About me

Hi, I’m Martín Fuchs, and I’m currently a postdoctoral researcher at UiL-OTS (Utrecht University). I work in the Time in Translation NWO-funded project (PIs: Henriëtte de Swart and Bert Le Bruyn), investigating the semantics of the Perfect on the basis of cross-linguistic parallel corpora and experimental techniques. I hold a PhD from Yale Linguistics (2020), where I worked in the Language & Brain Lab.

My research uses a combination of experimental methods and corpus studies to understand patterns of synchronic variation rooted in larger principles of semantic change —that is, I aim to explain how and why languages change in some ways but not in others. To this end, I investigate how these principles of meaning change are ultimately based on the cognitive architecture of the linguistic and conceptual systems.

In my dissertation I looked 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. I showed that the dialectal variation in the distribution of these markers is 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 formal characterizations of the meanings of the Progressive and the Imperfective, I put forward a series of cognitive mechanisms and communicative pressures that are at play in advancing the diachronic shift through its different stages, with the general goal of understanding the cognitive underpinnings of semantic variation and change. My dissertation committee members were María Mercedes Piñango (chair), Veneeta Dayal, Ashwini Deo, and Scott Schwenter.

At Utrecht University I have continued to develop this approach to meaning variation and change by looking at another aspectual domain: the Perfect and its interaction with the (Perfective) Past. On the basis of cross-linguistic parallel corpora research, I developed several experiments to assess the role of different linguistic and extralinguistic factors in the distribution of Perfect and (Perfective) Past forms across Western European languages.

I’m originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and, before my PhD at Yale, I did my undergrad studies at the Universidad de 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 doubling).