Brian Buccola

Department of Linguistics
McGill University
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Brian Buccola

Brian Buccola

About

I am a Ph.D. student in linguistics at McGill University. My research interests primarily include formal semantics, pragmatics, phonology, and computational linguistics.

My dissertation, supervised by Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Bernhard Schwarz, investigates the source of downward monotonicity of modified numerals like “less than five”. I argue that downward monotonicity arises from a special interaction between several key ingredients: the lexical semantics of the numeral modifier, the distributivity properties of the NP and VP predicates it combines with, and a separate, optional maximization operation, whose application is pragmatically constrained.

In addition to my doctoral research, I have also worked on ignorance inferences associated with superlative numeral/scalar modifiers like “at least” and “at most”. On the phonology side, I have worked on the difference 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.