Janet Randall is a professor affiliated with both the Department of English and the Linguistics Program, in the College of Science. Her research and publications span areas in theoretical linguistics (the syntax/semantics interface, argument structure), language acquisition (the acquisition of verbs; argument structure; morphology); psycholinguistics; linguistics and law, and linguistics in the schools. Her 2010 theoretical linguistics study, Linking: the geometry of argument structure (Springer), explores how a verb’s conceptual/semantic arguments map to their syntactic positions. Other current projects focus on how linguistic analysis can improve legal language and on the “grammar gap”: the teaching (and non-teaching) of grammar. New students are always welcome to join her research teams and can earn credit through directed study, experiential education, or honors projects; work/study positions are also available. Her next book will bring together current research at the interface of linguistics and law.
1985 — Morphological Structure and Language Acquisition. Garland Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics, Garland Publications, NY.
2020 — [Forthcoming] Results from the LingLaw Lab: a collaborative workspace. Chicago Kent Law Review, Symposium issue: Reviving the American Jury.
2019 — How Just is Justice? Ask a Psycholinguist. In Carlson, Katy, Charles Clifton Jr. & Janet Dean Fodor, eds. Grammatical Approaches to Language Processing- Essays in Honor of Lyn Frazier. Studies in Theoretical Pyscholinguistics, Springer, NY, 275-308.
2014 — Tackling “legalese”: How linguistics can simplify legal language and increase access to justice. Language Use & Linguistic Structure (Olomouc Modern Language Series), Olomouc, 231-46. [Online] https://dx.doi.org/10.5507/ff.14.24440606.
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 unaccusativity: a cross-linguistic look. (with A. van Hout, H. Baayen & J. Weissenborn) In Alexiadou, A., E. Anagnostopoulou & M. Everaert, eds. The Unaccusativity Puzzle: explorations of the syntax-lexicon interface. Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics, Oxford University Press, NY. 332-353.
2003 — Inheritance in morphology. In Frawley, W., ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of Linguistics. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, NY. Volume 2, 283-284.
1993 — Lexical Mapping. (with J. Carrier) In Reuland, E. & W. Abraham, eds., Knowledge and Language vol. 2: lexical and conceptual structure. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 119-142.
1992 — The argument structure and syntactic structure of resultatives. (with J. Carrier.) Linguistic Inquiry 23, 173-234.
1992 — The Catapult Hypothesis: an approach to unlearning In Weissenborn, J., H. Goodluck & T. Roeper, eds., Theoretical issues in language acquisition. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 93-138.
1988 — Inheritance. In Wilkins, W., ed., Thematic Relations. Syntax & Semantics series, Volume 21. Academic Press, New York, 129-146.
1988 — Of butchers & bakers & candlestickmakers: the problem of morphology in understanding words. In Davison, A. & G. Green, eds., Linguistic complexity and text comprehension: a re-examination of readability with alternative views. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 223-245.
1987 — Indirect positive evidence: overturning overgeneralizations in language acquisition. Indiana University Linguistics Club.
1985 — Negative evidence from positive. In Fletcher, P. and M. Garman, eds., Child Language Seminar Papers 1, 105-114. [Abstract]
1984 — Morphological complementation. In Speas, M. and R. Sproat, eds., MIT Working Papers in Linguistics VII, 70-85.
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.
1984 — Indirect positive evidence: a new route for retreat. Boston University Conference on Language Development, Special Session: theoretical issues in language acquisition, 1-14. Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Clearinghouse on Languages & Linguistics, ED253113, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, D.C.
1983 — A lexical approach to causatives. Journal of Linguistic Research 2, 77-105.
1983 — Filling gaps: decision principles and structure in language comprehension. (with L. Frazier and C. Clifton) Cognition 13, 187-222.
1980 — -ity: a study in word formation restrictions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 6, 524-35.
Invited Presentations (recent, selected)
2019 — In pursuit of comprehension: Law, meet Linguistics. Workshop for new judges, Flaschner Judicial Institute, Boston. (Organized by Justice Douglas Wilkins.) The Flaschner Judicial Institute provides educational/ professional development programming for judges. May.
2019 — The Linguistics & Law Lab: a collaborative research space. The Civil Jury Project Roundtable for Academic Advisors, NYU Law School, April.
2018 — “Just” Language: Linguistics & Law 101. 2-hour workshop. Department of Linguistics & Translation, City University of Hong Kong. August.
2017 — The preponderance of the WHAT? Legalese, meet Linguistics. The Syntax of Justice: Law, Language, Access & Exclusion Conference. Northeastern U. School of Law, Boston. March.
2017 — One talk, three ways. Keynote speaker, professional development workshop for graduate students & post-docs. Boston University Conference on Language Development. Boston, November.
2016 — Results, three ways. One of 3 invited speakers at Student-organized Panel, Know Your Audience: Explaining your Research in Different Contexts. Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting. Washington DC. January.
2014 — “What was that, again?” Instructing a Jury in Plain English. Workshop, Flaschner Judicial Institute, Boston. The Flaschner Judicial Institute provides educational/ professional development programming for judges.
2018 — Ode to Tom Roeper. In Hollebrandse, Bart, Jaieun Kim, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, & Petra Schulz, eds. T.O.M and grammar (Thoughts on Mind and grammar): A festschrift in honor of Tom Roeper. University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics (UMOP) 41. Amherst: U.Mass, Graduate Linguistics Student Association, 123-125.
2007 — Discovering knowledge about prefixes. TeachLing: Lesson plans on language and linguistics in K-12 education. Lesson plan for grades 6-8. Western Washington University.
1978 — de- and dis- location. Unpublished ms. University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
In the Press
2017 — Too often juries comprise 12 confused men (and women), Robert Lane Greene, The Economist. April 14-20.
2015 — Embrace Plain English Jury Instructions, Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasive Litigator. March 23.
2013 — Linguists to gather in Minneapolis for national conference, Linguistic Society of America on AAAA/EurekAlert! December 6. (Scroll down to the 6th entry, Randall)