Recent News

Alicia Wassink, Harriet Joyce Craven, Ethel Craven-Sweet, Jana Jefferson at Black Pioneer Family Annual Picnic
Since PNWE’s beginnings in 2007, the general approach has been to include folks in families that have had a longstanding presence in the Northwest. A central goal of the current phase of Alicia Beckford Wassink's research on Pacific Northwest English is to investigate the sociolinguistic implications of the long history of  interethnic contact and geographic migration that have shaped Washington state. In August 2019, the Pacific Northwest English study team was invited to a... Read more
Picture of Laura Panfili
Alumna Laura Panfili (PhD 2018) has been working for the past two years as a Language Data Researcher at Amazon, where she’s part of the Alexa Intelligent Decisions organization. Her team works on making Alexa more conversational in various ways, like resolving anaphors and asking for clarification on acoustically noisy requests. Her job draws on her skills in experimental design, statistics, scripting, and pragmatics. Panfili feels very fortunate to work on a team of language... Read more
photo of Naja Ferjan Ramirez
If you combined a Slovenian track star with a neuroscientist, who would you get?  The director of UW’s Language Development and Processing Lab. Naja Ferjan Ramírez joined the Linguistics Department faculty in Autumn 2019 as a specialist in first language acquisition, brain imaging and related fields.  She holds a Distinguished Professorship in Language Acquisition and Multilingualism. Ferjan Ramírez got hooked on neuroscience after taking her first course in it at Brown,... Read more
CLMS Trends Bar Chart
The computational linguistics/natural language processing industry has continued to grow, leading to increasing demand for people trained in this area. The CLMS program, established in 2005 and well known across the US and beyond, has been well-placed to attract large and increasing numbers of highly qualified applicants. Why UW computational linguistics is so successful In light of steadily increasing numbers of applicants, in 2019 the program expanded its faculty from three to four with the... Read more
Inuktitut Class
panikpit ilinniaqtitsijiŋa nanurmit nirijaulauqpa? Linguists study languages which the average American rarely comes into contact with.  Identifying and then answering a cutting edge research question in that language may require years of basic study, particularly when some words in that language correspond to English sentences. UW is one of the few places in North America where formal study of Inuktitut is possible, through ... Read more
With the arrival of Dan Mathis, there are three full-time ASL faculty at UW.  For the first time at UW, seven sections of ASL 101 will be taught in Autumn 2020.  Dan will join existing faculty Lance Forshay and Kristi Winter in teaching a variety of first and second year ASL classes.  In addition to ASL, the department also offers Introduction to American Deaf Culture (ASL 305), taught every Spring by Forshay. Forshay reports that “Dan has been... Read more
Linguistics Chair Richard Wright
 In September 2019, we welcomed two new assistant professors.  This year, as I prepare to begin my second five-year term as departmental chair, we welcome another two faculty but bid farewell to another. Looking back at the 2019-2020 academic year we must acknowledge the profound changes to our lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am deeply grateful to the Linguistics faculty who, with almost no notice, heroically moved their teaching online to accommodate... Read more
Five PhDs were awarded in 2019-20, one student received a third year of Foreign Language Area Studies support, and three students received Linguistic Excellence awards. These are high achievers in sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, syntax, and language documentation. 2019-20 PhDs were awarded to: Nicole Chartier, Old Stereotypes “Live Free or Die”: Addressing the Evaluation Problem of non-rhoticity in southeastern New Hampshire (Betsy Evans... Read more
Black Lives Matter
We, the UW Linguistics Department, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), and those who combat police brutality and all forms of systemic racism in our society.  The senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and Breonna Taylor are some of the latest episodes in a long and shameful history of violence against Black... Read more
Linguistics faculty and alumna at AAAS 2020
Linguistics Professors Emily M. Bender, Alicia Beckford Wassink, and Gina-Anne Levow, along with Dr. Rachael Tatman, Linguistics PhD graduate, presented racial/ethnic discrimination in automated speech recognition at the 2020 AAAS. View their discerning research and thoughtful conclusions on the Linguistics' Youtube channel. UW Linguistics Department Communications YouTube channel