Log In

David Michael Pesetsky Edit Profile

linguist

David Michael Pesetsky, American linguist. Achievements include research in the nature of syntactic case marking and its relation to tense systems (with E.Torrego); research in established the existence and distinctness of three types of syntactic movement operations; research in relation of language to music.

Background

Pesetsky, David Michael was born on January 26, 1957 in Iowa City. Son of Irwin and Bette Pesetsky.

Education

He received a B.A. in linguistics from Yale in 1977 and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.

Career

He is the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pesetsky has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of Massachusetts Amherst before joining the faculty of MIT in 1988. Pesetsky was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, and a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America in 2013.

He has published numerous articles and books within the framework of generative grammar. A specialist in syntax, he has published on the cross-linguistic properties of wh-movement as well as the theory of argument structure. In a collaboration with Esther Torrego, he developed a theory of grammatical case in noun phrases, arguing that nominative and accusative cases are the mirror image for the nominal system of phi feature agreement in the verbal system.

He has worked extensively on the structure of Russian, and recently has argued (in collaboration with Jonah Katz) that the syntax of tonal music is identical to the structure of language. In an article coauthored with Andrew Nevins and Cilene Rodrigues, Pesetsky criticized claims by Daniel Everett concerning the Pirahã language, touching off a protracted debate in the pages of the journal Language.

Achievements

  • Achievements include research in the nature of syntactic case marking and its relation to tense systems (with E.Torrego). Research in established the existence and distinctness of three types of syntactic movement operations. Research in relation of language to music.

Works

  • Other Work

    • Author: (scientific monograph) Zero Syntax, Phrasal Movement and its Kin. Contributor articles to professional journals.

Membership

Consultant for English language arts curriculum framework Department Education, Massachusetts, 1996. Player New Philharmonic Orchestra of Massachusetts. Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (section member-at-large 1995-1995, council delegate 1996-1999), Linguistic Society of America (committee on language k-12 curriculum since 2003), Generative Linguists of Old Worlds (keynote speaker 2003 2003), Phi Beta Kappa.

Interests

  • Other Interests

    Violin, chamber music, Russian language and culture, New Philharmonia Orchestra.

Connections

Married Janis Melvold. Children: Benjamin, Jonathan.

father:
Irwin Pesetsky

mother:
Bette Pesetsky

spouse:
Janis Melvold

children:
Benjamin Pesetsky

Jonathan Pesetsky