Tanmoy Bhattacharya
Associate Professor of Linguistics


Centre for Advanced Studies in Linguistics
University of Delhi
Delhi 110007

Email: tanmoy at linguistics dot du dot ac dot in

Phone: +91-11-27666676 ext 108

Office Hours

Fri 2:30-5:00
And by appointment
My research falls into the following (overlapping) categories:

1.Wh, Superiority and Sluicing. Are the so-called Wh-in-situ languages really in-situ or do they involve Wh-Movement? In a major break from the tradition, in joint work with Andrew Simpson of the USC, I show that not only is Bangla a Wh-Movement language but several diagnostics point towards a Verb-medial characterization of the language -- a theme which was successfully explored in my UCL PhD. In this connectiion, the true nature of Superiority is examined and shown that it's not a syntactic phenomenon at all. Furthermore, Sluicing constructions in Bangla seem to provide compelling evidence in favour of a Wh-movement account of the language.

2. Argument Structure. The word order issues that come up with the structure of complex sentences and displacement -- as above -- find clearer expressions in the domain of ditransitives, especially with respect to the positioning of the High versus the low. Futhermore, the unique presence of the phenomenon of "multiple agreement" in handful of Eastern/ Central Indian languages, provides insight into the make-up of argument strucure in general. Finally, the gerundal/ causative origin of the Bangla passive throw further light on argument strucure in terms of the alignment of its arguments.

3. Clause-internal Complementizers. Although Bangla behaves likes some of the other Indo-Aryan languages in terms of the order of the embedded clause in relation to the matrix predicate in showing a mixed-order, namely, [SV[SOV]], it has a unique feature of clause-internal placement of the COMP which is not shared by any other language. Making use of the Antisymmetry theory of Syntax, it is shown that not only does the model provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenon, the notion of "what is not a Phase" becomes a crucial theoretical tool that provides the much needed justification for the set of movements in Antisymmetry.

4. Minimalist Theory. Questions about the "Program" are being raised in terms of the Architecture especially with regards to the procedures a language follows to specify a language and to generate an expression. More than this, however, the issue of the role of the interfaces in the Minimalist Program attained the kind of importance not previously seen. It was therefore somewhat surprising that there weren't many papers that dealt with this new twist in the MP; my work in this area has been to offset that to some extent.

5. Noun Phrases. With a talk in 1992 in Hyderabad, I inititated the work on the nominal domain in the Indian languages from the perspective of the DP Hypothesis. Much of my early work in Syntax was devoted to the nominal domain. My 1999 PhD from UCL was on the Structure of the Bangla DP, where it was shown that some languages may employ phrasal rather than Head movement inside the DP. Within the DP, the Spec, the Head, and the complement domain were examined from the perspective of new data/ construction which included the proposal for nP for the first time (in line with vP) in a talk in York, UK in 1996.