Dr Michelle Sheehan

Reader in Linguistics

Course Leader, BA (Hons) English Language

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Department:Department of English and Media

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Language and linguistics

Courses taught: English Language, English Language and Linguistics, English Language and English Language Teaching

Michelle teaches and researches in the area of linguistics, with a particular focus on the structure of language (syntax).

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Michelle's website

michelle.sheehan@anglia.ac.uk

Background

Michelle has been at ARU since August 2015, being promoted to Reader in 2017. Before that, she worked as a researcher at the Universities of Newcastle, Durham and Cambridge on a variety of collaborative projects.

She is interested in the structure of language (syntactic theory), how languages vary and how we can model this variation (typology, comparative syntax) and how structure and meaning interact (syntax/semantics interface). She has a particular interest in languages descended from Latin (Romance languages), especially Spanish and Portuguese varieties and in the study of language universals from a variety of perspectives.

She is currently collaborating with a number of colleagues in the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Brazil on issues related to argument structure (ditransitive and causative constructions), case and agreement (experimental and theoretical perspectives) and unexpressed arguments (Control).

Areas of research supervision

Michelle has successfully supervised MA and PhD dissertations in the area of comparative syntax touching on the grammars of English, Chinese, Basque, Georgian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and its dialects, Polish, Greek and Icelandic. She would be very interested in supervising projects focused partly or wholly on the syntax of any language, particularly from a comparative perspective. She would also be interested in supervising projects using innovative methodology such as artificial language learning.

Teaching

Michelle teaches on a range of undergraduate modules related to linguistics, for example Revealing English Structure, Structure of English: past and present and Languages in Contrast. She also runs the final year Museums independent learning module.

She also contributes to the MA module Second Language Acquisition.

Qualifications

  • PhD Linguistics, Newcastle University
  • MA Linguistics (distinction), York University
  • BA Modern Languages, University of Oxford

Memberships, editorial boards

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  • Meetings secretary for the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB, 2015-)
  • Member of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain
  • Member of Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW)
  • Member of the Philological Society (PhilSoc)
  • Member of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA)
  • Co-editor of IBERIA (online journal on theoretical linguistics)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Arts Council Museums and Universities Initiative (MUPI) grant to set up regional network (2017 - with University of East Anglia, Peterborough Museum /Flag Fen Archaeology Park – Vivacity Heritage, Culture Coventry Trust, de Havilland Aircraft Museum, National Horseracing Museum and Museum of Power).
  • External collaborator on SSHRC project The nature of parameters: representing language universals and language variation (PI: Lisa Travis, McGill)
  • Co-founder and convener of weekly Anglia Ruskin - Cambridge University Romance Linguistics Seminar (2015-date)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016-)
  • British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme grant of £10,000 for the project 'Variation in Romance causatives: a synchronic and diachronic study' (PI, with Sonia Cyrino, UNICAMP, 2015-16)
  • Cambridge Returning Carers Scheme grant of £2500 for academic travel (2014)
  • Fundaçao de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo grant of of £2900 for a visiting scholarship at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil (hosted by Sonia Cyrino, 2014)
  • Cambridge Humanities Research Grant of £6801 for the project 'Probing a typological gap: ergativity as a marked alignment?' (Co-I with John Williams) (2012-14)
  • British Academy conference grant of £6800 for ' The Past and Future of Universal Grammar' (co-appilcant with Wolfram Hinzen, 2011)
  • Two Newcastle University Humanities and Social Sciences conference grants os £500 (2005, 2009)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board doctoral funding (2003-06)
  • York University studentship for MA study (2001-02

Selected recent publications

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Peer-reviewed

In press a. (with J. van der Wal) Evidence for nominal licensing in caseless languages. Journal of Linguistics.

In press b. Inflected infinitival complements in European Portuguese. In A. L. Santos & A. Gonçalves (eds.), Complement Clauses: Syntax and Acquisition, John Benjamins.

In press c. Labelling and the Head-Final Filter. In L. Bauke, E. Groat & A. Blümel (eds.), Labels and Roots, Mouton de Gruyter.

In press d. On the difference between exhaustive and non-exhaustive control. In F. Cognola and J/ Casalichio ed.), Pro-drop. OUP.

2017. Parameterising ergativity: an inherent case approach. In J. Coon, D. Massam, & L. Travis (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity. OUP.

2016 a. Complex predicates. In A. Ledgeway & M. Maiden (eds.), The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages. OUP.

2016 b. Subjects, null subjects and expletives in Romance. In S. Fischer & S. Gabriel (eds.), Manuals of Romance Linguistics (MRL): Grammatical Interfaces, 329-362. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

2016 c. (first author with S. Cyrino) Variation and change in the faire-par causative. In E. Carrilho, A. Fieis, M. Lobo & S. Pereira (eds.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory, 279-304. John Benjamins.

2015 a. Case and ergativity. In A. Fábregas, J. Mateu & M. Putnam (eds.), Contemporary Linguistic Parameters, 47-72. Bloomsbury.

2015 b. Review of Coon, Jessica. (2013) Aspects of Split Ergativity. New York: OUP. Linguistic Variation 15 (2): 299-306.

2014 a. (co-author with T. Biberauer, A. Holmberg & I. Roberts) Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory. In F. Newmeyer & L. Preston (eds.), Measuring Linguistic Complexity, 103-127. OUP.

2014 b. (co-author with Wolfram Hinzen & Ulrich Reichard) Intensionality, grammar and the sentential hypothesis. In P. Kosta, S, Franks, T. Radeva-Bork & L. Schurcks (eds.), Minimalism and Beyond: Radicalizing the Interfaces, 315-349. John Benjamins.

2014 c. Partial control in Romance languages: the covert comitative analysis. In K. Lahousse & S. Marzo (eds.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory, 181-198. John Benjamins.

2013 a. Some implications of a copy theory of labeling. Syntax 16 (4): 362-396. DOI: 10.1111/synt.12010

2013 b. Explaining the Final-over-Final Constraint: formal and functional approaches. In T. Biberauer & M. Sheehan (eds.), Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order, 407-444. OUP.

2013 c. (co-author with T. Biberauer).Theoretical approaches to disharmonic word order. In T. Biberauer & M. Sheehan (eds.), Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order, 1-46. OUP.

2012. (co-author with T. Biberauer) Disharmony, Antisymmetry, and the Final-over-Final Constraint. In M. Uribe-Etxebarria & V. Valmala (eds.), Ways of Structure Building, 206-244. OUP.

2011 a. (co-author with T. Biberauer) Introduction: particles through a modern syntactic lens. The Linguistic Review 28: 387–410. DOI

2011 b. (first-author with W. Hinzen) Moving towards the edge: the grammar of reference. Linguistic Analysis 37: 405-458. ISSN: 0098-9053

Working papers and proceedings papers

2016. (with J. van der Wal) Do we need abstract Case? In K. Kim, P. Umbal, T. Block, Q. Chan, T. Cheng, K. Finney, M. Katz, S. Nickel-Thompson, & L. Shorten (eds.), Proceedings of WCCFL 33, 351-360. Somerville, Mass.: Cascadilla Press.

2014. (with T. Biberauer & I. Roberts) No-choice parameters and the limits of syntactic variation. In R. E. Santana-LaBarge (ed.), Proceedings of WCCFL 31, 46-55. Somerville, Mass.: Cascadilla Press.

2014. Portuguese, Russian and the theory of control. In H. Huang, E. Poole & A. Rysling (eds.), Proceedings of NELS 43, volume 2, 115-126. Amherst, Mass.: GLSA.

2014. Towards a parameter hierarchy for alignment. In R. E. Santana-LaBarge (ed.), Proceedings of WCCFL 31, 399-408. Somerville, Mass.: Cascadilla Press.

2013. The resuscitation of CED. In S. Kan, C. Moore-Cantwell & R. Staubs (eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 40), 135-150. Amherst, Mass.: GLSA.

2012. A new take on partial control: defective thematic intervention. Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics 6: 1-47.

Recent presentations and conferences

Peer-reviewed conference papers

2017 a. Dative extension in causatives: faire-infinitif in Latin American Spanish. Paper presented at Dative structures and beyond, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, January 2017.

2017 b. (with A. Holmberg & J. van der Wal) Movement from the double object construction is not fully symmetrical. Paper presented at Dative structures and beyond, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, January 2017.

2017 c. (with J. Douglas & R. Ranero) Two kinds of syntactic ergativity in Mayan. Poster presented at GLOW in Asia, National University of Singapore, February 2017.

2017 d. (with M. C. Parafita Couto and J. Blokzijl) Inflected infinitives in Galician. Paper presented at Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Delaware, April 2017.

2017 e. (with Sonia Cyrino) On ECM, causation, perception and passivisation. Paper to be presented at CamVoice, University of Cambridge, May 2017.

2017 f. (with M. C. Parafita Couto and J. Blokzijl) More on inflected infinitives in Brazilian Portuguese. Associação de Brasilianistas na Europa. Leiden, May 2017.

2017 g. (with Sonia Cyrino) Why do some ECM verbs resist passivisation? A phase-based explanation. Paper to be presented at VI Congress Internacional de Estudos Linguísticos (CIEL), Universidade de Brasília, August 2017.

2017 h. (with M. Pitteroff) The case for partial control in French and German. Paper to be presented at Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop, Trondheim, September 2017.

2017 i. (with M. Pitteroff) The case for partial control in French and German. Paper to be presented at North East Linguistic Society. University of Iceland, October 2017.

2017 j. (with S. Cyrino) Why do some ECM verbs resist passivisation? A phase-based explanation. Poster to be presented at North East Linguistic Society. University of Iceland, October 2017.

2016 a. (with J. Douglas) Two ways to be high ABS: on avoiding defective intervention. Poster to be presented at Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW), April 2016.

2016 b. A parameter hierarchy for the Romance faire-infinitif. Paper presented at The Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB) Annual Meeting, University of York, September 2016.

2016 c. (with C. Sevdali) Partial control in finite control languages. Poster to be presented at Control workshop, Stuttgart, October.

2016 d. (with J. Douglas and R. Ranero) Derivando la ergatividad sintáctica en los idiomas Mayas. Paper presented at FAMLi, Valladolid, Mexico.

2015. a. Variation and change in the Romance faire-infinitif. Paper presented at the Romance Linguistics Seminar, Cambridge, January 2015.

2015. b. (with John Williams and Albertyna Paciorek) Probing a typological gap: experimental evidence for an accusative bias? Paper presented at L2 acquisition of alignment patterns in typologically diverse languages: case and agreement. Gent, February 2015.

2015. c. (with Sonia Cyrino) Variation and change in the Romance faire-infinitif. Poster presented at the Incontro di Grammatica Generativa, Perugia, February 2015.

2015. d. (with Jenneke van der Wal) Nominal licensing without abstract Case. Paper presented at WCCFL 33, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, March 2015.

2015. e. Spanish causatives in the Romance context. Paper presented at IV International Conference on Hispanic Linguistics: Harmony and Contrasts, Lisbon, April 2015.

2015. f. (with Maia Duguine) Control in Basque nominalisations: issues and potential solutions. Paper presented at Colóquio de Gramática Generativa. Bayonne, May 2015.

2015. g. (with Anders Holmberg & Jenneke van der Wal) Movement from the double object construction is never symmetrical. Paper to be presented at Formal Approaches to Morphosyntactic Variation. Vitoria-Gasteiz, June 2015.

2015. h. (with Anders Holmberg & Jenneke van der Wal) Movement from the double object construction is never symmetrical. Paper to be presented at The Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Meeting, UCL, September 2015.

2015. i. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Paper to be presented at The Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Meeting, UCL, September 2015

2015. j. (with Sonia Cyrino) Ibero-Romance causatives: constrained variation. Paper to be presented at Ibero-Romance in Contact and Contrast, Leuven, December 2015.

2014. a. (with J. van der Wal) The worst Case Scenario. Paper presented at TIN-dag 2014, Leiden, February (with J. van der Wal).

2014. b. (with J. van der Wal) The worst Case Scenario. Paper presented at Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Meeting, Oxford, September.

2014. c. (with J. van der Wal)The worst Case Scenario. Paper presented at Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Poznan, September.

2014. d. (with J. van der Wal)The worst Case Scenario. Paper presented at The State of the Art in Comparative Syntax Workshop, Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop (CGSW), York, September.

2014. e. (with J. van der Wal) The worst Case Scenario. Paper presented at Workshop on Syntactic Variation, Bucharest, November.

2014. f. (with Sonia Cyrino) Variation and change in the Romance faire-infinitif. Paper presented at Going Romance 2014, Lisbon, December.


Invited talks

2018. TBC. Asymmetries 2018. Invited speaker at DGfS workshop, Stuttgart University.

2017. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Invited talk given at CamVoice, University of Cambridge, May 2017.

2017. (with Ian Roberts) Remarks on a Parameter Hierarchy for Passives. Invited talk to be given at Passives - A Cross-Linguistic Workshop, University of Vienna, September 2017.

2017. TBC. MIT Linguistics colloquium, MIT, November 2017.

2016 a. Degrees of ergativity in Romance causatives. Cambridge Linguistics Forum, University of Cambridge.

2016 b. (with Anders Holmberg & Jenneke van der Wal). Movement from the double object construction is never symmetrical. Newcastle University Linguistics Speaker Series, February 2016.

2016 c. When pro behaves like PRO: on the distribution of Cased Control. Invited speaker at Linguistic Variation in the Interaction between Internal and External Syntax, University of Utrecht, February 2016.

2016 d. When pro behaves like PRO: on the distribution of Cased Control. Invited talk given at Linguistics Research Seminars. Ulster University, Belfast, February 2016.

2016 e. On the typology of Control. Invited speaker at the workshop on Nonfinite subjects, Université de Nantes, April 2016.

2016 f. When pro behaves like PRO: on the distribution of Cased Control. Stuttgart University, May 2016.

2016 g. Extraction restrictions and asymmetries: (partial) syntactic ergativity in Mayan. Cambridge Comparative Syntax 5 (CamCoS 5), May 2016.

2016 h. On the (lack of) partial control in Romanian. Workshop on Romanian syntax. University of Cambridge, June 2016.

2016 i. (with J. Douglas and R. Ranero) Deriving syntactic ergativity in Mayan languages. Invited talk given at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil, November 2016.

2016 j. (with S. Cyrino) Variation in faire-par nominalisations across Romance varieties. Nereus. University of Cambridge, December 2016.

2015. a. Case parameters. Invited talk given at LingTea, McGill, Montreal, April 2015.

2015 b. On the lack of consistency in (Romance) consistent null subject languages. Talk given at CamCoS 4, May 2015.

2015 c. What word order tells us about syntax and why. Keynote lecture given at the English Language and Linguistics Undergraduate Conference, University of Kent, June 2015.

2015 d. (with Jamie Douglas) Extraction restrictions and asymmetries: prospects for a unified account. Invited talk given at Questions at the syntax-semantics interface, University College London, September 2015.

2015 e. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Invited talk given at Harvard University, USA, October 2015.

2015 f. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Invited talk given at Georgetown University, USA, October 2015.

2015 g. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Invited talk given at New York University, USA, October 2015.

2015 h. (with Ian Roberts) A Parameter hierarchy for passives. Invited talk given at Rutgers University, USA, November 2015.

2014. a. Clausal alignment: the case for parameter hierarchies. Invited talk given at Workshop on Principles and Parameters. Arezzo, Italy, July.

2014. b. Partial Control in European Portuguese and Russian: parallels and contrasts. Invited talk given at First Workshop on Control, University of São Paulo, Brazil, July.

2014. c. Partial Control in European Portuguese and Russian: parallels and contrasts. Invited talk given at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil, August.

2014. d. Obviation and Control in Portuguese and Russian. Invited talk given at Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil, August.

2014. e. Ergative alignment in Romance causatives: a parameter hierarchy approach. Invited talk given at Building Blocks, University of Leipzig, Germany, November.