Introduction

I am a SSHRC-Stipendiatin from Canada and will stay at ZAS for two years (2012-2014). My main research interests are in Syntax and Morphology.

I have a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. My Ph.D. dissertation, Form and Function of Expressive Morphology: A Case Study of Russian, focuses on syntax and semantics of Russian expressive suffixes. The dissertation shows that there is no 1:1 correspondence between form and function of expressive elements, which has important implications for the syntax–semantic mapping of categorization. As such, it has the potential to trigger a whole new direction of research on categorization. I also develop formal and functional criteria for expressive constructions that will be of use not only for Russian, but ultimately for all languages. These criteria will play a crucial role in developing a linguistic typology of expressive constructions. The dissertation is available at: hdl.handle.net/2429/424 (UBC website) and www.steriopolo.com (my website).

The main goal of my research at ZAS is to develop a linguistic typology of expressive constructions, an area of linguistics that is currently understudied. What makes expressive constructions particularly interesting is the fact that their meaning (‘function’) is similar across languages, but their syntactic structure (‘form’) differs significantly from one language to the next. Modern approaches to categorization assume vague functional criteria to identify the category of expressive constructions, but these approaches lack precise formal criteria. My research plan for a linguistic typology is available at www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/mitarbeiter_steriopolo.html.

Besides my research on expressive constructions, I have been working on the following research projects: (i) The syntax of homophones; (ii) Correlation between gender and inflectional class; (iii) A typology of common gender nouns; and (iv) The distributed GENDER hypothesis (with Dr. Martina Wiltschko at UBC).

In addition to my interests in syntax and semantics, I also maintain strong interests in phonology. I have a particular interest in Slavic yer vowels. In my paper Yer vowels in Russian prepositions, I propose empirical generalizations and a detailed OT analysis of Russian yers. This study is the first systematic investigation of yer vowels in Russian prepositions that shows that patterns of yer realization in prepositions are different from those in roots, suffixes, and prefixes.

Besides my work in theoretical linguistics, I have been involved in the issues of language endangerment, maintenance, and revitalization, particularly with respect to the Canadian First Nations languages. I participated in three language revitalization projects, supervised by Dr. Henry Davis at UBC: (i) “A Dialect Survey of Nuuchahnulth”; (ii) “Ahousaht Dictionary”, and (iii) Applicative Morphemes in Nuuchahnulth.

My academic background is internationally diverse. I have taught in four different counties: USA, Canada, Russia, and Ukraine. I have published numerous scholarly articles in five different countries. My academic success was rewarded by 15 academic awards from four countries. I speak six languages (Russian, Ukrainian, English, German, French, and Spanish), in three of which I am fluent.

I have taught various courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels at the following institutions: (i) The Department of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia (Canada); (ii) The International Center at the University of Northern Colorado (USA); (iii) The Department of Philology at St.-Petersburg State University (Russia); and (iv) The Linguistic Centre at the Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management (Ukraine). I have a passion for teaching and always encourage students to think critically. I believe that a personal approach and moral support are as important as teaching the skills and concepts relevant to the course.