Igor Yanovich

postdoctoral researcher at Universität Tübingen

PhD granted by MIT in the summer of 2013

University of Tübingen

Institute of Linguistics

Wilhelmstraße 19

72074 Tübingen, Germany

igor.yanovich at uni-tuebingen dot de

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Recent and upcoming talks

Research

My primary specialization is in formal semantics. Some of my semantic projects also involve philosophy of language, mathematical logic, historical linguistics and corpus linguistics. My dissertation is on modality. The recent and ongoing projects on modality that are not a part of the dissertation are described here. Over the years, I have also worked on expressive power of backwards-looking operators like "now", de re attitudes, gender presuppositions of anaphoric pronouns, and indefinites.

From Oct 2013 to Jan 2014, I work a postdoc in the EVOLAEMP project led by Gerhard Jäger. The overall aim of the project is to develop robust computational methods for analyzing language genetic relationships. My current subproject within EVOLAEMP is to investigate whether inflectional and derivational paradigms may be extracted automatically, with no expert supervision, from raw text corpora with enough precision to use them for large-scale linguistic phylogeny recovery. If this is possible, that would be an improvement on the current methodologies which involve comparison of individual dictionary forms of cognate words rather than of full paradigms.

Since Feb 2014, I will stay at the University of Tübingen working on a 1.5-year project on automatic recovery of information interesting for formal semanticists from relatively small-sized corpora of historical data and of underrepresented languages. The project is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation.

My fascination with modern phonology led me to do some work on mathematical Optimality Theory and, with Donca Steriade, on Base Priority effects in inflectional morphology on Ukrainian and Russian data.

Selected papers are described below, grouped by topic. The CV contains the full list.

Lecture handouts may be found here.

Dissertation: Four pieces for modality, context and usage
My dissertation consists of four largely independent chapters on the semantics of different modals united by the common methodology of studying modal statements with a focus on their extralinguistic, practical context, and their history in a language.

What is good in the dissertation would not have existed without my MIT teachers and advisors, who helped me become the researcher I am today. The direct influence of my dissertation advisors Kai von Fintel, Irene Heim and Sabine Iatridou on the text would be evident for the reader. But beyond that, without their help and support over all my five years at MIT, I would not have grown into a linguist capable of conducting the projects reported in the dissertation. It is primarily thanks to Kai, Irene and Sabine that I learned to be guided by empirical data, trying to see beyond my current theoretical convictions, and also to be careful when drawing theoretical inferences from observed phenomena. I am also very grateful to my other MIT teachers, especially to Adam Albright, who served as my registration advisor for all my time at MIT; Donca Steriade, who infected me with excitement about phonology; and Martin Hackl, who taught me a lot of things a teacher needs to know.

Modality
Recent and ongoing projects on the semantics of modality that are not a part of my dissertation include the following:
Modal logic
Counterfactual de re
Gender presuppositions of anaphoric pronouns
Indefinites
Mathematical Optimality Theory
Base Priority effects and inflectional morphology

Teaching materials