Tanmoy Bhattacharya
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

Varies as per semester
Winter Semester, 2020:
Wed 11:00-1:30
And by appointment
My research falls into the following (overlapping) categories:

1. Multiple Agreement. First, I worked on a group of languages that evolved from Magadhi Prakrit, namely, languages like Maithili, Magahi, Angika etc., that are different from languages that evolved from Sauraseni Prakrit, namely, Hindi-Urdu, in being multiple-argument agreement languages. In Bhattacharya (2016), I tried to show that these groups of languages are parametrically different from Hindi-Urdu in certainly this aspect of agreement, and therefore a different theoretical explanation for the phenomenon of agreement must be found. Following that research, in Bhattacharya (2017a,b, 2018b), I have tried to show that with the pronominal cliticization phenomenon in the Munda languages, at least in the Kherwarian or North Munda languages like Mundari, Santhali and Ho, again we find that both the subject and the object pronominals cliticize on to the predicate (and/or a pre-verbal element). I tried to show that this phenomenon, being different technically from agreement, again requires a different theoretical treatment. In Bhattacharya (2018a) and Bhattacharya and Sharma (forthcoming), this observation was extended to the agreeing Tibeto-Burman languages across the Himalayan region (including Nepal) and southern Chin languages in Mizoram. Apart from these being microparameters across a contiguous belt extending eastward from the foothills of the Himalayas to Burma, verb-indexation and/or agreement with more than one argument seems not to be that uncommon even within South Asia.

2. Participial Agreement. In a research that began in 2015, I found clear cases of syntactic variation and optionality in agreement in relative and adverbial participles in Hindi-Urdu. I presented the results in the 34th SALA meeting in Konstanz in 2018, followed by a more detailed version at the 12th Asian GLOW at Seoul in 2019. This work is now about to come out in a volume from Mouton titled Trends in South Asian Linguistics edited by Ghanshyam Sharma and John Lowe.

3.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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.