I work primarily on Greek using a variety of theoretical and experimental approaches in adult and children population. I am also a fieldworker studying Sanna, a severely endangered Arabic variety spoken in northwestern Cyprus.
Theoretical modelling of morphosyntactic variation
Variation in morphological form, also known as allomorphy, is found in cases of the existence of more than one morph for a single morpheme. More specifically, grammatically conditioned allomorphy is subject to specific constraints and these constraints are often discussed in work seeking cross-linguistic evidence that shows systematicity of the conditions where allomorphy is found in the different components of grammatical analysis and the reasons to explain why and how languages allow this type of variation to appear in the predictions of different grammar models. The answer to those questions provides an insight into the function of the different grammar components and informs our understanding of their interaction. In my dissertation, I investigate these questions for Cypriot Greek within a Distributed Morphology framework.
Fieldwork in minority languages and contact-induced change
Language contact can often lead to the emergence of new structures that combine features from both languages. This creates the question of assuming two different grammars identifying the speakers as bilinguals or one single grammar using theoretical tools to explain the distribution of the new phenomena. Sanna is a severely endangered Arabic variety unique to Cyprus that is spoken by those living at the village of Kormakitis in northwest Cyprus, but also speakers across Cyprus who have left the village after the Turkish invasion in 1974. I am particularly interested in emerged grammatical phenomena from the interaction of Greek with Arabic and morphosyntactic contact-induced change and ways to model that using theoretical tools. You can see some of my work in this language here.
Language Acquisition in multilingual contexts
Cyprus is known for its diglossic or bilectal status, where the low variety of Cypriot Greek co-exists with the high variety of Standard Modern Greek. A number of interesting questions for these contexts are focused on the acquisition of syntax and the age when these speakers become competent in both languages, as well as the use of functionally equivalent variants from both languages in adult speech, as discussed in this work.
As part of the project “Cypriot Greek Aphasic Discourse and Grammar”, I am involved in research that establishes a small corpus of spontaneous language by individuals with non-fluent and fluent aphasia who are native speakers of
Cypriot Greek, provide targeted linguistic tasks to the participants and measure their performance, connect speech samples with accurate metadata, provide annotated language samples showing properties of speech for linguistic analysis and make available the data collected for further research and future work.
For more work on these questions: https://nataliapavlou.com/publications/