Nicholas (Nico) Baier

Postdoctoral researcher in Linguistics, McGill University

About Me

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University. I have a PhD in linguistics from University of California, Berkeley. I also have an M.A. in Linguistics from Berkeley and a B.A. in Linguistics and German from the University of Michigan. I've also spent some time in the Department of Linguistics at MIT in the Fall of 2015. Last year, I was a Faculty Lecturer at McGill.

Interests

My primary interests are in syntax, morphology, and typology. My research focuses on the morphosyntax of Ā-dependencies, including the interaction of phi-agreement and Ā-movement and morphological reflexes of Ā-movement. More generally, I am interested in theories of agreement and what they can tell us about the grammar. On a broader scale, my work aims to meld rigorous typological research with minimalist analysis.

I have conducted fieldwork on several understudied languages. These include two languages of Senegal, Seereer (Atlantic) and Noon (Cangin). Some of this work can be seen in my PhD qualifying paper on long distance wh-dependencies in Seereer and my presentations about adjective agreement in Noon. I have also worked on indigenous languages of North America. While in Berkeley I participated in the Karuk Treebank Project. While at University of Michigan, I worked on Sally Thomason's Montana Salish (Flathead) dictionary project.

CV

You can download the latest version of my CV here.

Dissertation

Anti-Agreement

You can download a copy of my dissertation from lingbuzz

I investigate the sensitivity of φ-agreement to features typically associated with Ā-extraction, including those related to wh-questioning, relativization, focus and topicalization. This phenomenon has been referred to as anti-agreement (Ouhalla 1993) or wh-agreement (Chung and Georgopoulos 1988; Georgopoulos 1991; Chung 1994) in the literature. While anti-agreement is commonly held to result from constraints on the Ā-movement of agreeing DPs, I argue that it reduces to an instance of wh-agreement, or the appearance of particular morphological forms in the presence of Ā-features. I develop a unified account of these Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects in which they arise from the ability of φ-probes to copy both φ-features and Ā-features in the syntax, coupled with postsyntactic morphological operations that manipulate feature bundles containing both [φ] and [Ā]. The empirical foundation of the work is a typological survey of Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects in 63 genetically and geographically diverse languages. This study is the largest of its kind to examine these effects, and brings to light new generalizations both about the syntax of Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects and the behavior of φ-features in the presence of Ā-features.

Papers

Mayan Agent Focus and the Ergative Extraction Constraint: Facts and Fictions Revisited

2019, Manuscript | lingbuzz | with Jessica Coon and Ted Levin

Antilocality and Antiagreement

2017, Linguistic Inquiry 48:2 | LI | lingbuzz

Morphological Reflexes of Subject Extraction in Caquinte

To appear in the Proceedings of WSCLA 23 | lingbuzz | with Zachary O'Hagan

Anti-agreement with Bound Variables

2018, Proceedings of WCCFL 35 | lingbuzz | with Michelle Yuan

Spell-out, Chains, and Long Distance Wh-movement in Seereer

2018, Berkeley Papers in Formal Linguistics | BPFL link

Adjective Agreement in Noon: Evidence for a Split Theory of Noun-Modifier Concord

2015, Proceedings of NELS 45 | lingbuzz

Object Suffixes as Incorporated Pronouns in Seereer

2018, Proceedings of ACAL 45, June 2015 | lingbuzz

A Survey of Anti-Agreement Effects

Dissertation Prospectus, updated January 2016 | pdf

Presentations

The Locus of Variation in types of Ā-Sensitive Agreement

Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis, McGill University, May 17-18, 2019 | handout | poster

CamCos 8, University of Cambridge, May 2-4, 2019 | poster

Anti-agreement in Selayarese

LSA 2019, New York, NY, Jan 3-6, 2019 | poster

Multiple Anti-Agreement in Fiorentino

Multiple Agreement across Domains, ZAS, Berlin, November 8–9, 2018 | poster

A Morphological Theory of Anti-Agreement

LSA 2017, Austin, TX, Jan 5-8, 2017 | poster

Anti-Agreement with Bound Variables

WCCFL 35, University of Calgary, April 28-30, 2017 | handout | with Michelle Yuan

The Unity of Anti-Agreement and Wh-Agreement

CamCos 5, Cambridge, UK, 5–7 May 2016 | handout

Deriving Partial Anti-Agreement

LSA 2016, Washington D.C., Jan 7-10, 2016 | handout

Adjective Agreement in Noon: Evidence for a Split Theory of Noun-Modifier Concord

LSA 2015, Portland, Jan 8-11, 2015 | handout

NELS 45, MIT, October 31 2014 handout

Object Suffixes as Incorporated Pronouns in Seereer

ACAL 45, University of Kansas, April 17 2014 | handout