Will Oxford
Visiting Associate Professor, Linguistics, MIT (2022-23)
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Manitoba (on leave 2022-23)

Contact will.oxford@umanitoba.ca • oxford@mit.edu • he/him pronouns

Bio I do theoretical and descriptive research on syntax and morphology, usually involving the Algonquian languages and often from a comparative perspective, with an emphasis on agreement and morphosyntactic alignment. My fieldwork experience includes Innu, Ojibwe, Cree, and Oji-Cree (Algonquian) as well as Kapampangan (Philippine). I supervise MA and PhD students in theoretical syntax and Algonquian linguistics.

News I'm teaching at MIT for the 2022-23 academic year. • A paper titled Probe specification and agreement variation: Evidence from the Algonquian inverse will be coming out in Linguistic Inquiry. • A paper titled A tale of two inverses will be coming out in Syntax. • A book titled The Algonquian Inverse is in the works for Oxford University Press.

CV For full information about my research and teaching, as well as complete citations for the papers linked below, see my CV (last update August 2022).

Research projects and selected papers
Jump to: Direct-inverse | Agreement | Grammatical relations | Inflection | Language description | Phonology | Other

Direct-inverse systems Much of my research has sought to understand the nature of the direct-inverse agreement pattern in Algonquian languages. In 2016-19 I held a SSHRC Insight Development Grant titled Structure and Change in Direct-Inverse Systems with collaborator Heather Bliss.

Agreement and hierarchies The theoretical work below uses Algonquian data to investigate the structural sources of variation in agreement patterns and person hierarchies.

Grammatical relations I'm also interested in the concept of structural subjecthood. What is a subject? How does the determination of subjecthood vary across languages? Are some subjects more "subject-like" than others?

Realization of inflectional morphology The following papers consider the role of operations such as fission and impoverishment in the determination of inflectional syncretisms and morphological templates.

Language description I have been involved in the documentation and description of Algonquian languages since conducting fieldwork for a dictionary project in the Innu Nation in 2006. My more recent descriptive work takes a pan-Algonquian perspective.

Phonology These papers take a diachronically-informed perspective on the role of contrast and syllable structure in phonological patterns.

Other Some miscellaneous side-projects, including one on English (!)