Mary Byram Washburn
Research & Practice Areas
- Ph.D. , University of Southern California, 2013
- M.A. , University of Southern California, 2009
- B.A. , Univ Arizona, 5/2007
Summary Statement of Research Interests
I am very interested in the formal representation of Information Structure, particularly of focus. My past work has concentrated on the meaning of focus and the possibility of multiple types of focus. A significant part of this work has been demonstrating the non-exhaustivity of it-clefts (ex: It was John who arrived late.) as part of demonstrating that this focus could be of the same type as found associating with particles such as “also.”
More generally, I research cognition and language: the neural processes that allow us to derive meaning from strings of sounds. I’m particularly interested in determining what portions of deriving meaning require specialized, language-specific knowledge (i.e. semantics) and which are a product of our experience with various contexts (i.e. pragmatics). Towards this end, experimental design is very important to me.