Utrecht institute of Linguistics
Dept. of General Linguistics, St. Petersburg State University

E-mail: slioussar at
slioussar at
about myself research talks&papers courses&materials other stuff

My site has moved to, and I left here an old version!

About Myself

I was born in St.Petersburg, Russia, on November 16, 1980. In 1997 I graduated from St.Petersburg Classical Gymnasium, or high school #610 (cum laude), and entered the Department of Classical Languages of St.Petersburg State University. In 1999 I transferred to the Department of General Linguistics. I received my M.A. Diploma (cum laude) in 2003, majoring in general linguistics and psycholinguistics. The program I graduated from combined B.A. and M.A., so I do not have a separate B.A. Diploma. The title of my M.A. thesis is Psycholinguistic study of the mental lexicon structure on the material of Russian verbs. While doing my M.A., I was awarded the scholarship of the President of Russian Federation to study abroad and used it to study at the Linguistics Department of the University of Maryland in 2001-2002.

In January 2004, I enrolled in the joint Ph.D. program organized by Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS and Department of General Linguistics in St.Petersburg. On July 4, 2007, I defended the English version of my thesis in Utrecht (four years sharp after I received my M.A. diploma, and also cum laude). On June 27, 2008, I defended the Russian version in St.Petersburg. The English version Grammar and Information Structure. A study with reference to Russian came out as a book. I also wrote a book on the basis of the Russian verion: On the crossroads of theories: Grammar and information structure in Russian and other languages. It includes extensive introductory chapters and then proceeds to my own work.

In 2008-2009, I worked on a postdoc project at University College London, trying to address some problems that remained unsolved in my dissertation, to revise and to extend some ideas from there. The project, entitled "Information structure: towards a unified approach", was funded by the Rubicon grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2010, I started a new four-year project "Prosody and syntax: how are they related?" at Utrecht institute of Linguistics. The project studies different aspects of syntax-prosod mapping and is also funded by the NWO. At the same time, I am still connected to the Linguistics department of University College London (as an honorary research associate) and remain affiliated to the Department of General Linguistics in St.Petersburg and to the St.Petersburg Laboratory for Cognitive Studies, as before.

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B.A. / M.A.

During my B.A./M.A. studies I was working in a Russian-American project on Russian verb morphology. It was headed by Tatiana Chernigovskaya (St.Petersburg State University) and Kira Gor (University of Maryland). The project aimed to study how verb morphology is represented in the mental lexicon: how different forms are stored, produced and comprehended by different groups of speakers (adults and children, L2 learners, patients with language and cognitive deficits). Four years I spent with Russian verbs were exciting and eventful. My contribution to the project is summarized in my M.A. thesis Psycholinguistic study of the mental lexicon structure on the material of Russian verbs (in Russian).

Ph.D. and postdoc at UCL

In my Ph.D. project, I made a radical move from the word level to the sentence and discourse levels and studied Information Structure (IS) and the EPP in the Tense domain. Among other things, I am interested in the following questions. What IS notions are encoded in the grammar and how are they encoded: by what syntactic features, configurations, prosodic means?.. What is the connection between syntactic and prosodic IS-related phenomena? How are canonical and scrambled word orders processed on-line? Due to my joint Ph.D. program, I had supervisors both from Holland and from Russia: Eric Reuland and Frank Wijnen (Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS) and Tatiana Chernigovskaya (St.Petersburg State University). As a postdoc, I went on working on related topics at UCL. Here are the main publications that came out of my work:
  • Slioussar, N. (2007). Grammar and Information Structure. A study with reference to Russian. Utrecht: LOT Publications.
    This is the English version of my thesis. It can be downloaded from the Utrecht University library archive and from the publisher's website. The page contains many Dutch linguistic dissertations, clicking on 'contents' next to mine one can download the whole book or separate chapters, and also buy a paper copy.

  • Slioussar, N. (2009). Na styke teorij: Grammatika i informacionnaja struktura v russkom i drugix jazykax. ('On the crossroads of theories: Grammar and information structure in Russian and other languages'). Moscow: Editorial URSS.
    This book is remotely based on the unpublished Russian version of my thesis. It contains introductory chapters discussing theories traditionally less known in Russian linguistics: generative grammar, formal approaches to IS, Western studies of intolational phonology. Then my own work is presented (with some corrections and additions compared to the thesis). The book can be found on the publisher's website and is sold in many Russian bookstores (including major online ones). If you have any problems finding it, feel free to contact me.

  • ...
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Talks & Papers


B.A./M.A. papers
Ph.D. and UCL postdoc papers


B.A./M.A. talks
Ph.D. and UCL postdoc talks

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Courses & Materials

Because I constantly traveled between Utrecht and St.Petersburg during my Ph.D. studies, I had no regular courses before my Utrecht defence - only a few lectures here and there. Since then, I taught two courses at the Department of General Linguistics in St.Petersburg: on generative syntax and on psycholinguistic studies of syntax. I also take part in Eric Reuland's short courses on generative grammar, organized in St.Petersburg every spring since 2003.

Generative syntax: An introduction for doubters (in Russian)
(being taught now, Fall 2010)

Sentence-level psycholinguistics (in Russian)
(last taught: Spring 2010)

Eric Reuland's courses on generative grammar (St.Petersburg State University, every spring):
2009: "Universals and the typology of reflexives"
2008: "Issues in argument structure: The Theta-system"
2007: "Binding conditions: How are they derived?"
2006: "Anaphoric dependencies: A window into the architecture of the language system"

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Other Stuff

I have a feeling that I will need this section, but I am not sure yet for what :).

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