María Cristina Cuervo

Associate Professor
Northrop Frye Hall, Room 319, 73 Queen's Park Cres E, Toronto, ON M5S 2C3


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Linguistic theory
  • Syntax
  • Morphology
  • Argument structure
  • Clitics


María Cristina Cuervo is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Spanish, appointed at the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and at the Department of Linguistics. Her research has appeared in Syntax, Probus, Lingua, Theoretical Linguistics, Borealis, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, and in volumes by Benjamins, Bloomsbury, Iberoamericana, a.o. She published an edited volume (The End of Argument Structure?, Emerald, with Yves Roberge) in 2012. Her work has been funded by various Victoria College and U of T grants, and a Jackman Research Fellowship. In 2013 Prof. Cuervo received an Outstanding Teaching Award from Arts & Science at U of T.

Her research considers how specific grammatical phenomena in several languages (argument / event structure, dative arguments, morphological form) inform the broader question of how structural properties of language restrict and shape the construction of linguistic meaning. Her work has focused on the relative contribution of lexical verbal roots, prepositions and grammatical morphemes to the construction of verbal meanings. More recently, she has also been working in collaboration with students on the tense system in Spanish and how it is acquired. She draws on natural language data from a variety of sources (speakers’ intuitions, corpora and experimental data) and speaker populations (children, adult native speakers, and second language learners). Her research is couched within a linguistic theory that studies language as a human-specific cognitive faculty.


Licenciatura, University of Buenos Aires
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Administrative Service

Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, 2018-2021
Planning and Budget Committee, Governing Council U of T, 2014-2019
Academic Board, Governing Council U of T, 2013-2019