Kyle Rawlins

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science Department


I am interested in the distribution and interpretation of modifiers. This has interacted with much of my other work, including my work on conditionals, as well as my advising (see especially dissertations written by Charley Beller, Lilia Rissman, and Erin Zaroukian).

One focus not represented elsewhere on this site is adverbs and other modifiers, especially manner and domain adverbs such as slowly, illegally, and linguistically. I have been particularly interested in differences in interpretation that follow from position of the adverb. In general, the project has been to investigate the degree to which such difference follow from scope of the adverb relative to other operators. In the case of adverbs like illegally and rudely, I have argued that these differences follow entirely from scope with respect to existential closure and typeshifting operations, as opposed to any lexical differences. In the case of temporal/rate adverbs like slowly, I have argued that scope with respect to aspectual operators is the crucial factor. My lab has recently worked on “beneficent” adverbs such as kindly; we develop an account where differences in assignment of a beneficiary argument follow from scope relative to the verb. A closely related project is to understand the interaction of adverbs with degree morphology, something explored in my 2013 paper on Cresswell’s adverbs of space and time.