My linguistic research interests focus on the morphosyntax of Slavic, specifically on noun phrases in Russian and how they fit into the larger structure of a clause.  My broader interests are in linguistic typology, geolinguistics, and the relation between language and history.

My most recent achievements:

  • Articles: ““Mame Loshen”: The Role of Gender-Biased Language Contact in the Syntactic Development of Yiddish.” published in: Edit Doron, Malka Rappaport Hovav, Yael Reshef, and Moshe Taube (eds.) Linguistic Contact, Continuity and Change in the Genesis of Modern Hebrew. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Books: The Third Edition of Languages of the World is to be published by Cambridge University Press.
  • Talks: “Morphosyntactic peculiarities of one unusual construction in Russian”, joint work with Olga Mitrenina to be presented at Russian: constructional and lexico-semantic approaches in October 2019
  • Invites: Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics at the University of Washington, May 2020


Languages of the World: An Introduction. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. (coming out September 2017).

The Indo-European Controversy. Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics. Cambridge University Press (2015). With Martin W. Lewis.

Languages of the World: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. (2012).

Copular Sentences in Russian: A Theory of Intra-Clausal Relations (Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory). Springer. (2007).

Research Interests

  • Russian Morphosyntax: structure and interpretation of noun phrases; adjectives and other modifiers; split noun phrases; quantification and numerals; scrambling
  • Historical Linguistics: origins and development of the Indo-European language family, diachronic syntax, and language contact
  • Semantics: negation and polarity; referentiality and the lack thereof; distributivity; count/mass distinction
  • Linguistic Typology: morphological and syntactic variation across languages and parametric theory
  • Language Attrition & Heritage Languages, esp. of Heritage Russian
  • Languages: Russian, Italian, Tatar, Hebrew, Yiddish

Languages of the World Blog

Check out my Languages of the World Blog.

Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge