James Blevins

James Blevins
Résidents Labex RFIEA+
pas Eurias

dates de séjour

15/09/2012 - 15/07/2013


Sciences du langage et linguistique

Fonction d’origine

Assistant Director of Research

Institution d’origine

Université de Cambridge (Royaume-Uni)

Fonction actuelle


Institution actuelle

Université de Cambridge (Royaume-Uni)

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Morphological complexity

This project aims to develop an integrated measure of morphological complexity, using established information-theoretic techniques to integrate paradigmatic and syntagmatic sources of complexity. Within the paradigmatic dimension, complexity correlates with the uncertainty associated with a paradigm cell (or set of cells), given knowledge of one or more forms of the same item. Within the syntagmatic dimension, complexity correlates with the surprisal of an expansion given knowledge of some initial subsequence in the expansion. Morphology provides a suitable domain for this study given that the space of variation is considerably larger than in phonology but much better mapped out than in syntax. Moreover, the use of information-theoretic constructs not only offers a consolidated measure, but explains how other factors, such as expansion length or hierarchical domain size, correlate indirectly with the ultimate sources of complexity. To a significant extent, complexity is determined by the size of a choice space, and other factors interact with complexity insofar as they influence this size of this space or contribute to the difficulty of traversing it.



James Blevins teaches morphology and syntax in the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1990. He is a general linguist with a primary focus on the structure, learning, and processing of complex inflectional and grammatical systems. His research approaches these issues from the standpoint of word and paradigm morphological models and constraint-based syntactic frameworks, using analytic tools and insights drawn from cognitively-grounded information-theoretic and discriminative perspectives.

He has complementary interests in computational models of grammatical systems, and the use of robust computational techniques to address traditional linguistic questions, and the study of aspects of sound patterns and meaning that interact closely with grammar.