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Anna Szabolcsi

Department of Linguistics
New York University
10 Washington Place, Rm. 405
New York, NY 10003
Dept. fax (212) 995 4707


downloadable papers
recent handouts cv

My main interest is in how and why form and meaning work in parallel -- from combinatory categorial grammar, through weak islands (intervention effects) and quantification, to my current interest in word-internal compositionality. In many languages, the same particles that form quantifier words have busy lives of their own as connectives, scalar and additive particles, question-markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do they have a stable semantics? Are they aided by silent operators in their varied roles -- if yes, who are they?

I enjoy collaboration; I have co-authored books and papers with altogether nineteen computational linguists, logicians, psychologists, semanticists, and syntacticians.

My recent book on Quantification (Cambridge University Press, 2010; eBook and Cambridge Books Online) comments on research starting with the foundational work in the 1970s. It paints a vivid picture of generalized quantifiers and Boolean semantics. It explains how the discovery of diverse scope behavior in the 1990s transformed the view of quantification, and how the study of the internal composition of quantifiers has become central in recent years. It links formal semantics to advances in generative syntax, and systematically brings cross-linguistic data from around thirty languages to bear on the theoretical issues.

Links ____ Semantics Group ____ Departmental Blog


PhD. 1987 (Linguistics), Hungarian Academy of Sciences;
M.A. 1978 (Linguistics), Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest;
B.A. 1976 (English and Linguistics), Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.

Previous academic appointments:

Department of Linguistics, UCLA, 1990-1998.
Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1978-1990.


Associate Editor, Journal of Semantics, 2005-2013.
Associate Editor, Linguistics and Philosophy, 1997-2003.
Semantics Section Editor for Language and Linguistics Compass, Blackwell, 2006/07.
Editorial Board, Linguistics and Philosophy; Natural Language Semantics; Journal of Logic, Language, and Information; Linguistic Inquiry; Semantics and Pragmatics; Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax; Finno-Ugric Languages and Linguistics, 1993-Present.
Director of Graduate Studies, Linguistics, NYU, Fall 2013.
Director of Graduate Studies, Linguistics, NYU, 1999-2001.
Chair, Linguistics, NYU, 2001-2006.
Department Head, Research Institute for Linguistics, HAS, 1989-1990.
Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999.
National Science Foundation, Model Theoretic Semantics, Proof Theoretic Semantics, Semantically Flavored Syntactic Features (w/ Ed Stabler), 2005.
National Science Foundation, Weak Islands and Scope, 1993-95.
Faculty, European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information (ESSLLI) 1991, 2007, 2014.
Faculty, Linguistic Society of America Linguistic Institute, 1993.
Zoltán Gombocz Medal, Linguistic Society of Hungary, 1989.
Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997.
Visiting Fellow, Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh, 1988.
A.P.Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1984/85.
Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, 1983.

Recent student work supervised:

Inna Livitz, Deriving Silence through Dependent Reference: Focus on Pronouns. PhD Dissertation (co-chair: Stephanie Harves), 2013. pdf
Sangjin Hwang, Semantics of Measure Phrases, Measure Phrase Split, and -ssik in Korean. Qualifying Paper [QP], 2012. pdf
Laura Rimell, Nominal Roots as Event Predicates in English Denominal Conversion Verbs. PhD Dissertation (co-chair: Alec Marantz), 2012. pdf
Salvador Mascarenhas, Positive Polarity Items As Alternative Generators. QP, 2011. sub16
Violeta Vazquez Rojas, Quantifiers With `Switched' Restrictions: The Case of puros. QP, 2009.
Eytan Zweig, Dependent Plurals and Plural Meaning. PhD Dissertation, 2007. pdf l&p
Keith Fernandes, On the Significance of Speech. PhD Dissertation (co-chair: Gary Marcus), 2007. abstr
Jason Shaw, Generalizing BUT: Exceptive and Conjunction. QP, 2006.
Andrea Cattaneo, Interpreting Italian Null Objects. QP, 2006. nels37
Rahul Balusu, Distributive Reduplication in Telugu. QP, 2005. nels36
Eytan Zweig, The Implications of Dependent Plurals. QP, 2005. nels36
Oana Ciucivara, Oarecare Indefinites Are Not Just Any Indefinites. QP, 2004. pdf
Laura Rimell, Habitual Sentences and Generic Quantification. QP, 2004. wccfl23
Thomas Leu, Donkey Pronouns Are Abstract Animals. QP (co-chair Elbourne), 2004. nels35
Erez Levon, Inversion in Hebrew. QP, 2002. console10
Vladislav Rapoport, Structure and Interpretation of Russian Quantifier Phrases. QP, 2000.
Ken Lacy, An Antisymmetry Approach to Wh-movement in Japanese. QP, 2000.
Martin Honcoop, Dynamic Excursions on Weak Islands. PhD Dissertation, Leiden University, 1998. pdf
Mary Baltazani, Topic and Focus in Greek, MA Thesis, UCLA, 1998. cv
Filippo Beghelli, The Phrase Structure of Quantifier Scope. PhD Dissertation, UCLA, 1995. order

Workshops on Polarity and Proof theory at the syntax/semantics interface and Structure of Hungarian ...... ESSLLI 2007 Course

Courses taught at NYU:


  • Language
  • Language and Mind
  • Introduction to Semantics
  • The Syntax/Semantics Interface: Hungarian
  • Graduate

  • Semantics I
  • Semantics II
  • Seminar in Semantics
  • Seminar in Syntax and Semantics
  • Professional Development. Here's my advice re: building your portfolio.
  • Last updated January 25, 2014