Anna Szabolcsi

Anna Szabolcsi

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My main interest is in how and why form and meaning work in parallel — from combinatory categorial grammar, through weak islands (intervention effects) and quantification to, more recently, word-internal compositionality. In many languages, the same particles that form quantifier words have busy lives of their own as connectives, scalar and additive particles, question-markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do they have a stable semantics? Are they aided by silent operators in their varied roles — if yes, who are they?

I enjoy collaboration; I have co-authored books and papers with altogether  twenty  computational linguists, logicians, psychologists, semanticists, and syntacticians.

My 2010 book on Quantification (Cambridge Books Online) comments on research starting with the foundational work in the 1970s. It paints a vivid picture of generalized quantifiers and Boolean semantics. It explains how the discovery of diverse scope behavior in the 1990s transformed the view of quantification, and how the study of the internal composition of quantifiers has become central in recent years. It links formal semantics to advances in generative syntax, and systematically brings cross-linguistic data from around thirty languages to bear on the theoretical issues.


PhD. 1987 (Linguistics), Hungarian Academy of Sciences;
M.A. 1978 (Linguistics), Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest;
B.A. 1976 (English and Linguistics), Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.

Academic appointments:

Department of Linguistics, New York University, 1998-current.
Department of Linguistics, UCLA, 1990-1998.
Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1978-1990.


Honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2019.
KNAW Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam, ILLC, Fall 2014.
Associate Editor, Journal of Semantics, 2005-2013.
Associate Editor, Linguistics and Philosophy, 1997-2003.
Semantics Section Editor for Language and Linguistics Compass, Blackwell, 2006/07.
Editorial Board, Natural Language Semantics –2015; Linguistics and Philosophy; Journal of Logic, Language, and Information; Linguistic Inquiry; Semantics and Pragmatics; Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax; Finno-Ugric Languages and Linguistics –Present.
Director of Graduate Studies, Linguistics, NYU, Fall 2013.
Director of Graduate Studies, Linguistics, NYU, 1999-2001.
Chair, Linguistics, NYU, 2016-17.
Chair, Linguistics, NYU, 2001-2006.
Department Head, Research Institute for Linguistics, HAS, 1989-1990.
Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999.
National Science Foundation, Model Theoretic Semantics, Proof Theoretic Semantics, Semantically Flavored Syntactic Features (w/ Ed Stabler), 2005.
National Science Foundation, Weak Islands and Scope, 1993-95.
Faculty, European Summer School in Logic, Language & Information (ESSLLI)  20142007, 1991.
Faculty, Linguistic Society of America Linguistic Institute, 1993.
Organizer, SALT 2014, ICSH 2007, Polarity 2005, Proof Theory 2005, SALT 2001, GLOW 1988.
Zoltán Gombocz Medal, Linguistic Society of Hungary, 1989.
Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997.
Visiting Fellow, Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh, 1988.
A.P.Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1984/85.
Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, 1983.

Last updated July 25, 2020