I am currently on the job market applying for grants and post-doc positions that will allow me to continue to research and teach about natural language semantics. I currently work as a Postdoc under Remus Gergel in the English Linguistics program Saarland University. From October 2019 to September 2021 I worked as a Lecturer of English Linguistics at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn under Klaus P. Schneider. I finished my PhD in linguistics at Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf in June of 2019, my advisor being Hana Filip.
My research currently focuses on the notion of semantic complexity, how it can be quantified, and how it affects language change. My current approach is to analyze the difference in the semantic complexity of the count–mass distinction across varities of English, both historical and in the present day. The count–mass distinction is an ideal place to analyze semantic complexity because of the myriad ways that languages have been shown to manifest this grammatical phenomenon.
My current research builds on that in my PhD thesis, “Object Mass Nouns: A Frame Based Analysis”, wherin I motivate the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the number of object mass nouns in a language and the number of morphosyntactic environments sensitive to the countability of nouns in that language. My thesis and subsequent work investigates typologically distinct languages-—Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, Sorani Kurdish, and Japanese-—for morphosyntactic reflexes of the count–mass distinction as a means of testing and expanding upon the leading theories of the mass/count distinction.
My current research projects are listed below, as are my publications and courses. My long term research goals include investigating the intra- and extralinguistic constraints on the evolution of grammatical systems like countability. Short term reserch goals include developing a better understanding of how countability works in present-day and historical languages, and how these systems have changed over time. I am also dedicated to anti-racist language research such as the project A comparitive corpus study of “race” and “Rasse”, which aims to investigate anti-racist language use and language policy.
- The evolution of the English countability system: From Old English to Present Day English
- Countability across varieties of English
- Counting and categorizing: The relationship between the mass/count distinction and thought; with Leda Berio.
- Countability shifts in the normative dimension; Leda Berio.
- The count-mass distinction in Sorani Kurdish; with Delan Kheder.
- The count-mass distinction in Romanian; with Alyssa Löffler.
- Syntactic versus semantic countability categories. In prep.
- Countability of subkinds and lexical plurals; with Aviv Schoenfeld.
- Object mass nouns and subkind countability. Submitted manuscript.
- The availability of the subkind reading across languages. Submitted.
- Object mass nouns in Greek; with Vasileia Skrimpa.
- A comparative corpus study of “race” and “Rasse”; with Leda Berio, Daniel James, Benedict Kenyah-Damptey, Esther Seyffarth.
- ‘Fake count’ nouns in English; with Yasu Sudo.
- Erbach, Kurt and Aviv Schoenfeld. Submitted. Object mass nouns and subkind countability.
- Erbach, Kurt and Delan Kheder. Submitted. Countability in Sorani Kurdish.
- Schoenfeld, Aviv and Kurt Erbach. Submitted. The availability of the subkind reading across languages.
- Erbach, Kurt and Leda Berio. 2022. Countability shifts in the normative dimension. Forthcoming in Proceedings of Sinn und Beduetung 26.
- Erbach, Kurt, Peter R. Sutton, Hana Filip, and Katrin Byrdeck. 2021. Object Mass Nouns as Arbiter for the Mass/Count Category. In Tibor Kiss, Halima Husic, and Francis J. Pelletier (eds.), The Semantics of the Count-Mass Distinction. Cambridge University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108937979.008
- Erbach, Kurt. 2020. Predicting object mass nouns across languges. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 5.1 (2020): 228-241. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v5i1.4698.
- Erbach, Kurt. 2019. A measure based analysis of plural nouns in Greek. In Espinal, M.T., E. Castroviejo, M. Leonetti, L. McNally, and C. Real-Puigdollers (eds). Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 23, vol 1. 413-431. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès).
- Erbach, Kurt and Leda Berio. 2019. Readings of Plurals and Common Ground. In E. Pacuit and J. Sikos (eds). At the Intersection of Language, Logic, and Information, Special Volume of Lecture notes in Computer Science, vol 11667. pp 21-41. Springer. Pre-final draft.
- Erbach, Kurt, Peter R. Sutton, and Hana Filip. 2019. Bare nouns and the Hungarian mass/count distinction. In: A. Silva, S. Staton, P. Sutton, C. Umbach (eds.), Language, Logic, and Computation. TbiLLC 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11456. pp. 86-107. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Pre-final draft.
- Erbach, Kurt. 2018. Fighting for a share of the covers: Accounting for inaccessible readings of plural predicates. In: Sikos, J. (ed). Proceedings of the ESSLLI 2018 Student Session. pp. 197-208.
- Erbach, Kurt, Peter R. Sutton, Hana Filip, and Katrin Byrdeck. 2017. Object Mass Nouns in Japanese. In: Cremers, A., T. van Gessel, and F. Roelofsen (eds). Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 235-244.
- Erbach, Kurt. 2014. Coordinate Systems in Gã. ScholarWorks. Missoula: The University of Montana Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library.
- Erbach, K. 2022. Contrasting Grammars Across Languages. Saarland University.
- Erbach, K. 2021. Applied Linguistics. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2021. English Linguistics. University of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2021. Introduction to Semantics. University of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2021. Language in Culture and Cognition: Cross-cultural investigations.
- Erbach, K. 2021. Varieties of English. University of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. The acquisition of the mass/count distinction. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. Corpus Linguistics. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. Discourse and Power. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. The History of the English Langauge. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. Introduction to Semantics. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. Language in Culture and Cognition: Speech Acts, Politeness, Discourse. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2020. Methods in Applied Linguistics. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2019. English Linguistics. Universty of Bonn.
- Erbach, K. 2019. The Mass/Count Distinction, Applied Investigations. University of Bonn. Introduction
- Erbach, K. 2017. Plurality. Heinrich-Heine-University, Dusseldorf.