Molly Diesing



Diesing's main research interests are syntax and the interface between syntax and semantics. Her primary language focus has been the Germanic languages, most notably German and Yiddish. Some of the empirical issues she has concentrated on in recent syntactic work have been argument structure, clause structure, and parameters determining cross-linguistic word order variation. Her work on the syntax/semantics interface centers on the issue of determining the role that syntax plays in deriving the semantic interpretations of noun phrases (including quantifier phrases and pronominals). Among some of the specific issues Diesing is interested in are syntax/semantics interactions in various word order and extraction phenomena, and the syntax and semantics of aspect.

Research Focus

  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Germanic linguistics


(to appear) “Scrambling and object shift in Yiddish” to appear in Handbook on the syntax of Germanic languages De Gruyter.

Diesing, M., & Santorini, B. (2022). On the Symmetry of V2 in Yiddish and Some of Its Consequences for Extraction. Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 34(2), 186-208. doi:10.1017/S1470542721000131

Diesing, M., and Santorini, B. (2020) 'The scope of embedded Verb Second in modern Yiddish', in Rebecca Woods, and Sam Wolfe (eds), Rethinking Verb Second (OUP),

Diesing, M., & Zec, D. (2017). Getting in the first word: Prosody and predicate initial sentences in Serbian. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 2(1), 24. DOI:

(2015) Uticaj sintakse i prozodije na mesto enklitika u rečenici (The effect of syntax and prosody on enclitic position in the sentence) in Srpski jezik u savremenoj lingvističkoj teoriji (Serbian Language in Contemporary Linguistic Theory) ed. by Boban Arsenijević and Sabina Halupka Rešetar. (with Draga Zec)

(2011)  Interface Effects: Serbian Clitics.  in Jeffrey Runner (ed.) Experiments at the Interfaces, Syntax and Semantics Volume 37, Emerald, (with Draga Zec), 1-30.

(2009)   Clitic placement in Serbian:  Corpus and experimental evidence. In  Featherston, Sam and Susanne Winkler (eds) Proceedings from Linguistic Evidence 2008 Mouton de Gruyter, 61-76. [with Dušica Filipović-Djurdjević and Draga Zec]

(2005) "Some Remarks on Fox and Pesetsky: Cyclic Linearization of Syntactic Structure. Theoretical Linguistics 31.1, 127-136.

(2005) "The Upper Functional Domain in Yiddish", in Werner Abraham (ed.) Focus on Germanic Typology. [Studia Typologica 6] Berlin Akademieverlag, 195-209.

(2003) "On the Nature of Multiple Fronting in Yiddish", in Cedric Boeckx and Kleanthes Grohman (eds.) Multiple Fronting, John Benjamins, 51-76.

(2003) "Multiple Multiple Questions", in Andrew Carnie, Heidi Harley and Mary Willie (eds.) Formal Approaches to Function in Grammar, John Benjamins, 135-153.

(2000) "Aspect in Yiddish The Semantics of an Inflectional Head", Natural Language Semantics. 8.3, 231-253.

(1999) "Comments on Cardinaletti and Starke." In Henk van Riemsdijk (eds.) The Typology of European Languages, Volume 8: Clitics in the Languages of Europe. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin 243-249.

(1998) "Light Verbs and the Syntax of Aspect in Yiddish", The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, 1.2, 119-156.

(1997) "Yiddish VP Order and the Typology of Object Movement." Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 15.2, 369-427.

(1996) "Semantic Variables and Object Shift." In S. D. Epstein and H. Thráinsson (eds.) Studies in Comparative Germanic Syntax, Volume II (Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 66-84.

(1995) "Distributing Arguments." [with Eloise Jelinek] Natural Language Semantics 3.2, 123-176.

(1992) Indefinites. The MIT Press (Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 20).

(1990) "Verb Movement and the Subject Position in Yiddish," in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 8.1, 41-79.