Hi, I’m Martín Fuchs, and I’m a 6th year PhD graduate student at Yale Linguistics.
I work in the Language & Brain Lab, where I study semantic variation and change. My research uses experimental methods and corpus studies to understand patterns of synchronic variation as a manifestation of larger principles of semantic change. I investigate how some of these principles are ultimately based on the cognitive architecture of the linguistic and conceptual systems. In particular, I study how diachronic patterns of change (i.e., grammaticalization paths) constrain the synchronic variation observed across speakers of different dialects in the way that they use and interpret the meaning of specific markers.
I just defended my dissertation, where I look at how the different readings of the Imperfective domain (event-in-progress, habitual, and continuous) are expressed in Mexican Altiplano, Central Peninsular, and Rioplatense Spanish through the use of the Simple Present and the Present Progressive markers. The dialectal variation that we observe in the distribution of these markers is shown to be partially constrained by the Progressive-to-Imperfective shift, a grammaticalization path that has been well documented across different languages and language families. On the basis of clear formal characterizations of the meaning of the Progressive and the Imperfective, the dissertation advances a proposal of the cognitive mechanisms and the communicative pressures that are at play in advancing the diachronic shift through its different stages (i.e., the emergence of a new marker for the event-in-progress reading, the categoricalization of the markers –one per reading–, and the generalization of the new marker to all readings), with the general goal of understanding the cognitive underpinnings of the synchronic variation that we observe. My dissertation committee members are María Mercedes Piñango (chair), Veneeta Dayal, Ashwini Deo, and Scott Schwenter.
I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina and, before coming to Yale, I did my undergrad studies at the University of Buenos Aires. During those years, I was part of the Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics Lab at the Instituto de Lingüística, where I did some research on the morphosyntactic properties of agrammatism (agreement processing, relative clause comprehension, clitic interpretation).