I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Linguistics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. My work is centered around three ideas:

  • First, meaning and usage are essential parts of language
  • Second, computational models can encode and test linguistic theories
  • Third, linguistics should be applied to practical problems

I focus on the intersection of form and usage and meaning: construction grammar, geographic variation, and metaphor. I describe this 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 implemented to solutions to difficult problems: Language Identification, Dialect Identification, CxG Parsing, and Language Mapping.

Right now I 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 predict an individual’s region-of-origin. This work depends on large geo-referenced corpora that reflect the demographics of underlying populations.