Bio


Brief professional biography:
I received an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton (1962) and a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT (1965). After teaching four years at Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, I came to Ohio State in 1969, was named a Distinguished University Professor in 1989, and retired in 1995. Since 1985 I have been a visiting (then consulting, and now adjunct) professor at Stanford, and from September 1998 on I am based at Stanford.
I have been active in the Linguistic Society of America (and was its president in 1992) and have taught or worked on research projects at many of the Linguistic Institutes of the LSA, from 1968 through 2007; I held the Sapir Professorship at the 1999 Institute, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
I am a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1992); of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 1998); and of the Association for Psychological Science (elected 2007). I’ve held one-year fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Stanford Humanities Center, and shorter appointments at Edinburgh, Sussex, and the Beijing Language Institute.

Academic Appointments


  • Adjunct Professor, Linguistics

Professional Education


  • PhD, MIT, Linguistics (1965)
  • AB, Princeton University, Mathematics (1962)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Current research program:
I’m investigating the interrelationships of syntax, morphology, and phonology, focusing especially on apparent counterexamples to the Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax and the Principle of Morphology-Free Syntax, as well as phenomena (like clitics) that appear to fall within more than one component of grammar.
I’m also doing research on the conceptual foundations of morphology, as well as developing a construction-based framework for syntax and a “realizational” framework for morphology.
More recently (well, since around 1980), I’ve been investigating syntactic variation, paying attention to small details that mostly don’t map easily to large-scale social distinctions like region, sex, class, ethnicity, and so on. As an offshoot of this research, I’ve also become interested in the “advice literature” on English syntax, and more generally, on material about usage and prescriptivism; and I’ve returned to earlier interests in style and in mistakes in language.
In addition, for some years I’ve done research and writing on language, gender, and sexuality.

2019-20 Courses


All Publications