Danuta Allen

Danuta Allen, a graduate student in linguistics, spent her formative years in her homeland, Poland. As a first-generation learner of English in a family accustomed to Polish and Russian, Danuta’s early exposure to foreign languages sparked a curiosity for linguistics. Her journey began by questioning the nuances between British and American English, and the idiosyncrasies native speakers introduced in their expressions. Danuta recalls being captivated by English sentence structures and pondering on why Polish sentence structures would never work in English and vice versa. This fascination with language intricacies planted the seeds of Danuta’s future in linguistics.

Despite initially aiming for a degree in English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), Danuta’s trajectory shifted after a course on the etymology of English words and basic linguistic concepts. The realization that there was a scientific approach to address her long-standing linguistic queries led her to switch majors to Linguistics. Danuta’s interest in theoretical syntax was nurtured by professors Daniel Seely and Sam Epstein, leading her to pursue a B.S. and later an M.A. in Linguistics at EMU. The decision to embark on a Ph.D. journey was fueled by Danuta’s desire to delve deeper into syntax. U-M Linguistics became the natural choice for its alignment with her research interests, specifically theoretical syntax. The opportunity to work with experts like professors Sam Epstein and Acrisio Pires, known for their contributions to syntactic theory, solidified Danuta’s decision.

Danuta’s current research focuses on understanding how Agreement between verbs and subjects functions in Polish, exploring its implications for a broader understanding of syntactic theory. Danuta views syntax as a lens, which can allow us to bring specific grammar elements into focus. In addition to contributing to syntactic theory, Danuta’s emphasis on Polish addresses the epistemic gap in lesser-studied languages, as is the case of West Slavic languages.

During her time at U-M, Danuta has accomplished several milestones. She recently completed her Qualifying Research Project (QRP) in which she proposed a novel analysis of Polish sentences that have a mismatched translation in English. This project earned Danuta acceptance for a poster presentation at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) annual conference. Danuta’s commitment to her professional development also extends to teaching. She has been the sole instructor for several Linguistics and writing courses at U-M. In 2022 she received the Deborah Keller-Cohen Teaching Award from the Linguistics Department to recognize her commitment to teaching.

Danuta is currently working on her dissertation prospectus. Beyond that, she remains open to the possibilities that the future holds, keeping her plans flexible for now.

Danuta finds joy in diverse activities outside of linguistics, including gardening, playing with her cat, and indulging in classical art by visiting museums and galleries. As she navigates the world of linguistics, Danuta’s multifaceted interests contribute to a well-rounded academic and personal journey.