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Elena Benedicto

Elena Benedicto

Professor // English

Professor // Linguistics // SIS

Professor // Latin American Studies // SIS

Professor // SIS

Professor // Native American and Indigenous Studies // SIS

Affiliated Faculty // Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies // SIS

Research focus:
Theoretical Syntax, Language Documentation

Office and Contact

Room: HEAV 307B


Phone: (765) 494-4442

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


Linguistics - Generative Grammar 

Research Areas:
Formal theoretical Linguistics; Syntax and Syntax-Semantics Interface; Sign Languages; Indigenous, endangered and minority languages; Language Acquisition (of multiple grammars by children).

Languages of interest:
Mayangna; Sign Languages (ASL, LSC, LSA, HKSL); Non-standard varieties of English (African American English, Creoles, ...); and Romance Languages.

Professor Benedicto (Ph.D. in Linguistics, Umass-Amherst 1998; Ph.D. Classics, U. of Barcelona 1992) is a syntactician and directs the Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab (IELLab) at Purdue.

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.

More specifically, she works on morpho-syntactic phenomena that correlate with the 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).

She is involved in promoting the internationalization of undergraduate students and in developing ways to include them in reserach projects.  She teaches courses on Syntax (graduate and undergraduate), on Native American languages and on Field methods in linguistics.

She is a member of the Linguistics Program.  She also collaborates with the Latino and Latin American Program in SIS and is affiliated with the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Program. 

Students interested in the old English Language and Linguistics Program should contact the Linguistics Program.