Linguistics (2017 cohort)
I am a DPhil candidate reading General Linguistics at the University of Oxford. As part of my doctoral research, I investigate the principles and operations used by the human mind to assemble complex words out of smaller units of sound and meaning.
The questions I pursue include the following: Does the structure of words obey the same linguistic laws as the structure of sentences? What is the relationship between the structure of words and their interpretation? How are simple and complex words associated with grammatical concepts, on the one hand, and with conceptual knowledge, on the other?
In order to address these questions, I look at the expression of events in Slavic and Germanic languages, with particular emphasis on my native Polish. I examine how verbs and particles encode culminated, iterated and ongoing events. I also inquire about the grammatical source of the event interpretation: Is it the verbal category or something more abstract? The ultimate goal is to develop an explicit model of how a hierarchical representation of meaning is mapped onto a sequence of prefixes, roots and suffixes, and what this can tell us about the underlying structure of human language and thought.