Michael Putnam

Michael Putnam

Associate Professor of German and Linguistics

Syntax; morphology; syntax-semantics interface; bilingualism; heritage varieties of German(ic); language attrition; evolution of language

239 Burrowes Building


  1. Ph.D. University of Kansas, 2006


Dr. Putnam's research seeks to achieve a better understanding of the general cognitive principles underlying the human language faculty, with a particular focus on the acquisition, maintenance, and attrition observed in bi/multilingual grammars across the lifespan. His research explores the division of labor between morphology, syntax, and semantics from both formal and experimental perspectives. He has a profound interest in the syntax of event semantics, TMA-systems (tense-mood-aspect), filler-gap dependencies, and general aspects of clausal architecture. Empirically, the majority of his research focuses on Germanic languages and dialects past and present. Dr. Putnam extensively researches heritage varieties of German and related languages, with a specialization in the minority language Pennsylvania Dutch. Dr. Putnam's research on the development of human grammar includes both ontological and phylogenic perspectives. In addition to his interest in formal linguistics, Dr. Putnam has a secondary interest in the sociolinguistics of modern music in German-speaking countries.