Dissertation: (2013, University of Chicago)

Cross-linguistic variation in the semantics of comparatives

Papers: (some are linked to Semantics Archive; for the others, contact me for a copy)

(submitted) The Degree Semantics Parameter and cross-linguistic variation. Submitted to Semantics and


(to appear) Investigating gradable predicates, comparison, and degree constructions in underrepresented
Under review for Methodologies in Semantic Fieldwork, M. Ryan Bochnak and Lisa

        Matthewson, eds. (with Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten)

(to appear) Intensification without degrees cross-linguistically. To appear in Natural Language and

        Lingusitic Theory. (with Andrea Beltrama)

(2013) Scale exhaustivity and the Modification Condition. In Anca Chereches and Todd Snider (eds.),

        Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 23, 116-135. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

(2013) The non-universal status of degrees: Evidence from Washo. In Stefan Keine and Shayne Slogget

        (eds.), Proceedings of the North-East Linguistic Society (NELS) 42, 79-92. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

(2013) Limited noun incorporation in Washo. International Journal of American Linguistics 79(2): 253-281.

        (with Alice Rhomieux)

(2013) Two sources of scalarity within the verb phrase. In Boban Arsenijević, Berit Gehrke and Rafael

        Marín (eds.), Studies in the Composition and Decomposition of Event Predicates, 99-123. Dordrecht:


(2012) Managing vagueness, imprecision and loose talk in Washo: the case of šemu. In Elizabeth Bogal-

        Allbritten (ed.) Proceedings of Semantics of Underrepresented Languages of the Americas (SULA) 6, 1-14.

        Amherst, MA: GLSA.

(2011) Copula agreement and the stage-level/individual-level distinction in Washo. (with Timothy

        Grinsell and Alan Yu) In Alexis Black and Meagan Louie (eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on the

        Structure and Constituency of Languages of the Americas, 1-10. Vancouver: UBCWPL.

(2010) Quantity and gradability across categories. 2010. In Nan Li and David Lutz (eds.), Proceedings of

        Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 20, 251-268. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

(2010) Promiscuous modification and cross-categorial scale structure. 2010. In Iksoo Kwon, Hannah

        Pritchett and Justin Spence (eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics

        25-36. Berkeley: BLS.

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Visiting Assistant Professor

Department of Linguistics

University of California, Berkeley

1203 Dwinelle Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720-2650 USA

bochnak at berkeley dot edu


My research interests lie mainly in linguistic semantics, with a strong focus on cross-linguistic variation, language documentation, and semantic fieldwork. My work so far has involved the documentation and analysis of Washo, an endangered Amerindian language spoken in Northern California and Nevada. Together with researchers at the University of Chicago, I am involved in the development of interactive electronic resources for the preservation, analysis, and teaching of the Washo language. I have also done fieldwork on Luganda, a Bantu language of Uganda.

The theoretical side of my research investigates the ways in which linguistic meanings can vary across typologically diverse languages. Given that nearly half of the world’s languages are in danger of becoming extinct within the next century, the study of endangered languages like Washo and underrepresented languages like Luganda is critical for our understanding of the nature of human languages, its cognitive underpinnings, and the community knowledge associated with them.

My work to date has largely focused on gradability and comparison. I am interested in the manifestation of gradability in a cross-categorial perspective, specifically in how it is implicated in temporal, aspectual, a modal systems. I have also worked on the syntax and semantics of copula clauses, noun incorporation, and bipartite verb constructions in Washo.

My full CV (pdf)

Link to my papers on Semantics Archive