Syntacticians and semanticists at Berkeley are committed to making contributions to contemporary linguistic theory that are grounded in rigorous empirical work. Faculty and graduate students are actively involved in the in-depth study of individual languages — many of which are understudied and require on-site fieldwork.

A hallmark of the Berkeley program is its emphasis on the study of syntax as it relates to semantics, pragmatics, morphology, and the lexicon. Faculty and students today work within a number of different theoretical frameworks, including minimalism, formal semantics, and distributed morphology. In addition, research on syntax and semantics at Berkeley is enriched by historical, typological, and cognitive approaches, promoting a well-informed view of language as a whole.


Peter Jenks teaching
Peter Jenks teaching a graduate syntax course, 2014

Amy Rose Deal, Line Mikkelsen, and others at SULA 9
Amy Rose Deal and Line Mikkelsen (center), with Maziar Toosarvandani (UC Santa Cruz), Justin Spence (UC Davis), and Sarah Murray (Cornell), at SULA 9 (Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas), 2016
Katie Sardinha
Katie Sardinha presenting an invited paper at SULA 9 (Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas), 2016

I-Hsuan Chen at LSA 2016
I-Hsuan Chen presenting a poster at the LSA Annual Meeting, 2016