Indiana University Bloomington

Steven L. Franks, Ph.D.

Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Professor, Linguistics
Adjunct Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences
Russian and East European Institute faculty
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Slavic Linguistics

Steven L. Franks

Office number: Memorial Hall 322
E-mail address:

Degree: Ph.D., Cornell University, 1985.

Dissertation: "Matrices and Indices: Some Problems in the Syntax of Case."

Specialties/Research Interests: Comparative Slavic morphosyntax; syntactic theory.

My major research interests lie in syntactic theory, focusing on issues broadly related to case. Much of my work compares grammatical patterns within the closely related Slavic family, in order to uncover the parameters that delimit the range of possible variation. This research is conducted within the context of generative grammar.

The fundamental goal of linguistics as a cognitive science is to discover the nature of knowledge of language. I believe that coming to "know a language" involves the internalization of a system of rules (a grammar), and that by studying the properties of grammars we can learn about the structure of the human language faculty. A grammatical analysis is a theory of mind, making specific empirical claims about abstract mental representations. Facts garnered through introspection into native linguistic knowledge can be analyzed into grammatical systems, and these systems can be studied for general organizational principles. Linguistic theory thus defines a research program for investigating the language faculty, and this methodology for seeking the principles that regulate grammars currently provides one of our best avenues into the workings of the human mind.

Courses regularly taught:

  • Structure of Russian 2.
  • Comparative Slavic morphosyntax.
  • Syntax.
  • Advanced Syntax.

Representative Publications:

  • Franks, S. (to appear). Bulgarian NEGO SI is a Balkan Anaphor. Balkanistika.
  • Franks, S. (to appear). Multiattachment Syntax, 'Movement' Effects, and Spell-Out. In P. Kosta, S. Franks & T. Radeva-Bork (Eds.) Minimalism and Beyond: Radicalizing the Interfaces. Benjamins.
  • Franks, S. & Rudin, C. (to appear). Syntactic and Typological Aspects of Universal Concessive Conditionals in Bulgarian. In A. Miltenova & C. Vakareliyska (Eds.) Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Joint Meeting of Bulgarian and North American Scholars. Iztok-Zapad.
  • Franks, S. (IN PRESS). Orphans, Coordination, Doubling, Phases: On the Rise of DP in Slovenian. Slovenski jezik.
  • Franks, S. (2013). Binding and Morphology Revisited. In I. Chahine & C. Zaremba (Eds.) Current Studies in Slavic Linguistics. John Benjamins.
  • Franks, S. (2012). A Short Description and Analysis of Paradigmatic Clitics in Bulgarian. IU Working Papers in Linguistics, 12, 20-39. [English version in IU Working Papers in Linguistics 12. Bulgarian version to appear]
  • Franks, S. (2010). Clitics in Slavic. Contemporary Issues in Slavic Linguistics, 10.
  • Franks, S. (2010). On the Mechanics of Spell-Out. In N. Ereschik-Shir & L. Rochman (Eds.) The Sound Patterns of Syntax. 110-139. Oxford: Oxford University Press.