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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Stanley Dubinsky

Title: Professor
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-2208
Office: HUO, Room 217
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
English Language and Literature
Jewish Studies Program
Linguistics Program


PhD in Linguistics, Cornell University, 1985
MA in East Asian Literature (Chinese), Cornell University, 1981
BA in East Asian Studies (Chinese) and Spanish and Latin American Studies (literature), The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1978


Syntactic Theory
History of Linguistic Theory
General Linguistics


Mathematical Methods in Linguistics
Special topic: Language Conflict & Rights
Introduction to Linguistics
History and Methodology of Linguistics
Syntactic Theory


    Finalist, Mungo Graduate Teaching Award, 2007.
    Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences, 2006.
    Finalist, Mungo Graduate Teaching Award, 2006.
    Excellence in Teaching Award, South Carolina Alpha Chapter of Mortar Board, 2002.
    Sims Teaching Excellence Award, 2002.

Research Projects 

My primary research area is syntactic theory. That is, descriptions and explanations of syntactic structures in natural languages, coupled with attempts to derive from these an understanding of the universal properties of human language. Much of my research between 1985 and 1995 focused on the syntax of complex predicates in Japanese, including studies of causative, potential, and passive verbal inflections, as well as of light verb constructions. I have also investigated similar constructions in a few African languages, including causatives in Oromo, pseudopassives in Lingala (Bantu), and Chichewa (Bantu) passives and statives. My recent research involves numerous collaborative efforts and includes investigations into the relation between Case and aspect, infinitival relative clauses, extraction from NP, grammatical functions, raising and control structures, the use of adjectival and verbal -ed suffixation in 19th century poetry, the classroom applications of syntactic analyses of Japanese, and on-line processing of coordinate structures.


    Dubinsky: Understanding Language Through Humor
Stanley Dubinsky (with Chris Holcomb)
    Understanding Language Through Humor
University of Cambridge Press, 20011

Students often struggle to understand linguistic concepts through examples of language data provided in class or in texts. Presented with ambiguous information, students frequently respond that they do not 'get it'. The solution is to find an example of humour that relies on the targeted ambiguity. Once they laugh at the joke, they have tacitly understood the concept, and then it is only a matter of explaining why they found it funny. Utilizing cartoons and jokes illustrating linguistic concepts, this book makes it easy to understand these concepts, while keeping the reader's attention and interest. Organized like a course textbook in linguistics, it covers all the major topics in a typical linguistics survey course, including communication systems, phonetics and phonology, morphemes, words, phrases, sentences, language use, discourses, child language acquisition and language variation, while avoiding technical terminology.
Find out more information about Understanding Language Through Humor here

    Dubinsky: New Horizons in the Analysis of Control and Raising
Stanley Dubinsky (with William Davies)
    New Horizons in the Analysis of Control and Raising: Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Vol 71
Springer, 2007

Raising and control have figured in every comprehensive model of syntax for forty years. Recent renewed attention to them makes this collection a timely one. The contributions, representing some of the most exciting recent work, address many fundamental research questions. What beside the canonical constructions might be subject to raising or control analyses? What constructions traditionally treated as raising or control might not actually be so? What classes of control must be recognized? How do tense, agreement, or clausal completeness figure in their distribution? The chapters address these and other relevant issues, and bring new empirical data into focus.
Find out more information about New Horizons in the Analysis of Control and Raising here

    Dubinsky: The Grammar of Raising and Control: A Course in Syntatic Argumentation
Stanley Dubinsky (with William Davies)
    The Grammar of Raising and Control: A Course in Syntatic Argumentation
Wiley-Blackwell, 2004

The Grammar of Raising and Control surveys analyses across a range of theoretical frameworks from Rosenbaum's classic Standard Theory analysis (1967) to current proposals within the Minimalist Program, and provides readers with a critical understanding of these, helping them in the process to develop keen insights into the strengths and weaknesses of syntactic arguments in general.
Find out more information about The Grammar of Raising and Control: A Course in Syntatic Argumentation here

    Dubinsky: Objects and Other Subjects: Grammatical Functions, Functional Categories and Configurationality
Stanley Dubinsky (with William Davies)
    Objects and Other Subjects: Grammatical Functions, Functional Categories and Configurationality, Vol 52
Springer, 2001

The papers in this volume examine the current role of grammatical functions in transformational syntax in two ways: (i) through largely theoretical considerations of their status, and (ii) through detailed analyses for a wide variety of languages. Taken together the chapters in this volume present a comprehensive view of how transformational syntax characterizes the elusive but often useful notions of subject and object, examining how subject and object properties are distributed among various functional projections, converging sometimes in particular languages.
Find out more information about Objects and Other Subjects: Grammatical Functions, Functional Categories and Configurationality here

2006 (with William Davies). Guest edited issue (9.2) of Syntax: A journal of theoretical, experimental and interdisciplinary research 9.2; a special issue featuring articles based on a symposium at the 2005 LSA annual meeting, "New Horizons in the Grammar of Raising and Control".


    (with Shoko Hamano). Framing the syntax of control in Japanese (and English). In Norbert Hornstein and Maria Polinsky (eds.), Movement Theory of Control, 183-210. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Press.
    (with Susannah Kirby and William Davies) Up to d[eb]ate on Raising and Control, Part 1: Properties and analyses of the constructions. Language and Linguistics Compass 4:390-400.
    (with Susannah Kirby and William Davies) Up to d[eb]ate on Raising and Control, Part 2: The empirical range of the constructions and research on their acquisition. Language and Linguistics Compass 4:401-416.

    (with Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva) The distribution of subjects and predicates in Bulgarian: An (EPP) V-Feature account. Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 17:237-252.
    (with William Davies). On the existence (and distribution) of sentential subjects. In Donna B. Gerdts, John C. Moore, and Maria Polinsky (eds.), Hypothesis A/hypothesis B: Linguistic explorations in honor of David M. Perlmutter, 111-128. Current Studies in Linguistics 49. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    (with William Davies). On extraction from NPs. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 21:1-37.
    (with William Richey). Assessing the stylistic proclivity of the poet: Evidence from the -ed/-'d alternation. Southern Journal of Linguistics 25.136-44.

    (with William Davies). Bypassing subjacency effects: How event structure amnesties extraction out of object NPs. Proceedings of the North East Linguistics Society (NELS 31). Amherst: GSLA Publications, University of Massachusetts, pp. 199-214.

    (with Marie Egan, René Schmauder, and Matthew Traxler). Functional projections of predicates: Experimental evidence from coordinate structure processing. Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental, and Interdisciplinary Research 3:182-214.

    (with Robert Hamilton). Epithets as antilogophoric pronouns. Linguistic Inquiry 29:685-693.

    Predicate union and the syntax of Japanese passives. Journal of Linguistics 33:1-37.

    (with Ron Simango). Passive and stative in Chichewa: Evidence for modular distinctions in grammar. Language 72:749-781.

    (with Kemp Williams). Recategorization of prepositions as complementizers. Linguistic Inquiry 26:125-137.

    (with Mazemba Nzwanga). A challenge to Burzio's generalization: Impersonal transitives in western Bantu. Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences 32:47-64.

    (with Maria-Rosa Lloret and Paul Newman). Lexical and syntactic causatives in Oromo. Language 64:485-500.