Research in Progress
Warning! I recently moved this website; so far most of the links below don't work yet.
Here are are some recent unpublished drafts. Everything is subject to change. This is very much work in progress and I appreciate comments!
* If the distribution of a word is unusually free, or unusually distinctive, does that provide a cue to its meaning? Here's a term paper I did with Sam Bowman on that topic for Stanford's Natural Language Understanding class in 2012. It turns out that you can identify animate nouns pretty reliably given the freedom of their distribution!
* I've been trying to tackle grammaticalization, modelling semantic bleaching as blocking in a discrimination learning paradigm. This lets me make a novel prediction about the emergence of the English future tense be going to V around 1600. Check it out! This was a term paper for Elizabeth Traugott's class on Constructionalization.
* I've tried to show how the Accessibility Hierarchy, a typological generalization about what positions can undergo wh-extraction in relative clauses, might reflect general patterns in information structure. Here's what I've done so far.
* I've been examining Mandarin noun classifiers to determine if more infrequent words tend to appear with more informative classifiers (thus smoothing the entropy rate, etc.). No writeup about this yet, but the initial results look promising!
Stephanie Shih, Jason Grafmiller, Richard Futrell, and Joan Bresnan. 2012. Rhythm's role in the genitive construction choice in spoken English. In Rhythm in Phonetics, Grammar and Cognition, ed. Ralf Vogel and Ruben van de Vijver, in the series Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs (TiLSM), Mouton.
* Richard Futrell. 2012. Expecting the unexpected: how discourse expectations can reverse predictability effects in reading time. Presented at Stanford's QP Fest. [pdf of Master's thesis]
* Richard Futrell and Hannah Rohde. 2012. Expecting the unexpected: how discourse expectations can reverse predictability effects in reading time. Poster presented at CUNY 2012.
* Richard Futrell and Michael Ramscar. 2012. German grammatical gender contributes to communicative efficiency. Presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Portland.
* Richard Futrell and Michael Ramscar. 2011. German grammatical gender manages nominal entropy. Poster presented at the Workshop on Information-Theoretic Approaches to Linguistics, July, University of Colorado, Boulder. [abstract, poster]
* Michael Ramscar and Richard Futrell. 2011. The predictive function of prenominal adjectives. Poster presented at the Workshop on Information-Theoretic Approaches to Linguistics, July, University of Colorado, Boulder. [abstract, poster]
* Richard Futrell, Dan Jurafsky, and Michael Ramscar. 2010. German noun class as a nominal protection device. Stanford Linguistics Honors Thesis presentation. [pdf of Senior thesis]
* Stephanie Shih, Jason Grafmiller, Richard Futrell, and Joan Bresnan. 2009. Rhythm's role in the genitive construction choice in spoken English. 31st Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Sprachwissenschaft: Rhythm beyond the word. Osnabruck, Germany.
Laura Staum Casasanto, Richard Futrell, and Ivan A. Sag. 2009. Parallels between production and comprehension of multiple that: What's good for the goose... Poster presented at the 22nd Annual CUNY Conference on Sentence Processing. March. UC Davis. [draft poster]
Laura Staum Casasanto, Richard Futrell, and Ivan A. Sag. 2008. Extra complementizers increase syntactic predictability. Poster presented at the 14th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing. Cambridge, UK. [poster]
(* = presented in person)