QLVL members - Jason Grafmiller


Jason Grafmiller studied linguistics at the Ohio State University, where he graduated with distinction in 2006. After leaving Ohio, he went west to pursue graduate studies at Stanford University, and in 2013 was awarded his PhD in Linguistics. As part of Stanford's Spoken Syntax Lab, he was involved in quantitative corpus and experimental reseach on a number of topics involving construction alternations in English. He continues in this line research as a postdoctoral research fellow at KU Leuven working with Benedikt Szmrecsanyi on the project "Exploring probabilistic grammar in varieties of English around the world".



E-mail: jason.grafmiller@kuleuven.be
Phone: +32 16 32 48 21
Fax: +32 16 32 47 67
Surface mail: Department of Linguistics, Blijde-Inkomststraat 21 PO Box 03308, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Office: room 02.38 of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Leuven



Jason's research aims to better understand the nature of syntactic variation in the context of natural language use. His work has focused on integrating formal aspects of language structure (syntax, semantics, phonology) with cognitive and/or functional explanations for particular phenomena. He has been involved in various projects analyzing corpus data, designing and running experiments (online and in the lab), and conducting sociolinguistic interviews and field elicitation. Specific areas of interest include: the role of semantic features (esp. agency and animacy) in argument realization and transitivity alternations; the nature of so-called "end-weight" effects in word order variation; and the interaction of syntactic, semantic and other cognitive factors in stylistic variation across registers and genres.

Jason's PhD thesis investigates the semantic and contextual factors influencing the syntactic behavior of English psychological verbs. The study is an empirically driven corpus-based approach to the analysis of English psychological verbs, exploring how the interaction of semantic and contextual factors gives rise to variable patterns in preferences for active or passive uses among verbs, the selection of preposition complements, and the use with agentive subjects. The corpus study shows that the varying behavior of different verbs with stative and/or agentive uses follows from the nature of the emotions the verbs describe, and this is further supported through experimental studies of folk emotion concepts.

Representative publications

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt, Jason Grafmiller, Benedikt Heller, and Melanie Röthlisberger. (To appear). "Around the world in three alternations: Modeling syntactic variation in varieties of English around the globe." English World-Wide.

Shih, Stephanie, Jason Grafmiller, Richard Futrell, and Joan Bresnan. (2015). "Rhythm's role in genitive construction choice in spoken English." In Vogel, R. and R. van de Vijver (eds) Rhythm in Phonetics, Grammar, and Cognition 207-234. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter.

Grafmiller, Jason (2014). "Variation in English genitives across modality and genres." English Language and Linguistics 18(3): 471-496.

Levin, Beth and Jason Grafmiller. (2013). "Do you always fear what frightens you?" In: King, Tracy H. and Valeria de Paiva (eds). From Quirky Case to Representing Space: Papers in Honor of Annie Zaenen 21-33. Stanford, CSLI Publications.