Skip to main content

Jesus Olguin

Assistant Professor
  • About


I hold a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Current Courses

341.001Introduction To Descriptive Linguistics

461.001Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics



143.001Unity And Diversity In Language

143.091Unity And Diversity In Language

Research Interests & Areas

My research straddles the subfields of usage-based linguistics, typology, morphosyntax, semantics, discourse, language documentation and description, corpus linguistics, and language contact.

Much of typology is inherently categorical. In many typological surveys, variables are usually classified as present or absent (“What’s possible?”). My typological work goes beyond this domain in that it pays attention to how historical, diachronic, social, and cognitive processes have shaped the distribution of linguistic variants across the languages of the world (“What’s where why?”). My work shows that language is a dynamic system, in which constructions have associative connections with one another (a grammar network approach). In my own work on complex-sentence systems, I have shown that ‘as if’ constructions share a number of properties with similative ‘like’ constructions, and manner constructions (e.g. ‘the way she left…’). Double ‘without V-ing’ constructions (e.g. ‘she left without paying the bill and without saying goodbye’) share a number of properties with ‘neither…nor’ constructions, and ‘let alone’ constructions. Furthermore, ‘instead of V-ing’ constructions share a number of properties with preference constructions (e.g. ‘it is better to go to the field than…’). From a usage-based perspective, these associative links can be explained by analogical connections between constructions in the grammar network. The analysis of the dynamics of complex-sentence systems has led me to propose a number of universals and implicational hierarchies.

Besides analyzing taxonomic relations in typological perspective, I have also explored filler-slot relations in individual languages (in collaboration with Stefan Gries). The distinction between lexicon and syntax has played an important role in linguistic theory. However, the dichotomy of lexicon vs. syntax and their presumed independence has long been challenged in particular by work in the framework of Construction Grammar (e.g., Goldberg 1995). Such work has proposed that the co-occurrence patterns of lexemes and constructions is functionally motivated; for instance, verbs occur in some construction’s slot especially if the verb’s function/meaning is compatible with that of the construction (Goldberg 1995:50; Gries & Stefanowitsch 2004:99), which gives rise to a joint distribution of lexemes in constructions that are known in the literature as ‘Filler-Slot Relations’ (see Diessel 2019: 20). In a usage-based framework, such probabilistic associations constitute part of each language user’s individual and ever-changing exemplar-based representation of linguistic knowledge (Beckner et al. 2009), which is why our general understanding of linguistic knowledge but also our particular understanding of specific constructions benefits from the study of such associations between constructional slots and lexemes filling them (Stefanowitsch & Gries 2003).

For the most part, typological studies have been based on natural discourse data, such as monologues, and/or elicitation of isolated sentences. These studies have taken us toward a better understanding of a number of linguistic phenomena. However, to get beyond the what is expected, the already known, the researcher must cede some control to the language users themselves (Du Bois & Troiani 2023). In my research, I show that conversational data can lead us to uncover intriguing discourse functions. In particular, my current work demonstrates that the co-construction may serve as the niche for the development of discourse functions. Important insights regarding natural discourse use come only through careful and respectful collaborative work with native speakers. Good documentation of unscripted, connected speech in a variety of genres, is critical for discovering new correlations among features and new diachronic developments of patterns. Linguistic typology and language documentation and description must be closely aligned in that each can provide tools important to progress in the others.


2020 Olguín Martínez, Jesús & Zarina Estrada Fernández. Adverbial clauses in Huasteca Nahuatl from a functional-typological approach. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas 20. 1-21

2020 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Attributive temporal clauses in cross-linguistic perspective. Te Reo. The Journal of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand 63. 1-36

2021 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Hypothetical manner constructions in world-wide perspective. Journal of Linguistic typology at the crossroads 1. 2-33

2021 Olguín Martínez, Jesús & Nicholas Lester. A quantitative analysis of counterfactual conditionals in the world’s languages. Italian Journal of Linguistics 33. 147-182

2022 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Contact-induced language change: The case of Mixtec adverbial clauses. Journal of Language Contact. Evolution of Languages, Contact and Discourse 15. 1-70

2022 Olguín Martínez, Jesús & Alonso Vásquez. The contribution of Amazonian languages to the typology of purpose clauses. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas 22. 1-21

2023 Olguín Martínez, Jesús & Manuel Peregrina Llanes. ‘Without V-ing’ clauses: Clausal negative concomitance in typological perspective. Folia Linguistica 57. 37-80.

2023 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Semantically negative clause-linkage: ‘Let alone’ constructions, expletive negation, and theoretical implications. Linguistic Typology published online July 2023.

2023 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Areality of clause-linkage: The consecutive construction in Mesoamerican languages. Voprosy Jazykoznanija (‘Topics in the Study of Language’) 3. 122-142.

In press Olguín Martínez, Jesús. Precedence clauses in the world’s languages: Negative markers need not be expletive. STUF-Language Typology and Universals.

In press Olguín Martínez, Jesús. ‘Until’ clauses in typological perspective. Rhema


2019 Olguín Martínez, Jesús, Zarina Estrada Fernández, & Manuel Peregrina Llanes. Dissecting adverbial clauses in Veracruz Huasteca Nahuatl. In Estudios de lenguas amerindias 4. Escenario actual de la investigación sobre lenguas yutoaztecas. Homenaje a Jane H. Hill. Zarina Estrada Fernández, Mercedes Tubino Blanco, & Albert Álvarez González (eds.), 257-280. Universidad de Sonora

2023 Olguín Martínez, Jesús. A typological study of tail-head linkage constructions. In Discourse phenomena in typological perspective, Alessandra Barotto & Simone Mattiola (eds.), 403-432. John Benjamins: Studies in Language Companion Series.

In press Olguín Martínez, Jesús, Bernard Comrie, & Eric W. Campbell. Temporal subsequence in Uto-Aztecan languages. Dependencias Simétricas y Asimétricas: Dominios semánticos y sus motivaciones, Zarina Estrada Fernández, Albert Álvarez González, and Armando Mora-Bustos (eds.). Universidad de Sonora