- since October 2017: PhD Student at the Collaborative Research Center 833: The Construction of Meaning at Tübingen University
- January - September 2017: Research Assistant and PhD Student at the Research Training Group 1808: Ambiguity – Production and Perception at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; associated with the Collaborative Research Center 833: The Construction of Meaning at Tübingen University
- April – December 2016: PhD Student in the Research Training Program IGRA (Interaction of Grammatical Building Blocks), Leipzig University
- April – Dezember 2014: Project Assistant (Argument Structure Acquisition in Child Language), Boğaziçi University, Istanbul
- 2011 – 2015: Master of Arts in Linguistics at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul
- MA Thesis: "Turkish Change of State Verbs in the Inchoative – Causative Alternation".
- 2004 – 2009: Bachelor of Arts in Language, Culture, Translation at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz
- Licensing and processing of ambiguous adverbs at the syntax-semantics interface
- The morphosyntax and semantics of voice systems
»Die cross-linguistische Verarbeitung ambiger Adverbien: Eine Fallstudie im Türkischen und Deutschen« (working title)
As is widely known, many adverbs are ambiguous between two different readings depending on their syntactic position. This is illustrated in (1).
(1) a. John cleverly answered their questions.
“It was clever of John to answer their questions.”
b. John answered their questions cleverly.
“John answered their questions in a clever manner.”
Essentially, the manner adverb cleverly in (1a) is interpreted as expressing the speaker´s attitude towards the proposition. In (1b), the same adverb is interpreted as expressing the manner, in which the event denoted by the verb takes place. In the literature, adverbs such as cleverly in (1a) that receive a speaker-oriented interpretation are often called high adverbials due to their position in the syntactic hierarchy, while the adverbs in (1b) that receive a manner interpretation are referred to as low adverbials.
In generative linguistics tradition, the principles that govern adverb ambiguity resolution have been accounted for by resorting to syntax (Rawlins 2008), lexical semantics (Frazier and Rayner 1990) or syntax-semantics interface (Frey 2003, Maienborn 2001, Haider 2003; 2010). In behavioral studies, there seems to be recent evidence that a given language might employ an additional means to resolve structural ambiguity resolution, which is information structure (Stolterfoht, 2015). Two languages that are interesting to test such a phenomenon are German and Turkish, because both exhibit a fairly flexible word order and therefore open space to investigate adverb scope with respect to other syntactic elements.
Given this background, the following main research questions guide my PhD research project:
1. In German and Turkish, which area(s) of grammar play(s) a role in adverbial ambiguity resolution?
2. If multiple areas of grammar like syntax-semantics interface and prosody play a role in adverbial ambiguity resolution, in what way do they make the ambiguous adverbial semantics available?
The general aim of the present project is to study how native speakers of German and Turkish process ambiguous adverbs to gain insights into the grammar of adverbs as well as to inform their theoretical modelling within a generative linguistic approach.
- 2012 – 2014 Instructor of English as a second language, Kadir Has University, Istanbul.
Papers and Posters
- "Testing the Transparency Hypothesis: The Acquisition of Turkish Verbs and the Role of Morphosyntax." GK-Klausurtagung (IGRA) in Kohren-Sahlis, 27 September 2016.
- "Turkish change of state verbs as compositionally derived syntactic constructs." Poster presented at the l2th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL) at Central Connecticut State University, CT, USA.2015
- "Turkish Change of State Verbs in the Inchoative - Causative Alternation." Talk at the BLC (Boğaziçi Linguistic Community), Istanbul.
- "Internal and external causation revisited: What Causer PP distribution among Turkish inchoatives reveal." Paper at the 17. International Conference on Turkish Linguistics (ICTL) an der Rouen Universität, Frankreich.
- "Is non-active morphology a reliable indicator of external causation? Evidence from Turkish." Poster am 9. Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL) at Cornell University, NY.
- Balakbabalar, F. (2015). "Is non-Active morphology a reliable indicator of external causation? Evidence from Turkish". In A. Joseph & E. Predolac (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. 299-305.
- Balakbabalar, F. (forthcoming). "Turkish change of state verbs as compositionally derived syntactic constructs". Proceedings of the 12th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.
- Balakbabalar, F. (forthcoming). "Turkish internally caused change of state verbs as a heterogeneous verb class: Evidence from causer phrase distribution and transitivization." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Turkish Linguistics. Harrasowitz Verlag: Wiesbaden.