Brian Buccola

Department of Linguistics
McGill University
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Brian Buccola

Brian Buccola


I am a Ph.D. student in linguistics at McGill University. My main areas of research are formal semantics, pragmatics, the syntax-semantics interface, and computational linguistics.

Most of my research in semantics revolves around the interpretation of quantificational expressions, especially so-called modified numerals, like fewer than five, at least three, and up to ten. My dissertation looks at how expressions like fewer/less than five seems to mean different things depending on the type (distributive vs. non-distributive) of nominal and verbal arguments it combines with. Previously, I have also worked on ignorance inferences associated with superlative modifiers like at least and at most, as well as on the semantic and pragmatic differences between at most and up to.

I am also interested in the formal properties of formal grammars. I have worked in particular on the differences in generative capacity between Optimality Theory and ordered rewrite rules.

Apart from linguistics, I enjoy tinkering with Linux, learning about functional programming (like Haskell), and (when I have time) brewing beer. I have a personal blog where I write about language, math, Linux, and other random stuff that comes to mind.


My paper “Severing maximality from fewer than: evidence from genericity” has been accepted for a main session talk at Sinn und Bedeutung, which will take place this year at the University of Tübingen, September 9-12, 2015.