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Laura Grestenberger, PhD

Assistant Professor, Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics

Laura Grestenberger, PhD
Office: S-FB 801.15  
Faubourg Building,
1250 Guy
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext.
Website(s): profile
Availability: M 1-3 p.m.

My research focuses on morphology, syntax, and comparative Indo-European linguistics.  In my Ph.D. thesis, I analyze deponents (verbs with non-active morphology, but active syntax) in several non-informant Indo-European languages (Hittite, Vedic Sanskrit, Greek, Latin) and argue that voice mismatches develop diachronically in voice systems in which voice morphology is assigned postsyntactically (like in Greek), whereas voice systems with valency-reducing voice constructions (like English) do not exhibit voice mismatches. This thesis combines comparative reconstruction with current research in generative syntax, and approaching linguistic problems from both the synchronic and diachronic perspective is crucial to my research in general.

I have also worked on the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) verbal morphology, Indo-Iranian syntax and verbal morphology, syntactic change, and the history of linguistics. Within syntax, I have worked on reflexive constructions and possessive anaphors in Vedic and on number marking in pseudo-partitive constructions in Germanic.

My research in Indo-European linguistics has focused on the reconstruction of PIE nominal morphology (in particular the “individualizing” suffix *-i- in Indo-Iranian and the Latin and Greek verbal governing compounds in * in connection with the prehistory of the feminine suffix *-eh2), as well as PIE voice morphology. My Ph.D. thesis also contributes to the question of the distribution of the PIE middle voice and the endings of the *h2e-conjugation.


2014: PhD in Linguistics, Harvard University, Title of the Ph.D. thesis: “Feature mismatch: Deponency in Indo-European Languages” (Committee: Jay Jasanoff (chair), Sabine Iatridou, Isabelle Charnavel, Jeremy Rau)

2009: MA (Mag. phil.) in Linguistics, University of Vienna, Title of the M.A. thesis: “The Vedic i-Stems and Internal Derivation (adviser: Melanie Malzahn)

Teaching activities

Ling 200

Introduction to Linguistic Science

Ling 330


Ling 336

Comparative Indo-European Linguistics

Ling 380


Ling 420

Language Change

Ling 436

Advanced Indo-European Studies


The Greek and Latin verbal governing compounds in *-a:- and their prehistory

with Hannes A. Fellner. To appear in Proceedings of Etymology and the European lexicon. 14th Fachtagung of the Society for Indo-European Studies, University of Copenhagen, 17-22 Sept. 2012.

Reconstructing Proto-Indo-European deponents

Indo-European Linguistics 2016/4: 98-149

More span-conditioned allomorphy: Voice morphology in Classical Greek

Proceedings of NELS 46, vol. 2, 1-10. Amherst: GLSA.

Number marking in German measure phrases and the structure of pseudo-partitives

Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 18/2, 2015: 93–138. DOI 10.1007/s10828-015-9074-1.

From inalienable possession to reflexivity: The development of Vedic tanu- 'body'

Harvard Working Papers in Linguistics 30, 2015: 25–44.

"Split deponency" in Proto-Indo-European

Proceedings of the 25th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, eds. S. W. Jamison, H. C. Melchert, and B. Vine. Bremen: Hempen, 75-86. 2014.

Zur Funktion des Nominalsuffixes *-i- im Vedischen und Urindogermanischen

("On the function of the nominal suffix *-i- in Vedic and proto-Indo-European"), in: Das Nomen im Indogermanischen: Morphologie, Substantiv versus Adjectiv, Kollektivum. Akten der Arbeitstagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft vom 14. bis 16. Sept. 2011 in Erlangen, eds. N. Oettinger and Th. Steer. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 88-102. 2014

The Indo-Iranian cákri-type

Journal of the American Oriental Society 2013, 133.2: 269–293

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