Daniel Greeson


URGENT: Sign the Graduate Student Employee Union's petition for a living wage: tiny.cc/livingwage2022

E-mail: daniel.greeson@stonybrook.edu

Office: N-222 Social and Behavioral Sciences (in the middle of the north wing of the second floor)

During the Spring & Fall 2022 semesters I am working as an RA investigating Arabic morphology with Ellen Broselow, Robert Hoberman, Jordan Kodner and Owen Rambow.

I am currently the Department of Linguistics union mobilizer with the Stony Brook GSEU.


I'm a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at Stony Brook University, which I joined in fall 2021. Before that, I got a BA and MA in Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics, Languages & Culture at Michigan State University, advised by Cristina Schmitt.

I'm interested in syntax (structure) and semantics (meaning) in natural languages. My research so far has focused on the syntactic and semantic properties of pronouns (especially the contrast between null and overt subjects in Romance, and between gendered pronouns and singular they in English).

With Hannah Forsythe and Cristina Schmitt in the MSU Language Acquisition Lab, I have also looked at how kids learn the different properties of null and overt subject pronouns in Spanish.

Other things I think are cool but haven't necessarily written about:

  • the distribution of null and overt prepositions and case markers in different languages (so far I've looked a little bit at Kannada, Tamil, Italian, Spanish, English, and Japanese, and I'm always looking to get more judgments!)

  • the cross-linguistic behavior of verbs like die that can't decide if they're unaccusative or unergative

  • quantificational adverbs like frequently and often

  • the syntax–phonology interface

  • singular they, gendered pronouns and gender in language broadly

Research output


Greeson, D., (2021). Revisiting Variation Between Null Subject Languages: The View from Overt Subject Pronouns. [Master's Thesis, Michigan State University]. ProQuest. [pdf]

Peer-reviewed papers

Forsythe, H., Greeson, D., & Schmitt, C. (2021). After the null subject parameter: Acquisition of the null-overt contrast in Spanish. Language Learning and Development, 1-30.

Forsythe, H., Greeson, D., & Schmitt, C. (2020). How preschoolers acquire the null-overt contrast in Mexican Spanish: Evidence from production. In Language Patterns in Spanish and Beyond (pp. 245-265). Routledge.

Bielawa, C., Davis, R., Greeson, D., & Zhou, Q. (2019). Descents and des-Wilf equivalence of permutations avoiding certain nonclassical patterns. Involve, a Journal of Mathematics, 12(4), 549-563.

Proceedings papers

Forsythe, H., Greeson, D., & Schmitt, C. (2019). Learnability in Romance: How indirect input helps children acquire the contrast between null and overt subjects. In Proceedings of the 43rd Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 231-244).



Greeson, D. "A competition-based account of partial null subjects in Portuguese." Formal Approaches to Galician and Portuguese Grammar, Dec. 1, 2022. Stony Brook University.

Upcoming invited guest presentation at Meaning Across Languages Lab @ Rutgers University Department of Linguistics. Fall 2022.

"Instrument Names, Bare Singulars, and Event Kinds." Starr Sandoval, Daniel Greeson, and Marcin Morzycki. Poster presented at Chicago Linguistics Society 58, April 22. [pdf]


Greeson, D. "Overt pronouns as the source of variation between null subject languages." Workshop on Linguistic Variation at the Interfaces II (VARINT21), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, November 18–19, 2021. [abstract]

Greeson, D. "Accounting for the Null/Overt Contrast with Minimize Restrictors!" Oral presentation at North East Linguistics Society (NELS) 52, Rutgers University, October 29–31, 2021. To be presented virtually due to COVID-19. [abstract]

Schmitt, C., Munn, H., Primucci, A., and Greeson, D. “When the Input Underdetermines the Analysis: A case study of acquisition in a contact situation.” Oral presentation at the 9th biannual Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA9), University of Iceland, Reykjavík, May 7–9, 2021. Presented virtually due to COVID-19. [poster]

Greeson, D. “What Does it Mean to ‘Die’? The view from formal syntax.” Paper accepted for oral presentation at the Conference for Classics and Ancient History, Panel 24: NATURE, KNOWLEDGE AND ETHICS IN EPICUREANISM. University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal, June 22–25, 2021. Presented virtually due to COVID-19. [slides]


Greeson, D. “Overt Pronouns as the Source of Variation Between Null Subject Languages.” Guest presentation, McMaster Syntax Lab, November 11, 2020. Presented virtually due to COVID-19. [handout]

Greeson, D. “Revisiting Montalbetti's Effects: New Evidence from Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and English,” paper presented at the 9th Cambridge Comparative Comparative Syntax Conference (CamCos 9), September 8–11, 2020. Presented virtually due to COVID-19. [handout] [recording]


Greeson, D., Placko, M., and Lubera, B. “Who Is ‘She’? And Can Null Subjects Help Paraguayan Children Find Out?'', poster presented at the 2019 Crete Summer School of Linguistics poster session. University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece July 14, 2019. [poster]

Greeson, D., Placko, M. and Lubera, B. “Is Less More for Learning Pronouns?'', poster presented at the 2019 Great Lakes Expo for Experimental and Formal Undergraduate Linguistics (GLEEFUL). Michigan State University, April 12, 2019. [poster]


Forsythe, H., Greeson, D., and Schmitt, C.. “Learnability in Romance: How Indirect Evidence helps children acquire the contrast between null and overt pronouns,” paper presented at GALANA, Bloomington, IN, September 27–30, 2018. Also presented at the 2018 Hispanic Linguistics Symposium in at UT Austin, Oct. 25–27, 2018 and at BUCLD 43, in Boston, MA, Nov 2–4, 2018. [slides]

Greeson, D. “Null subject realization in Paraguayan Spanish,'' poster presented at the 2018 Michigan State Undergraduate Linguistics Conference (MSULC). Michigan State University, April 20, 2018.

Greeson, D. “How to learn the difference between null and overt subjects,” poster presented at the 2018 Great Lakes Exposition for Experimental and Formal Undergraduate Linguistics (GLEEFUL). Michigan State University, April 21–22, 2018.


AY 2021-2022

  • Primary instructor for LIN 405: Writing in Linguistics (Summer 1) [student feedback]

  • Teaching assistant for LIN 101: Introduction to Human Language at Stony Brook University (in-person class). [student feedback] (Fall)

AY 2020-2021

  • Grader for LIN 401: Introduction to Linguistics at Michigan State University. (Spring)

  • Teaching assistant for IAH 204: Asia and the World (synchronous, over Zoom). (Fall) [student feedback]


  • Tutor and personnel supervisor, Snyder–Phillips Math Learning Center (MLC) at Michigan State. (2018–2019)

  • Undergraduate teaching assistant for MTH 103: Basic College Algebra, (led recitations and did all grading, 2017–2018)


  • SBU Dept. of Linguistics GSEU mobilizer

  • SBU Linguistics Colloquium organizer, 2021–2022

  • q Undergraduate Association for Linguistics (qUALMS) at MSU, President (2019–2020), and Conference Chair (2018–2019)

  • Student leader, Discovering America China–US Cultural Exchange Program, MSU Department of Mathematics (2018–2020)

  • Undergraduate Research mentor, MSU Language Acquisition Lab, 2019–present

    • Projects supervised: Paraguayan Spanish Null Subjects project, Singular 'They' experimental project

  • Volunteer tutor, MSU Linguistics Program, 2018–2020

  • Volunteer Appraiser, MI Destination Imagination, 2016–2018


I'm from a very tiny town (~500 people) in Michigan where my family has a small flock of sheep (one of which is pictured below with her lambs from April 2021!). I don't have the COT–CAUGHT merger and I have a mild case of Northern Cities vowels.

My Erdős–Bacon number is 8. My Erdős number is 4 due to luck and the prolificness of others who are not me. My Bacon number is 4 if you count a home movie my older cousins produced with me, my sister, and our other cousins around our age when we were middle schoolers [it's been seen by maybe 10 people, but it has credits and sound effects, etc., so I think it should count!], because one of those cousins is an extra in an upcoming movie with Adam Driver, who has a Bacon number of 2.

Interests of mine include Appalachian English, Brazilian music, coffee, cooking, flute (playing and listening to), geography, Kate Bush, language variation and change, LGBT linguistics, math education (and how linguistics might be helpful for it!), singing, sleeping, trains and railroad history (my first job was here).

I also have a linguistically interesting set of data from English that has unfortunately been too embarrassing to formally write about yet, but you should ask me about it if you're not a square!

My husband Gustavo is from Brazil, which I have sadly only visited once, but he studied in Portugal for four years so I have been there many times. A cool fact about Long Island is that there is a large Portuguese diaspora here in and around Farmingville, and there are also quite a few Brazilians on the eastern end of the island.

I am proudly a member of the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) at SBU!

My favorite website is either crouton.net or https://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/.

A large sheep standing with her two lambs in a pen on a straw-covered floor.