sarah e. murray

research interests

formal semantics and pragmatics

My primary interests are the semantics and pragmatics of natural language, specifically what sorts of formal representations are needed to analyze a variety of linguistic structures across grammatically diverse languages.

Cheyenne & fieldwork

I have been doing fieldwork with Cheyenne over the summers since 2006 on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Southeastern Montana. (see the Cheyenne pages and the papers and talks pages for more information).

In addition, I'm interested in fieldwork and field methods in general, especially the methodology of semantic fieldwork (here is an excellent paper on the topic by Lisa Matthewson). This interest was sparked by a field methods course I took at Wayne State University, where we studied Ottawa, an Algonquian language (like Cheyenne). It was actually my field methods professor, Laura Buszard-Welcher, who introduced me to Wayne Leman, a linguist who has extensively studied and documented Cheyenne. Wayne has been invaluable in helping me learn about Cheyenne and get involved with the Cheyenne community.

cognitive science & philosophy of language

I completed a Certificate in Cognitive Science along with my Ph.D. at Rutgers. In addition to being actively involved with the Cognitive Science community, I was part of a group doing interdisciplinary research in semantics. I also worked on a project with Rutgers Philosophy professor Jason Stanley. The project was an in-depth investigation of the relationship between evidentials and epistemic modals. The project involved studying the philosophical literature on epistemic modals and using the distinctions and debates developed therein to probe the meaning of evidentials. The project was also aimed at constructing more fine-grained questions for my fieldwork on evidentials in Cheyenne.