I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Linguistics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. My research is centered around three ideas:
- First, that meaning and usage are essential parts of language
- Second, that computational models can encode and test linguistic theories
- Third, that linguistics should be applied to practical problems
I have focused on the intersection of form, usage, and meaning: construction grammar, regional variation, and metaphor. I describe this collection of work as computational cognitive linguistics because it uses computational modeling to formalize and test ideas from Cognitive Linguistics. On a practical level, my work provides models that can be used to annotate written corpora: Language Identification, Dialect Identification, and CxG Parsing.
I currently am working on global-scale computational dialectology as the combination of grammar induction and geospatial text classification. The goal is to model regional syntactic variation so accurately that dialect models can be used to predict an individual’s region-of-origin. This work depends on large geo-referenced corpora that reflect the demographics of underlying populations.