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Fellow (1 February 1997 - 30 June 1997)
The purpose of our NIAS theme group was to produce a CD-ROM encyclopaedia of observations and results from syntactic research; not a college textbook, but something much more comprehensive and thorough, directed primarily at fellow researchers and doctoral students.
As expected, we were far from able to finish this ambitious project during our stay at NIAS, but as hoped, we did manage to launch the project in a very satisfactory manner, because we were able to solve practically all the different initial problems which inevitably occur at the outset of such a project. This would have been all but impossible in any other setting than an environment like the one offered to a NIAS theme group.
I found being part of a NIAS theme group and being able to exchange and develop ideas with my colleagues every day of the week most inspiring and instructive. I was able to make considerable headway not only in my sections of our joint project but also in my own research. The latter included finishing a paper (for a festschrift) on the past tense in English and other languages and also making progress in my optimality theoretic analysis of word order in the Germanic SVO-languages. An important factor in this was being able to present my research at five Dutch universities.Finally, the excellent technical equipment at NIAS meant that I was able to significantly increase my understanding of the advantages and problems of Hypertext as a medium for academic information, something which was very relevant for my part of our joint CD-ROM project.
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