Research interests

Paul's research focuses on variation and change in the Ibero-Romance Languages (Spanish, Catalan Portuguese, Galician, Asturian, Aragonese) and specifically on the varieties of Portuguese and Spanish spoken around the world. He is interested in detailing and explaining historical and current changes in these languages and using his data to address questions in linguistic theory – namely, how language is mentally represented and, specifically, the interplay between storage and computation and why and how is it that languages change?

He maintains that language should not be studied as a self-contained system and in isolation to other human cognitive and developmental skills and stresses the need to appreciate the role that diachrony has played in shaping synchronic linguistic structures, including the socio-political history of speakers. He views language as a complex adaptive system and grammar as emergent and shaped by both internal and external linguistic factors.