Steven Franks

Steven Franks

Professor, Linguistics

Professor, Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Adjunct Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences


  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 1985

Research interests

My major research interests lie in syntactic theory, focusing on issues broadly related to case. Much of my work compares grammatical patterns within the closely related Slavic family, in order to uncover the parameters that delimit the range of possible variation. This research is conducted within the context of generative grammar.

The fundamental goal of linguistics as a cognitive science is to discover the nature of knowledge of language. I believe that coming to \"know a language\" involves the internalization of a system of rules (a grammar), and that by studying the properties of grammars we can learn about the structure of the human language faculty. A grammatical analysis is a theory of mind, making specific empirical claims about abstract mental representations. Facts garnered through introspection into native linguistic knowledge can be analyzed into grammatical systems, and these systems can be studied for general organizational principles. Linguistic theory thus defines a research program for investigating the language faculty, and this methodology for seeking the principles that regulate grammars currently provides one of our best avenues into the workings of the human mind.

Representative publications

Parameters of Slavic morphosyntax (1995)
Steven Franks
Oxford University Press on Demand.

A handbook of Slavic clitics (2000)
Steven Franks and Tracy Holloway King
Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax.

Clitics in slavic (1998)
Steven Franks

Parametric properties of numeral phrases in Slavic (1994)
Steven Franks
Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 12 (4), 597-674

On the placement of Serbo-Croatian clitics (1994)
Steven Franks and Ljiljana Progovac
Indiana Linguistic Studies, 7 69-78

Across‐the‐board movement and LF (2000)
Željko Bošović and Steven Franks
Syntax, 3 (2), 107-128

Clitics at the interface (2000)
Steven Franks
Clitic phenomena in European languages, ed. F. Beukema & M. den Dikken, 1-46

Secondary predication in Russian and proper government of PRO (1992)
Steven Franks and Norbert Hornstein
Springer, Dordrecht. Jan-50

Asymmetries in the scope of Russian negation (1995)
Sue Brown and Steven Franks
Journal of Slavic linguistics, 239-287

On parallelism in across-the-board dependencies (1993)
Steven Franks
Linguistic Inquiry, 24 (3), 509-529

Functional categories in the nominal domain (2004)
Steven Franks and Asya Pereltsvaig
Proceedings of FASL, 12 109-128

Case and word order in Lithuanian (2006)
Steven Franks and James E Lavine
Journal of Linguistics, 42 (2), 239-288

Bulgarian clitics as Kº heads (2005)
Steven Franks and Catherine Rudin
Formal approaches to Slavic linguistics, 13 104-116

An argument for multiple spell-out (2001)
Steven Franks and Željko Bošković
Linguistic inquiry, 32 (1), 174-183

The syntax of adverbial participles in Russian revisited (1998)
Leonard Babby and Steven Franks
The Slavic and East European Journal, 42 (3), 483-516