Hello! I'm Sam.


I'm a Phonologist. I study the way that processes of complex word formation affect the distribution of sounds within languages, and the ways in which languages allow corresponding sounds in related words to be different and/or require them to be the same, in order to better understand the cognitive architecture that underlies the grammatical system of human language. I also study the way these phenomena change over time, and what this sort of change tells us about the language learning process and the language faculty generally.​

More specifically, I investigate reduplication and other types of nonconcatenative/prosodic morphology, as a means of trying to determine what theoretical machinery our models of phonology and morphology really need, things like:

  • Prosodic templates (working hypothesis: no, not really)

  • Morphological templates (working hypothesis: kind of, but maybe we can derive them)

  • Output-Output correspondence (working hypothesis: yes, in several domains)

  • Serialism vs. parallelism (working hypothesis: parallelism, mostly)



What is the right framework for analyzing reduplication? Do we need prosodic templates? How do reduplication patterns change over time, and how does the grammar react to those changes?

Morpheme Ordering

How does the Mirror Principle get implemented in word-level linearization? How does morpheme ordering interact with phonology?

Nonconcatenative Morphology

Can nonconcatenative morphological systems like Arabic be explained without prosodic templates? Can we find Mirror Principle effects even in nonconcatenative systems?

Copy Epenthesis

Do we need correspondence between copy vowel and host vowel in copy epenthesis? How does this sort of correspondence arise? Can it be connected structurally to other types of correspondence?



Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD in Linguistics (Theoretical Phonology)


University of Georgia

MA in Linguistics (Historical Linguistics)


Georgetown University

BA in Linguistics, Classics (minor in History)


Feb 2020 - present

Leipzig University

Postdoctoral Researcher in Grammatical Theory

Sep 2018 - Jan 2020

Princeton University


Sep 2017 - Aug 2018

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral Associate