Noah Diewald


About Me

I am a PhD candidate in the Ohio State University Linguisitcs Department where I research morphology. Recently, I have been concerned with morphology-semantics interface(s) in abstractive, Word-and-Paradigm-style systems.

My dissertation research studies the properties of Wao Terero adjectival classifier constructions when used anaphorically. The adjectival classifier system is a subsystem of what Aikenvald calls a multi-classifier system. This multi-classifier system is, itself, a subsystem of a lexical suffix system. The “same” suffixes used in classifier constructions are also used in forming nominal constructions with meanings similar to noun-noun compounds. When used as classifiers with demonstratives, adjectives, (possibly) verbs, etc. the classifier meaning contributes what appears to be a conventional implicature-like meaning in many cases.

My research integrates two methodologies, formal modeling and elicitation-based fieldwork. I use modern type theories, such as the Calculus of Constructions, to model lexical form-meaning relationships in inflectional and derivational morphology. My elicitation-based fieldwork sees a connection between what Cronbach termed correlational studies and the traditional elicitation-based fieldwork approach. Very roughly, a correlational approach contrasts with experimental approaches in that correlational studies are interested in individuals and individual differences, while experimentation seeks to determine averages across a population. (Take this with a grain of salt and read Cronbach’s talk linked to above for more nuance.) Given this, my domain of interest is the grammatical knowledge of individuals. This knowledge is largely implicit but probes and diagnostics allow the researcher to determine its nature. Though it is not commonly done, I am working to incorporate the methodologies for evaluating construct validity into my diagnostic designs. Though these attempts are in early stages and build on techniques that may seem antequated at the cutting edge of psychometrics, it is largely uncharted territory in the linguistic fieldwork domain. The formal models and empirical fieldwork reinforce one another. Fieldwork provides evidence for the elaboration of the formal model. The formal model behaves as a component of a nomological network, which guides the formulation of diagnostics.

In addition to my current work. I have also worked with languages in the Algonquian and Quechuan families. I have had a long involvement with the digital humanities, contributing technical skills to a number of documentation projects that have resulted in valuable resources for both researchers and the communities involved.