Andrew McKenzie

Associate Professor of Linguistics
Affiliate Professor in Indigenous Studies
University of Kansas | KU Linguistics

Specializing in formal semantics and linguistic fieldwork.
Focus on Native American languages, especially Kiowa.

me at my desk, 2017. Credit: Miranda Anaya, University Daily Kansan

Office:       428 Blake Hall
Office Hrs:M 10-11:30 • W 2-3

News (click for more) 

As of this fall, I'm a tenured associate professor here at KU!

I will see you in New York this January as I attend SSILA to present on Kiowa locatives, and at LSA to present with Jeff Punske (So Illinois) on games in lingusitics teaching.

I have been awarded a grant from the Documenting Endangered Languages program! (read the grant abstract) The three-year project's goal is to result in a semantic reference grammar of Kiowa, along with papers that result. This kind of grammar is novel and promises to really help document not only Kiowa but other endangered and understudied languages as well.

Read about my grant in the University Daily Kansan, KU Today, and the Lawrence Journal-World. Better yet: Listen to the Public Radio report at KCUR FM or Kansas Public Radio!

Papers (Click to open)

Under review at Natural Language & Linguistic Theory.

Resolves two elements of weak compositionality in noun incorporation in one stroke. NI either involves non-objects (knife+cut) which are quantified over but whose relation to the verb is vague, or objects (meat+cut) whose relation is clear but whose entity argument is not saturated in a satsifactory way. Looking at Kiowa NI and English synthetic compounds, I show that these issues are both resolved if noun incorporation requires a mediating relation, which is independently needed in many cases. This relation provides a thematic role when required, and binds the entity argument, along with world and event arguments when the meaning requires. Object incorporation requires a mediating relation above the verb, provided by a derivational or light-verb head not in the inflectional projection.

submitted draft

Seed talk, presented at Modality across Categories workshop (slides | handout

Co-authors Gülnar Eziz and Travis Major. Accepted and in print at Glossa.

Employs semantic fieldwork techniques to argue that the auxiliary construction -(I)p bol- in the Turkic language Uyghur (and -(i)b bo'l- in Uzbek) is actually two constructions: The first asserts that the event relation is homomorphic, which leads to a sense of 'full completion.' The second, previously unattested in the literature, conventionally implicates that the event relation satisifies the content of some known content-bearing object. This paper promises a new line of research and offers suggestions for deep discoveries concerning Turkic auxiliaries and auxiliaries cross-linguistically.

accepted pre-print versionseed paper from BLS 41

Co-author Lydia Newkirk. Under revision at Linguistics & Philosophy.

We demonstrate that the English adverbial almost requires a modal in addition to scalar proximity. The modal involves the same Non-Interrupting ordering source that Portner finds in the progressive. If the event and its circumstances allow the event to proceed to completion in normal relevant counterparts to the topic situation, almost can apply `at a distance'. In cases where that isn't possible, notably in statives, present tense eventives, and cases where the evaluation is based on the result rather than the process, almost requires most of the necessary conditions to be complete.

draft version

seed paper from WCCFL 33

Available at Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics.

Critically annotated bibliography spanning major descriptive and theoretical work on switch-reference. Focuses on different switch-reference areas around the world, and major issues in the theory of switch-reference.

Get version (library subscription required)Get pre-print

Under revision for the Journal of Semantics

Examines switch-reference when it (non-canonically) ignores subjects, arguing that we can explain this if it is tracking the reference of the joined clauses' Austinian topic situations, rather than their subjects. In doing so, it highlights the role that the utterance context and speaker intent play in shaping reference-tracking.

get draft version

In the International Journal of American Linguistics. Offers a new and comprehensive survey of switch-reference in North American languages. It also discusses major descriptive issues concerning switch-reference, and problems with relying on targeted portions of reference grammars without checking other parts.

published versionaccepted pre-print version

in Methodolgies of Semantic Fieldwork

Uses ordinary semantic fieldwork techniques to elicit clear judgments that suggest that some types of movement that appear discourse-driven are actually moving to disambiguate between opaque and transparent readings. It's the fact of movement that signals discourse prominence, not the other way around.

accepted pre-print version
purchase volume (or better yet, ask your library to get one!)

Recent Teaching  

(Fall 2018)
Ling 107 - Intro to Linguistics (Honors)
Ling 447/747 - North American Indian Languages

(Spring 2018)
Ling 331/731 - Semantics
(click here to view video lecturelets)
Ling 441/741 - Field Methods

(Fall 2017)
Ling 107 - Intro to Linguistics (Honors)
Ling 575 - Structures of Kiowa


ling-macros LaTeX package (@CTAN!)
jayhawks LaTeX package (for KU colors)

Full curriculum vitae