Janet H. Randall


Professor, Linguistics Program & English Department; Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst j.randall@neu.edu

Research areas and interests

Theoretical linguistics (the syntax/semantics interface, argument structure), language acquisition (acquisition of verbs; argument structure; morphology); psycholinguistics; linguistics and grammar in K-12 and linguistics and law. Her 2010 theoretical linguistics monograph, Linking: the geometry of argument structure,explores how verbs’ semantic arguments map to their syntactic positions.  Other current projects focus on how linguistic analysis can improve jury instructions and on the “grammar gap”:  the teaching (and non-teaching) of grammar.  New students are always welcome to join the teams working on these projects.  Credit can be given through directed study, experiential education, or honors projects; work/study positions are also available.

Links to Selected Publications

2014 “Tackling ‘legalese’: how linguistics can simplify legal language and increase access to justice.” In Emonds, Joseph & Marketa Janebova (eds.) Language Use and Linguistic Structure. Olomouc Modern Language Series Vol.3. Univerzita Palackeho, Olomouc.
2010 Linking:  the geometry of argument structure.  Studies in Natural Language & Linguistic Series, Volume 74, Springer, Dordrecht.  xv+325 pp.    [paperback published in 2011] (PDF of errata list)
2007 Solving the re-  mystery.   TeachLing:  Lesson plans on language and linguistics in K-12 education.   http://teachling.wwu.edu/
2007 “Parameterized auxiliary selection: a fine-grained interaction of features and linking rules.” In Aranovich, R., ed., Split Auxiliary Systems:  A Cross-linguistic Perspective.  Studies in Language Series, John Benjamins, NY.  207-235.
2004 Acquiring unaccusatives: a cross-linguistic look  (with van Hout, A.,  H. Baayen & J. Weissenborn).   In Alexiadou, A.,  A. Anagnostopoulou & M. Everaert (eds.)  Studies in Unaccusativity:  the syntax-lexicon interface.  Oxford University Press.
1992 The argument structure and syntactic structure of resultatives.  (with J. Carrier)  Linguistic Inquiry 23, 173-234.
1990 Catapults & pendulums: the mechanics of language acquisition.  Linguistics 28, 1381-1406.
1985 Morphological Structure and Language Acquisition.  Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics, Garland.
1984 Grammatical Information in Word Structure.  Quaderni di Semantica.    [International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Semantics] 5, 313-330.
1984 Thematic Structure and Inheritance.   Quaderni di Semantica.   [International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Semantics] 5, 92-110.
1983 Filling Gaps: Decision principles and structure in sentence comprehension. (with L. Frazier and C. Clifton) Cognition 13,  187-222.
1982 Dissertation: “Morphological Structure and Language Acquisition”; Proquest address: http://search.proquest.com/docview/303248360/fulltextPDF?accountid=12826
1980 -ity:  A study in word formation restrictions.   Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 6, 524-35.

Visiting Appointments

2012-2014 Research Fellow, Massachusetts Bar Association
1987-93 Research Associate, Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
1990 Research Scientist, MIT Cognitive Science Center
1989-90 Visiting Professor, University of Düsseldorf
1985 Visiting Professor, Brown University


1993, 1994 Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship
1981-83 Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship


c.v. (PDF format)

Interesting Links