Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
linguistics masthead linguistics masthead
Anthony C. Woodbury, Chair CLA 4.304, Mailcode B5100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1701

John T Beavers

Associate Professor Ph.D., Stanford University

Undergraduate Faculty Advisor and Associate Professor
John T Beavers

Contact

Biography

John Beavers is an Associate Professor of Syntax in the Department of Linguistics at The University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Beavers earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University in 2006.  His research areas are formal syntax and semantics, lexical semantics, and linguistic typology.  He is primarily interested the nature of word meanings, including how word meanings are constructed and represented in the minds of speakers and how a word's meaning determines its grammatical behavior. He has current research projects on argument realization, lexical aspect, resultative constructions, and motion encoding, both within and across languages, including work on English, Spanish, Japanese, and Sinhala.

Interests

Syntax, Lexical Semantics

LIN 372L • Syntax/Sem: Struc/Mean Utternc

40105 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm SAC 5.102
show description

In this course we study the syntax and semantics of human language. Syntaxis concerned with how words are combined to form sentences. Semantics isconcerned with what those sentences mean, and how the meaning of a sentenceis constructed from the meanings of the component words. We will survey andanalyze syntactic and semantic phenomena from a wide variety of the world slanguages. This will reveal interesting patterns lurking within humanlanguages, despite their sometimes chaotic surface appearance. We will alsodiscover surprising similarities across seemingly diverse languages.

LIN 393S • Lexical Semantics

40175 • Spring 2015
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CLA 4.710
show description

The goal of this course is to explore theories of the lexical semantic underpinnings of grammar, focusing on (a) how word meanings can be classified and decomposed, (b) how subcomponents of lexical meaninginteract to form more complex meanings, (c) how lexical meaning determines and is determined by the word's syntactic and morphology properties, and (d) how languages vary in the relationship of lexical meaning and grammar.  The semantic and grammatical properties of verbs, nouns, and adjectives will be especially central, with anemphasis on the truth conditional basis for the link between lexical meaning and grammatical properties and the motivation for and nature of lexical semantic representations. By the end of the course studentsshould be able to read further literature on their own and begin to do research on specific topics in lexical semantics.Prerequisites: Syntax I required; Syntax II and Semantics I recommendedReadings: Readings will be drawn from primary literature

LIN 380L • Syntax I

41165 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GDC 5.304
show description

This course is an introduction to generative syntax for graduate students inlinguistics and other departments. The goal of the course is to explore thestructure of sentences and phrases both within and across languages. We willdo this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulateprecise models of linguistic knowledge that describe and explain theselinguistic structures. We focus primarily the branch of Generative Grammarknown as the Principles and Parameters approach, which has been the mainstayof much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. Topicsto be discussed include: the goals of linguistic theory, the nature ofsyntactic structure, the role of the lexicon, and different modules ofgrammar. The emphasis will be on English, but data from other languages willalso be considered.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

41265 • Fall 2014
Meets W 300pm-600pm PAR 305
show description

Teaching under supervision of the course instructor; weekly group meetings with instructor, individual consultations, and reports throughout the teaching period.

LIN 380L • Syntax I

41395 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 0.106
show description

This course is an introduction to generative syntax for graduate students inlinguistics and other departments. The goal of the course is to explore thestructure of sentences and phrases both within and across languages. We willdo this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulateprecise models of linguistic knowledge that describe and explain theselinguistic structures. We focus primarily the branch of Generative Grammarknown as the Principles and Parameters approach, which has been the mainstayof much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. Topicsto be discussed include: the goals of linguistic theory, the nature ofsyntactic structure, the role of the lexicon, and different modules ofgrammar. The emphasis will be on English, but data from other languages willalso be considered.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

41465 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm CBA 4.338
show description

Teaching under supervision of the course instructor; weekly group meetings with instructor, individual consultations, and reports throughout the teaching period.

LIN 372L • Syntax/Sem: Struc/Mean Utternc

40995 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CBA 4.326
show description

In this course we study the syntax and semantics of human language.Syntax is concerned with how words are combined to form sentences.Semantics is concerned with what those sentences mean, and how themeaning of a sentence is constructed from the meanings of thecomponent words. We will survey and analyze syntactic and semanticphenomena from a wide variety of the world's languages. This willreveal interesting patterns lurking within human languages, despitetheir sometimes chaotic surface appearance. We will also discoversurprising similarities across seemingly diverse languages.  Theultimate goal is to develop a theory of the part of the human languagefaculty that deals with syntax and semantics that can account forthese specific patterns.

LIN 393S • Lexical Semantic Typology

41065 • Spring 2013
Meets W 900am-1200pm WEL 3.260
show description

This class will explore the diversity of ways lexical semanticinformation can be encoded grammatically across languages.  Likelytopics will include the encoding of events of directed motion and thenotion of transitivity and transitivity splits, two areas that havebeen central to the development of the field of lexical semantictypology. Readings will come from both the theoretical syntax andsemantics literature on these topics as well as cross-linguisticstudies.

LIN 380L • Syntax I

40835 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CBA 4.326
show description

This course is an introduction to generative syntax for graduate students inlinguistics and other departments. The goal of the course is to explore thestructure of sentences and phrases both within and across languages. We willdo this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulateprecise models of linguistic knowledge that describe and explain theselinguistic structures. We focus primarily the branch of Generative Grammarknown as the Principles and Parameters approach, which has been the mainstayof much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. Topicsto be discussed include: the goals of linguistic theory, the nature ofsyntactic structure, the role of the lexicon, and different modules ofgrammar. The emphasis will be on English, but data from other languages willalso be considered.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

40930 • Fall 2012
Meets T 330pm-630pm PAR 10
show description

Teaching under supervision of the course instructor; weekly group meetings with instructor, individual consultations, and reports throughout the teaching period.

LIN 372L • Syntax/Sem: Struc/Mean Utternc

40825 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CBA 4.326
show description

In this course we study the syntax and semantics of human language. Syntax is concerned with how words are combined to form sentences. Semantics is concerned with what those sentences mean, and how the meaning of a sentence is constructed from the meanings of the component words. We will survey and analyze syntactic and semantic phenomena from a wide variety of the world s languages. This will reveal interesting patterns lurking within human languages, despite their sometimes chaotic surface appearance. We will also discover surprising similarities across seemingly diverse languages.

LIN 393S • The Minimalist Program

40925 • Spring 2012
Meets W 1200pm-300pm PAR 310
show description

 This course covers background and primary literature in the Minimalist Program, the most recent instantiation of Chomsky's Principles and Parameters approach to syntax. The Minimalist Program represents a departure from earlier work in P&P in that it seeks to reduce grammatical constraints to universal principles of economy and independently motivated interface conditions imposed on the language faculty by articulatory and semantic processing systems. Approximately the first third of the course will involve background reading on the motivations and theoretical assumptions of the Minimalist Program. The remainder of the course will involve reading primary literature on two or three empirical topics of recent interest in the Minimalist Program. The goal of the course is to prepare students for reading literature and/or working in this framework, and more broadly to encourage cross-fertilization of                  ideas between the students' own work and the Minimalist Program, on both theoretical and empirical grounds.

LIN 380L • Syntax I

40765 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CBA 4.326
show description

This course is an introduction to generative syntax for graduate students in linguistics and other departments. The goal of the course is to explore the structure of sentences and phrases both within and across languages. We will do this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulate precise models of linguistic knowledge that describe and explain these linguistic structures. We focus primarily the branch of Generative Grammar known as the Principles and Parameters approach, which has been the mainstay of much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. Topics to be discussed include: the goals of linguistic theory, the nature of syntactic structure, the role of the lexicon, and different modules of grammar. The emphasis will be on English, but data from other languages will also be considered.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

40855 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 300pm-600pm PAR 10
show description

Teaching under supervision of the course instructor; weekly group meetings with instructor, individual consultations, and reports throughout the teaching period.

LIN 372L • Syntax/Sem: Struc/Mean Utternc

41160 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CBA 4.326
show description

In this course we study the syntax and semantics of human language. Syntax
is concerned with how words are combined to form sentences. Semantics is
concerned with what those sentences mean, and how the meaning of a sentence
is constructed from the meanings of the component words. We will survey and
analyze syntactic and semantic phenomena from a wide variety of the world s
languages. This will reveal interesting patterns lurking within human
languages, despite their sometimes chaotic surface appearance. We will also
discover surprising similarities across seemingly diverse languages.

 

Text:

Carnie, Andrew. 2006. Syntax: A Generative Introduction.  2nd Edition. Blackwell.

LIN 393S • Lexical Semantic Typology

41265 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CBA 4.340
show description

This class will explore the diversity of ways lexical semantic information can be encoded across languages.  Likely topics will include the encoding of causation and change-of-state, with a focus on causative/inchoative alternations and related constructions, and the cross-linguistic encoding of possession. Readings will come from both the theoretical syntax and semantics literature on these topics as well as cross-linguistic studies.

LIN 380L • Syntax I

40790 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CBA 4.326
show description

This course is an introduction to generative syntax for graduate students in linguistics and other departments. The goal of the course is to explore the structure of sentences and phrases both within and across languages. We will do this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulate precise models of linguistic knowledge that describe and explain these linguistic structures. We focus primarily the branch of Generative Grammar known as the Principles and Parameters approach, which has been the mainstay of much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. Topics to be discussed include: the goals of linguistic theory, the nature of syntactic structure, the role of the lexicon, and different modules of grammar. The emphasis will be on English, but data from other languages will also be considered.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

40880 • Fall 2010
Meets W 300pm-600pm PAR 10
show description

Teaching under supervision of the course instructor; weekly group meetings with instructor, individual consultations, and reports throughout the teaching period.

LIN 380L • Syntax I

41560 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CBA 4.326
show description

Goals:

The goal of this course is to explore the structure of sentences and the variation across languages in sentence structure.We will do this from the perspective of Generative Grammar, which seeks to formulate precise models of grammar that describe and explain these structures. We focus primarily on an approach to syntax usually referred to as the Principles and Parameters (P&P) approach, which has been the mainstay of much (though by no means all) work in syntax in the last 50 years. The main outcome of this course is two-fold: to understand the goals and methodologies of work in syntax (so that you are able to read primary literature in the field), and also to be in a position to begin doing original research in syntax for those of you who wish to continue on to Syntax II.

 Textbooks:

Carnie, Andrew. 2006. Syntax: A Generative Introduction. 2nd Edition. Blackwell.

Haegeman, Liliane. 1994. Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. 2nd Edition. Blackwell.

 OPTIONAL: Kroeger, Paul R. 2005. Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

We will primarily follow the Carnie book in structure, with supporting readings assigned from Haegeman and Kroeger’s textbooks. For any given reading assignment I recommend reading Carnie first and then Haegeman, who will go into more theoretical depth (but will be less introductory). The Kroeger book is available in e-format from the library. I will also put a hard copy on reserves. We may look at some additional readings in the classic or primary literature on specific issues; these will be distributed in class, through Blackboard, or through e-reserves.

 Requirements and Expectations:

Graduate standing required (except by my permission). There are no prerequisites for this course. Regular attendance and participation are strongly encouraged. Please be advised that you are responsible

for knowing everything that is said in class, whether you are there or not. Thus if you choose not to attend any given lecture, you should get notes from your classmates. There will be weekly assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. Homeworks will be handed out on Thursday and hardcopies are due the following Thursday. I’ll do my best to get them back to you the following Tuesday. Homeworks and exams will consist of problem sets, with three types of problems:

Technical problems (e.g. diagramming sentences) 

Short answer application of theory to language data

Argumentation problems, written in prose like an essay (with intro, body, and conclusion)

We will be developing a rigorous, formal theory of sentence structure and meaning in this class. For technical problems it is important to pay careful attention to detail, so that you do not end up saying something you do not mean. For argumentation problems, you will need to provide a clear, well-written argument for some specific proposal, grounded in the relevant data and also in the theoretical assumptions we make. All homeworks and exams must be typed and spell-checked (exception: sentence diagrams are hard to do on a computer, so you may hand draw these).

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 398T • Supv Teaching In Linguistics

41670 • Fall 2009
Meets W 300pm-600pm PAR 10
show description

Goals:

The goal of this course is to learn about teaching in general and teaching in linguistics. The outcome is to to develop a set of resources to help you embark on your teaching careers, as well as some consciousness raising about issues that may arise in the future. Those of you currently teaching will hopefully find immediately useful practical advice. 

Requirements and Evaluation:

Attendance is mandatory, as is class participation. Part of the course involves doing some out of class work (observing faculty teachers, perusing UT web resources for teaching) and reporting on what you saw in class. Everyone will also develop a syllabus (ostensibly for LIN312, even if you’re not submitting it), which we will workshop in class. We will use one class session to have a “micro-teaching” session, where everyone is videotaped teaching for 3-4 minutes and we have a

round table discussion. Likewise, we will use the final weeks to workshop teaching statements as part of our discussion on teaching portfolios (something you will need to produce when going on

the job market). The final grade will be based partly on your class participation and partly on your submitted syllabi and portfolios. The participation and written materials will count about equally.

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 392 • Minimalist Syntax

40650 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 930-1100 BUR 128
show description

            Across the field of linguistics, more and more scholars are using experiments to investigate linguistic issues, and to provide evidence that stands up to skeptical scrutiny. This course is a hands-on introduction to how one does this. Students will design and run two small-scale experiments on any linguistic issue they choose: a production experiment oriented toward the speaker, and a corresponding reception experiment oriented toward the listener. The topic of the research can be in any area of linguistics, and involve any particular language.

            We will work through the process of doing an experiment step by step from the beginning:

  • Coming up with a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Formulating and submitting a human subjects research proposal
  • Recording speech
  • Doing acoustic measurements using Praat
  • Synthesizing speech using Praat
  • Presenting stimuli
  • Running the experiment
  • Doing basic statistical analysis in R
  • Presenting results of experimental work - orally and in print.

          In order to learn how your work can be interpreted and evaluated, we will read and critique published work from the experimental literature in various areas of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, language processing, sociolinguistics, and language change. The readings will be made available in electronic form.

          The grade for the course will be based on two short papers presenting the results from the two pilot experiments.

          The course is open to any graduate student.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed journal articles:

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. (In press). Complications in Diagnosing Lexical Meaning:  A Rejoinder to Horvath and Siloni (2013)Lingua. [Reply to Horvath and Siloni 2013].

Beavers, John. (2013). Aspectual Classes and Scales of ChangeLinguistics (special issue), 54: 681-706.

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. (2013). In Defense of the Reflexivization Analysis of Anticausativization. Lingua, 131: 199-216. [Reply to Horvath and Siloni 2011].

Beavers, John and Cala Zubair. (2013). Anticausatives in Sinhala:Involitivity and Causer Suppression.Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. 46 pages. (Anticipated 2013.)

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. (2012). Manner and Result in theRoots of Verbal Meaning. Linguistic Inquiry. 43: 331-369.

Beavers, John. (2011). On Affectedness. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. 29: 335-370.

Beavers, John. (2011). An Aspectual Analysis of Ditransitive Verbs of Caused Possession in English. Journal of Semantics. 28: 1-54.

Beavers, John. (2010). The Structure of Lexical Meaning: Why SemanticsReally Matters. Language. 86: 821-864.

Beavers, John, Beth Levin, and Shiao Wei Tham. (2010). The Typology of Motion Expressions Revisited. Journal of Linguistics. 46: 331-377.

Beavers, John. (2008).On the Nature of Goal Marking and Delimitation: Evidence from Japanese. Journal of Linguistics. 44: 283-316.

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. (2006). A Universal Pronoun in English?Linguistic Inquiry. 37: 503-513.

Peer-reviewed book chapters:

Beavers, John. (To appear). The Spray/Load Alternation. In Martin Everaert, Henk van Rimsdijk, Rob Goedemans, and Bart Hellebrandse, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Syntax.  Oxford:  Wiley-Blackwell.

Beavers, John and Peter Sells. (2013). Constructing and Supporting a Linguistic Analysis. In Robert J. Podesva and Devyani Sharma, eds., Research Methods in Linguistics, 403-427.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Beavers, John. (2012). Lexical Aspect and Multiple Incremental Themes. In Violeta Demonte and Louise McNally, eds., Telicity, Change, and State: A Cross-Categorial View of Event Structure, 23-59.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Beavers, John. (2012). Resultative Constructions. In Robert I. Binnick, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect, 908-933. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Beavers, John and Chiyo Nishida. (2010). The Spanish Dative Alternation Revisited. In Sonia Colina, Antxon Olarrea, and Ana Carvalho, eds., Romance Linguistics 2009: Selected Papers from the 39th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages, 217-230. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Beavers, John and Cala Zubair. (2010). The Interaction of Transitivity Features in the Sinhala Involitive. In Patrick Brandt and Marco Garcia, eds., Transitivity. Form, Meaning, Acquisition, and Processing, 69-94. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Beavers, John. (2009). Predicting Argument Realization from Oblique Marker Semantics. In Ronald P. Leow, Hector Campos, and Donna Lardiere, eds., Little Words: Their History, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, and Acquisition, 121-130. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Beavers, John. (2008). Scalar Complexity and the Structure of Events. In Johannes Dölling, Tatjana Heyde-Zybatow, and Martin Schäfer, eds., Event Structures in Linguistic Form and Interpretation, 245-265. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Baldwin, Timothy, John Beavers, Leonoor van der Beek, Francis Bond, Dan Flickinger, and Ivan A. Sag. (2006). In Search of a Systematic Treatment of Determinerless PPs. In Patrick Saint-Dizier, ed., Syntax and Semantics of Prepositions, 163-180. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Baldwin, Timothy, John Beavers, Emily M. Bender, Dan Flickinger, Ara Kim, and Stephan Oepen. (2005). Beauty and the Beast: What Running a Broad-Coverage Precision Grammar over the BNC Taught Us about the Grammar – and the Corpus. In Stephan Kepser and Marga Reis, eds., Linguistic Evidence: Empirical, Theoretical, and Computational Perspectives, 49-70. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Peer-reviewed conference papers:

Beavers, John and Itamar Francez. (2012). Several problems for Predicate Decompositions. In Zhenya Anti, Charles B. Chang, Emily Cibelli, Jisup Hong, Michael J. Houser, Clare S. Sandy, Maziar Toosarvandani, Yao Yao,Proceedings of Berkeley Linguistics Society 32, Berkeley: University of California at Berkeley, 37-48.

Beavers, John. (2009). Multiple Incremental Themes and Figure/Path Relations. In Tova Friedman and Satoshi Ito, eds., Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory XVIII, 90-107. Ithaca: Cornell University, http://hdl.handle.net/1813/13028.

Beavers, John, Elias Ponvert, and Stephen Wechsler. (2009). Possession of a Controlled Substantive: Light ‘have’ and Other Verbs of Possession. In Tova Friedman and Satoshi Ito, eds., Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory XVIII, 108-125. Ithaca: Cornell University, http://hdl.handle.net/1813/13029.

Beavers, John. (2006). Semantic Underspecificity in English Argument/Oblique Alternations. In Michal Temkin Martínez, Asier Alcázar, and Roberto Mayoral Hernández, eds., Proceedings of Western Conference on Linguistics 2004, 26-37. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.

Beavers, John. (2005). Towards a Semantic Analysis of Argument/Oblique Alternations in HPSG. In Stefan Müller, ed., Proceedings of the 2005 Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Conference, 28-48. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Beavers, John. (2004). Type-Inheritance Combinatory Categorial Grammar. In Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, 57-63. Geneva: University of Geneva.

Beavers, John and Ivan A. Sag. (2004). Coordinate Ellipsis and Apparent Non-Constituent Coordination. In Stefan Müller, ed., Proceedings of the 2004 Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Conference, 48-69. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Beavers, John. (2003). More Head and Less Categories: A New Look at Noun Phrase Structure. In Stefan Müller, ed., Proceedings of the 2003 Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Conference, 47-67. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. (2003). The Proper Treatment of Your Ass in English. In Balder ten Cate, ed., Proceedings of the Student Workshop at the 2003 European Summer School of Logic, Language, and Information, 1-11. Vienna.

Working papers:

Beavers, John. (2002). Aspect and the Distribution of Prepositional Resultative Phrases in English. LinGO Working Paper No. 2002-07. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, http://lingo.stanford.edu/working-papers.html.

Beavers, John. (2002). Documentation: A CCG Implementation for the LKB.LinGO Working Paper No. 2002-08. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, http://lingo.stanford.edu/working-papers.html.

 

bottom border