The goal of this SSHRC-funded project is to investigate the syntax of nominal linkers across languages. A well-known example of such linkers is the Persian Ezafe, which links the noun with its modifiers in an iterative manner: N-Ez Mod1-Ez Mod2-Ez Mod3. Starting with the better-studied Persian case known as the Ezafe, in its first stage, the project takes on a systematic comparative investigation of several Iranian languages to establish the properties nominal linkers in each of these languages possess. With the backdrop of the microvariationist study of nominal linkers in Iranian languages, in the second stage of the project, the investigation will be extended to a macro-level by exploring a number of non-Iranian languages, including those for which the existence of nominal linkers has already been noted as well as new ones. The project has three goals: first, to build the first cross-linguistic database of linkers spanning broad areal and genetic classifications; second, to provide a cross-classification of nominal linkers based on a detailed study of their properties in these languages; third, to enhance our understanding of the syntax of linkers and thereby facilitate a deeper understanding of the structure of noun phrases and the architecture of grammar.
Sahar Taghipour (2023–present; Research Assistant 2018–2023)
My primary research interests are in morphology, syntax and their interface. I have been working on the morphosyntax of Kurdish dialects (Northwestern Iranian) with a special focus on their agreement patterns in nominal and verbal domains. I served as a graduate Research Assistant in the Linker project from 2018 to 2023. The aim of our project is to examine a variety of patterns of nominal linkers across languages and provide accounts and generalization for them. Over the past couple of years, I have been particularly involved in research on a number of Iranian languages commonly known as Reverse Ezafe languages (i.e., Gilaki, Sangesari, Taleshi and Tati). What is of particular interest for our project about these languages is the different behaviour of their nominal linkers compared to that of Ezafe languages, as well as certain similarities these languages share in their nominal patterns. I am currently involved in the Linker project in my new role as a Research Associate at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
Mojgan Osmani (2023 – present)
I received my PhD from Tarbiat Modares University in 2019. My doctoral dissertation is entitled ‘The Study of Phases in the Structure of Kurdish Sentences’. My primary areas of research interest are case and agreement systems, in particular ergativity. I have just started working as a University of Toronto Mississauga Postdoctoral Fellow in Humanities. I am based in the Department of Language Studies at UTM. My postdoctoral work is focused on the syntax of clitics in Iranian languages, especially central Kurdish (Sanandaji). My research data has recently been expanded to include additional Iranian languages. The variation found in the distribution of clitics in Iranian languages, despite lots of syntactic similarities otherwise, makes them a perfect test case for a microparametric study. I also joined the Linker project at the beginning of September 2023 and look forward to a productive couple of years with this vibrant group.
Songül Gündoğdu (2019–2021; Collaborator 2021 – present)
Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics
Dr. Songül Gündoğdu received her MA and PhD in Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics at Boğaziçi University in Turkey. In her doctoral thesis, she investigated the event structure and argument structure of simplex and complex predicates in Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) with a specific emphasis on the syntax of different types of arguments (e.g. postverbal goals, adpositional objects and nominal element of certain noun-verb complex predicates). She was awarded the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics for two years and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Syntax of Nominal Linkers project between 2019 and 2021. She is currently working as a faculty member in the Department of the English Language and Literature at Muş Alparslan University, Turkey. Her main areas of research interest are morphosyntactic aspects of Iranian languages – specifically Kurdish and Zazaki, such as the Ezafe constructions in Iranian languages, case and ergativity, argument structure and negation. She is a native speaker of Kurmanji and Turkish, and she is fluent in English.
This postdoctoral fellowship was made possible with funds from SSHRC and Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.
RCHI is a private foundation dedicated to promoting the preservation, transmission and instruction of Persian language and culture around the world. Under the leadership and vision of its founder and chair, Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, RCHI has provided millions of US dollars in endowments, grants and fellowships in support of Persian-related educational and cultural activities at some of the most esteemed universities and museums in the United States and throughout the world, including the University of Toronto. A native of Iran, Dr. Mir-Djalali holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Sorbonne in Paris, as well as two Master’s degrees, one from the Sorbonne and the other from Georgetown University in Washington D.C, where she taught French language. She also taught Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and spent nearly 15 years of volunteered work translating texts of Sufi masters, from Persian into French and English. She founded Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute in 2000.
- Umit Atlamaz, Facebook Reality Labs
- Marcel den Dikken, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
- Songül Gündoğdu, Muş Alparslan University, Turkey
- Monica Irimia, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia
- Diane Massam, University of Toronto
- Mansour Shabani, Guilan University
- Ur Shlonsky, Université de Genève