Internships

Jorik Geutjes (BA)

Jorik van Engeland (BA)

Agnes van den Dool (BA)

Lotte Hendriks (MA)

Anton Nguyen (MA): “Branching off of Heidi Klockmann’s work on the effect of Polish numerals on subject-verb agreement, Anja Saric and I pursued a similar investigation in other Slavic languages. After trudging through grammars and articles on Russian and Bulgarian, I developed a series of questionnaires to elicit the morphosyntax and agreement patterns of these two languages from two informants. I ended up diving into Bulgarian “m-numerals” (a set of numerals that only appears with masculine human nouns) and the count form (an additional plural form of masculine nouns), as there was a very clear pattern of interaction between the two. My research resulted in a term paper that suggested that Agree values features in a sequential manner according to a feature hierarchy.

During my internship, I was exposed to many facets of empirical research, including questionnaire creation (which is a lot more complicated and nuanced than it sounds, involving the careful choice of lexical items, thorough paradigm elicitations, etc.) and choosing a small data set to investigate more fully. There were reading group meetings and PhD research discussions, both of which broadened my linguistic horizons in terms of frameworks, e.g. Distributed Morphology, as well as just fascinating and puzzling linguistic data. I consider the ideas and skills I’ve acquired here to be valuable; they will continue to serve me as I produce my thesis and any other future linguistic work I may undertake.”

Anja Saric (MA)“My job as an intern was to look at numerals in Serbo-Croatian and Czech. More specifically, the behavior of nominal elements, as well as verbal agreement with respect to numerals. Anton Nguyen and I developed a questionnaire that elicits the information regarding case system of languages in question, declension of nouns, gender specifications, and verbal agreement with different numerals. The questionnaire for Serbo-Croatian was filled in by myself (as it is my mother tongue), and the Czech one was completed by a native speaker of Czech. The agreement patterns were summarized based on the questionnaires and reference grammars of the languages under investigation. The collected data was then entered into the database.

The particular issue I then turned to was regarding numerals 2, 3 and 4 in Serbo-Croatian. I wrote up a paper addressing the behavior of these numerals in terms of the forms they impose on the elements within the nominal domain, and the verbal agreement they trigger. The paper, however, represents only the tip of the iceberg of the peculiar nature of Serbo-Croatian numerals. The remaining issues regarding these numerals, as well as numeral 1, and 5+ numerals, which exhibit quite different behavior, I address in my master’s thesis.  

All in all, my role in the Uniformity in Linguistic Variation proved to be beneficial both for me and the project. The project got some new and interesting data, and as for myself – not only have I learned interesting things during my internship, but I also got an idea for my thesis. Finally, all people involved in the project are very supportive and enthusiastic, and encourage teamwork and mutual exchange of ideas.