Couchsachraga aka dismal wilderness

I am a Chancellor's Fellow in Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh and Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa, where I was Assistant Professor from 2011–14. My main interests are in the architecture and evolution of the language faculty, event structure, locality theory, scope and binding, syntactic change, the history of English and French, quantitative syntactic research, and comparative cognitive science. If you are looking for a supervisor in any of these areas, get in touch. My main nonlinguistic interests are traditional music and hillwalking.

News & Upcoming Events

Congratulations Ivo!

May 2017

Ivaylo Youmerski, an MScR student working with me, Nik Gisborne, and Bettelou Los, has just been awarded an AHRC/SGSAH PhD studentship to conduct corpus-based research on the history of relatives in South Slavic languages. Congratulations!

More talks

May 2017

In a bid to become the Def Leppard of theoretical linguistics, I'll be giving talks on two continents on May 29 (though I'll sadly only be present at one of them). At the CLA in Toronto, Schuyler Laparle will be presenting our joint work on the meaning of just, and at the LEL PG conference in Edinburgh, I'll be talking on ‘the dissertation experience’

I've just caught up and added several other recent talks: on Matching Relatives in Middle English (UCL and York), diachronic syntax with and without parsed corpora (CLiS, Edinburgh), that (Cambridge, better than it sounds if I do say so myself), correlatives (SHES, Amsterdam, with Nik Gisborne), and bonobos (Ghent).

Kanzi paper out in September

May 2017

A mere nine years after I started work on it, my paper on Kanzi's lack of syntactic comprehension is slated for inclusion in the September 2017 issue of Mind and Language.

Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax

May 2017

Coming soon! Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax (OUP, edited with Eric Mathieu) will be out on July 13!

New drafts

April 2017

Recently added: the first paper on the Parsed Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English (with Rhona Alcorn, James Donaldson, and Joel Wallenberg, slated for inclusion in an EUP volume Historical Dialectology in the Digital Age), and a work-in-progress draft on the no-agent-idioms effect and object experiencer predicates.

 
 

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

[1]

Truswell, Robert, Rhona Alcorn, James Donaldson, and Joel Wallenberg (2017). A Parsed Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English. Under revision, to appear in Rhona Alcorn, Bettelou Los, Joanna Kopaczyk, and Benjamin Molineaux (eds.), Historical Dialectology in the Digital Age, Edinburgh University Press.

[2]

Mathieu, Eric and Robert Truswell (eds) (2017). Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax. In press, OUP. See preprints of the table of contents, the Intro (Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell), and Where do relative specifiers come from? (Robert Truswell and Nikolas Gisborne).

[3]

Truswell, Robert (2017). Dendrophobia in bonobo comprehension of spoken English. In press, Mind and Language.

[4]

Truswell, Robert (2016). Review of Evolutionary Syntax, by Ljiljana Progovac. Journal of Language Evolution 1:168–170.

[5]

Truswell, Robert and Nikolas Gisborne (2015). Quantificational variability and the genesis of English headed wh-relatives. In Eva Csipak and Hedde Zeijlstra (eds.) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 19, pp.639–656.

 
 

Recent Presentations

[1]

Truswell, Robert (2017). Bonobos, children, and fear of trees. Invited colloquium talk, Universiteit Gent.

[2]

Gisborne, Nikolas, and Robert Truswell (2017). On the stubborn refusal of English grammar to generate multiple correlatives. Symposium on the History of English Syntax, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

[3]

Truswell, Robert (2017). What's that? Invited talk, DAAD–Cambridge workshop on Complementizers and the left periphery, University of Cambridge.

[4]

Truswell, Robert (2016). Diachronic syntax with and without parsed corpora. Keynote talk, Corpus Linguistics in Scotland workshop, University of Edinburgh.

[5]

Truswell, Robert (2016). Synchronic theory and semantic change: Matching relatives in Middle English. Invited colloquium talk, University of York.