Princeton in 1991, where he is a member of the Slavic Department and the Linguistics Program, and began his third and most ambitious book, The Syntax of Argument Structure, which is a balanced, integrated derivational theory of morphosyntax; it appeared in 2009 (Cambridge University Press). He has written 55 articles dealing with various aspects of Russian and other languages (especially Turkish). His primary interest is syntactic theory and language universals. He currently works on the Mohawk language, which is a polysynthetic language. His goal is to demonstrate that the theory of morphosyntax proposed in his 2009 book is able to account for the complex verb structure of Mohawk without any modifications to his theory, which is meant to be independent evidence of its explanatory power. The Syntax of Argument Structure is now being translated into Russian and will be published in Moscow next year.