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

Stephen M Wechsler

Professor Ph.D., Stanford University

Stephen M Wechsler

Contact

Biography

Stephen Wechsler is a fellow of the Alma Cowden Madden Centennial Professorship in Linguistics.  He holds a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University.  A specialist in syntax and semantics, his research focuses on three areas: self-reference and person systems; the interface between syntax and word meaning (‘argument structure’); and the interface between syntax and morphology (‘morphosyntax’).  His recent work in the first area investigates personal pronouns such as ‘you’ and ‘I’ from a multi-disciplinary perspective that includes developmental psychology, philosophy, and linguistics.  The second area is the subject of his 1995 book The Semantic Basis of Argument Structure, and a book in progress to be published by Oxford University Press.  His 2005 book The Many Faces of Agreement, coauthored with Larisa Zlatić, addresses grammatical agreement in person, number, and gender.  

 

LIN 381L • Syntax II

41550 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ B0.302
show description

This course will provide you with an understanding of the major syntactic phenomena, and the formal tools to analyze those phenomena and express theoretical claims.  We will learn the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), a lexicalist theory of syntax with no transformations. The framework is based on the factoring of grammatical description into categorial structure (phrase structure and morphology) and functional structure (subject, object, etc.), based on the observation that the languages of the world can vary widely in the former but are similar in the latter.

LIN 391 • Studies In English Grammar

41585 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BEN 1.106
show description

We will survey the syntax of English, and some issues in the semanticinterpretation of English, with the two goals of (i) understanding thestructure of English syntax and (ii) acquiring the basic tools of syntacticanalysis, which can be applied to any language.

Required text:  C. L. Baker, English Syntax.

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

41360 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A215A
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.

Text Paul R. Kroeger 2005. Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction (CambridgeTextbooks in Linguistics) ISBN  0521016533

LIN 393S • Category Of Person

41433 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-530pm CLA 4.710
show description

First and second person pronouns are probably found in all languages of the world.  In this course we will address: person-number paradigms; logophoric pronouns; shifted indexical languages; conjunct-disjunct alignment systems; honorific pronouns; empathy-tracking with second person generics; the syntactic distribution of person agreement; and the acquisition of personal pronouns by children. We will seek to identify the deep connections between observations in these diverse realms. 

Prerequisites:  Syntax I; Semantics I (or permission of instructor) 

Requirements: Class discussion; presentations of readings; short writing assignments; and a term paper.

LIN 391 • Studies In English Grammar

41035 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.106
show description

We will survey the syntax of English, and some issues in the semanticinterpretation of English, with the two goals of (i) understanding thestructure of English syntax and (ii) acquiring the basic tools of syntacticanalysis, which can be applied to any language.

Required text:  C. L. Baker, English Syntax.

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

40795 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 206
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.

Text Paul R. Kroeger 2005. Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction (CambridgeTextbooks in Linguistics) ISBN  0521016533

LIN 393S • Word Meaning And Syntax

40890 • Fall 2012
Meets W 100pm-400pm PAR 305
show description

The interface between word meaning and syntax poses someof the most important problems in contemporary grammatical theory.This course will approach the interface from both sides.  We beginwith the ancient puzzle of what a word means, learning about polysemy,vagueness, coercion, semantic roles, and various approaches toconcepts and word meaning.  Then we look at the mapping from thelexicon to the syntax, focusing on lexicalist and constructionisttheories.

Prerequisites:  Syntax I and II; Semantics I is recommended (can betaken concurrently)

Texts:  Readings from the literature.

LIN 381L • Syntax II

40860 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 210
show description

This course will provide you with an understanding of the major syntactic phenomena, and the formal tools to analyze those phenomena and express theoretical claims.  We will learn the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), a lexicalist theory of syntax with no transformations. The framework is based on the factoring of grammatical description into categorial structure (phrase structure and morphology) and functional structure (subject, object, etc.), based on the observation that the languages of the world can vary widely in the former but are similar in the latter.

LIN 391 • Studies In English Grammar

40890 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 210
show description

We will survey the syntax of English, and some issues in the semantic interpretation of English, with the two goals of (i) understanding the structure of English syntax and (ii) acquiring the basic tools of syntactic analysis, which can be applied to any language.

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

40735 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GAR 1.126
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 Paul R. Kroeger 2005. Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics) ISBN  0521016533

LIN 393S • Indexicality & Self-Reference

40820 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 210
show description

LIN 393S: Indexicality and Self-ReferenceIndexical (or deictic) forms are used to refer directly to people andthings in the speech context, instead of referring by means ofdescriptions.  The first and second person pronouns, such as 'I','we', 'you', and their equivalents in other languages, are examples ofindexical forms; and other indexical forms typically involve takingthe perspective of the speaker or hearer.  This course takes amulti-disciplinary approach to personal pronouns and other indexicalforms, seeking an account of them that does justice to the empiricalobservations arising from several disparate fields. 

The followingtopics will be addressed:

•    Universal patterns and typological variation in the person/numberparadigms of the world’s languages (Cysouw 2003, Bobaljik 2008,Wechsler 2010); interactions of person with various number systems(Harley and Ritter 2002; Siewierska 2004).

•    The semantics of indexicality; multiple indexing approaches (Kamp1971, Kaplan 1977).

•    Languages with different systems of spatial deixis (Hanks; Levinson).

•    Deferred reference, e.g. where ‘I’ refers not to the speaker, but tomembers of a group instantiated by the speaker (Nunberg 1993).

•    Languages with non-shifted indexicals where ‘I’ or ‘you’ can referto the speaker or hearer of a reported speech act rather than of theactual discourse (Schlenker; Anand).

•    Conjunct/disjunct alignment systems: verbal inflections aligningwith a first/non-first person distinction in statements, and asecond/non-second distinction in questions.

•    Point-of-view phenomena (Mitchell).

•    The philosophical literature on the problem of the ‘essentialindexical’ (Perry 1979) and self-reference (Wittgenstein, Shoemaker,Evans, Lewis, Richard).

•    Pronoun use by normally developing children (Chiat; Charney;Oshima-Takane) and by children with autism (Tager-Flusberg).  Along-noted symptom of childhood autism is the striking tendency toreverse first and second person pronouns (Kanner 1943, inter alia).

•    Personal pronouns in ASL and other signed languages (Meier).

•    The role of theory of mind (Tomasello).

Prerequisites:  Syntax I; Semantics I.

Requirements:  Class discussion; short writing assignments; and a term paper.

Texbook:  Readings from the literature

LIN 381L • Syntax II

41190 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 310
show description

This is an advanced course on the description and analysis of syntax.
The course includes an introduction to Lexical-Functional Grammar
(LFG), a lexicalist theory of syntax with no transformations. The
framework is based on the factoring of grammatical description into
categorial structure (phrase structure and morphology) and functional
structure, based on the observation that grammars vary widely in the
former but are similar in the latter. This makes LFG a good framework
for field description, as well as for studying typology and
universals. We will survey some major issues in syntax across a wide
variety of language types.

Texts
--Joan Bresnan 2000. Lexical Functional Syntax. Blackwell Press.
--Mary Dalrymple 2001. Lexical Functional Grammar (Syntax & Semantics
34). Academic Press.

LIN 391 • Studies In English Grammar

41225 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JES A217A
show description

We will survey the syntax of English, and some issues in the semantic
interpretation of English, with the two goals of (i) understanding the
structure of English syntax and (ii) acquiring the basic tools of syntactic
analysis, which can be applied to any language.
Texts
C. L. Baker, English Syntax.

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

40750 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 2.124
show description

Course 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

Paul R. Kroeger 2005. Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction (Cambridge
Textbooks in Linguistics)
ISBN  0521016533

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

41185 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 105
show description

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 381L • Syntax II

41220 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1100-1200 JES A207A
show description

For detailed Course Schedule, download attachment.

LIN 393S • Topics In Syntax And Semantics

41625 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CAL 200
show description

Description. The interface between syntax and word meaning is one of the most important issues in contemporary grammatical theory.  This course will approach the interface from both sides, beginning with the ancient puzzle of what a word means.  We will learn about polysemy, vagueness, coercion, semantic (thematic) roles, psychological approaches to concepts and word meaning, prototypes, lexical decomposition, conceptual structure, constructionism, lexicalism, diathesis alternations, and theories of the mapping from the lexicon to the syntax.  

Prerequisites:  Syntax I and II; Semantics I is recommended (can be taken concurrently)

Requirements.  Basis for grading indicated by percentages (plus/minus grades will be assigned for the final grade).

1. Class discussion (10%).  Questions, comments, discussion.  Very important part of a seminar!   
2. Occasional homework exercises (25%).
3. Presentation of one optional or obligatory reading (10%). Plan for 20 to 30 minutes; prepare a handout.
4. Informally propose a term paper topic, by email or in person.  Due Oct. 8.
5. Term Paper, written proposal (5%)  One to three pages (double spaced), with at least 3 references.  Due Oct. 15.
6. Term Paper, draft (10%).  Due Nov. 19.
7. Term Paper (30%).  Around 10-15 pages; at least 10 references.  Due Dec. 11.
8. Presentation of your term paper (10%).  These will be scheduled during the last few weeks of the semester.

Textbooks
•    Levin, Beth, and M. Rappaport-Hovav. 2005. Argument Realization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  (Not ordered at Coop Bookstore; please order a copy, e.g. from Amazon.com)

•    All other readings available through Blackboard (http://courses.utexas.edu)

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.
Outline

I. Word meaning I: polysemy, homophony, generality, and vagueness

For Tues., Sept. 1, read:
•    SLI Ch. 1 ‘The place of word meaning in generative syntax’
•    SLI Ch. 2 ‘Polysemy’
•    Apresjan, J. D. 1974. Regular Polysemy. Linguistics 142: 5-32.

(Optional: Cruse, D. A. (1995), 'Polysemy and related phenomena from a cognitive linguistic viewpoint', in P. Saint-Dizier and E. Viegas (eds.), Computational Lexical Semantics (Cambridge University Press), 33–49.)

II. Psychological approaches: Concepts, prototypes, exemplars

Ravin, Yael and Claudia Leacock 2000, ‘Polysemy: an overview.’ In Ravin, Y. and Leacock, C. (2000), Polysemy: Theoretical and Computational Approaches (Oxford University Press).

Murphy, Gregory L. 2002. The Big Book of Concepts. Cambridge: MIT Press:
•    Ch. 2 ‘Typicality and the Classical View of Categories’, in (Murphy 2002)
•    Ch. 3 ‘Theories’, in (Murphy 2002)
•    Ch. 11 ‘Word Meaning’, in (Murphy 2002)

III. Argument realization

Levin, B., and M. Rappaport-Hovav. 2005. Argument Realization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ch. 8 ‘Word meaning’, from Chierchia, G. and S. McConnell-Ginet. 2000. Meaning and grammar: an introduction to semantics: MIT Press Cambridge, MA, USA.

Other readings to be announced.

IV. Causative alternations

Haspelmath, Martin (1993), 'More on the typology of inchoative/causative verb alternations', Causatives and transitivity (Amsterdam: John Benjamins), 87-120.
Wechsler, Stephen 2007.  A diachronic account of English deverbal nominals.  Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, UC Berkeley, April 27, 2007.
Coppock, Elizabeth 2008. ‘The Causative Alternation’.  Unpublished manuscript.
Wechsler, Stephen 2008. ‘Causative Alternations.’ Unpublished manuscript.

Other readings to be announced.

LIN 381L • Syntax II

40610 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 1100-1200 GAR 2.104
show description

This course will provide you with an understanding of the major syntactic phenomena, and the formal tools to analyze those phenomena and express theoretical claims.  We will learn the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), a lexicalist theory of syntax with no transformations. The framework is based on the factoring of grammatical description into categorial structure (phrase structure and morphology) and functional structure (subject, object, etc.), based on the observation that the languages of the world can vary widely in the former but are similar in the latter.

LIN 391 • Studies In English Grammar

40645 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 303
show description

We will survey the syntax of English, and some issues in the semanticinterpretation of English, with the two goals of (i) understanding thestructure of English syntax and (ii) acquiring the basic tools of syntacticanalysis, which can be applied to any language.

Required text:  C. L. Baker, English Syntax.

Publications

Stephen Wechsler's publications list can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/wechslerpublications/

bottom border