Prof. Elena Benedicto

Ph.D. Linguistics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1998
Doctora Filologia Llatina, Universitat de Barcelona, 1992

Professor Benedicto is a syntactician and directs the Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab (IELLab) at Purdue.

Her work reflects a combined interest for the formal analysis of Human Language, with an interest to explore the linguist’s (the scientist, more generally) social responsibility towards the language community they work with.

As a formal syntactician, her research interests focus on issues around the Syntax-Semantics interface in the framework of Generative Grammar, in particular on the relation between the abstract core properties observed in human languages and the great diversity in which those properties are manifested.

Her main theoretical interests center around the feature specification of functional projections in the clausal structure. More specifically, she works on the morpho-syntactic phenomena that correlate with the functional syntactic architecture of a language: Switch Reference systems in Serial Verbal Constructions, modality, evidentiality, ... She is currently involved in several research projects on Mayangna (a Misumalpan language), on Sign Languages and on (natural) Language Acquisition.

Previous work was on the syntax of bare nouns (in Catalan and English), the zero-copula in AAE, verbal classifiers crosslinguistically, and Latin (relative clauses, proleptic accusative and long-distance reflexives).

As a scientist interested in issues of social responsibility, she is engaged in exploring Participatory (Action) Research and in promoting the internationalization of undergraduate students to become responsible global citizens.

She teaches courses on Syntax (graduate and undergraduate), on Native American languages, on Field methods in linguistics, and on Global Collaborations. She actively tries to engage students in research projects through internship programs in the IELLab.

Prof. Benedicto is a member of the Linguistics Program and the English Language and Linguistics Program. She also collaborates on an occasional basis with the Women Studies Program, the Classics Program and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program.