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Office Phone: 416-813-451
Office Location: NF319
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Honours BA in Linguistics and Literature, University of Buenos Aires
PhD in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003

Professor María Cristina Cuervo joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2004. She got her undergraduate degree at the University of Buenos Aires, and then took master’s studies in formal linguistics at the Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina. She obtained her PhD at MIT in 2003. She is an associate professor in Spanish and in linguistics at the University of Toronto. In 2013 Professor Cuervo received an Outstanding Teaching Award from Arts & Science at U of T. 

Her research considers how specific grammatical phenomena in several languages (argument/event structure, dative arguments, and applicatives) inform the broader question of how structural properties of language restrict and shape the construction of linguistic meanings. Her work has focused on the construction of verbal meanings on the basis of small grammatical units. More recently, she has been working in collaboration with students on the tense system in Spanish and how it is acquired. 

She draws on natural language data from a variety of sources (speakers’ intuitions, corpora and experimental data) and speaker populations (children, adult native speakers, and second language learners). Her research is couched within a linguistic theory that studies language as a human-specific cognitive faculty.

Selected Publications

  • “Causation without a cause.”  Syntax, to appear.
  • “Arguments for a root.”  Theoretical Linguistics 40 (2014): 375 –387.
  • “Alternating unaccusatives and the distribution of roots.” Lingua 141 (2014): 48–70. 
  • “Spanish clitic clusters: Three of a perfect pair.” Borealis. An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 2/2 (2013): 191–220.
  • “Aspectos morfosintácticos del español de la Argentina: datos y perspectivas.”  In Perspectivas teóricas y experimentales sobre el español de la Argentina, edited by L. Colantoni and C. Rodríguez Louro, 119–131. Madrid: Iberoamericana Vervuert, 2013.
  • The End of Argument Structure? Cuervo, M. Cristina & Yves Roberge (eds.), Syntax & Semantics Vol. 38 (313 pp.).  Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2012. 
  • “Against ditransitivity.” Probus 22 (2010): 151–180.
  • “La alternancia causativa y su interacción con argumentos dativos” [The causative alternation and its interaction with dative arguments]. RLA, Revista de lingüística teórica y aplicada 46  1. (2008): 55–79. 
  • “Double-objects in Spanish as a second language: acquisition of morphosyntax and semantics.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition 29 (2007), 583–615.