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Director

photo of Elaine J. Francis

Elaine J. Francis

  • Professor of English, Purdue University
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 1999, University of Chicago
  • Forthcoming book: Gradient Acceptability and Linguistic Theory is now available for pre-order from Oxford University Press and will be available in paperback by January 2022. Feel free to request an examination copy here and contact Elaine personally (ejfranci@purdue.edu) if you are interested in possibly using it for teaching.
  • Research interests: Elaine Francis’s research deals with syntax and its interfaces with semantics, discourse information structure, and language processing in production and comprehension. Most recently, she has worked on word order alternations, filler-gap dependencies, and resumptive pronouns. Some of her goals are:
    • to identify the various factors that contribute to the realization of grammatical alternations in language use
    • to explore the hypothesis that processing pressures in production and comprehension contribute to the development of grammatical conventions
    • to investigate the nature of grammatical knowledge
  • Journal: Elaine co-edits the journal Language and Cognition
  • Administration: Elaine is the Associate Head of the Department of English at Purdue. She also coordinates the Global English undergraduate concentration within the English major.
  • Brief bio: After earning her B.A. in linguistics at the College of William and Mary (1993), Elaine completed her MA (1995) and PhD (1999) at the University of Chicago under the direction of Salikoko Mufwene. Her other committee members were Amy Dahlstrom, Jerry Sadock, and Jim McCawley. Her dissertation examined variation among members of the same lexical category in English, using Sadock’s Autolexical Grammar framework. Her first faculty position was at the University of Hong Kong, where she taught English linguistics for three years. In collaboration with Stephen Matthews, she conducted research on syntactic categories and relative clauses in Cantonese. She also started working in experimental syntax during this time. She left Hong Kong in 2002 for Purdue University, where she still teaches in the Department of English and in the Department of Linguistics.
  • For more information, please see her Publications page, her ResearchGate page and her CV.

Graduate Students

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Yue Li

  • Ph.D. Student, Linguistics, Purdue University
  • M.A. Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 2021, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • B.E. Electrical Engineering and Automation / English Language and Literature, 2014, Hohai University
  • Interests: language production, sentence processing, syntax-semantics interfaces, second language acquisition

Vanessa Sheu

  • Ph.D. Student, Linguistics, Purdue University
  • M.A. TESOL, 2015, Teachers College Columbia University
  • B.A. Comparative Literature, 2009, University of Michigan
  • Interests: sentence processing, filler-gap dependencies in Mandarin, syntax of heritage speakers

Undergraduate Students

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Ben Riggs

  • Linguistics major, Purdue University
  • Interests:  

Graduate Alumni

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Josh Weirick

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Aphasia Lab, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 2021, Purdue University (advisor: Elaine Francis)
  • M.A. TESOL, 2016, Central Michigan University
  • B.S. English, 2014, Central Michigan University
  • Interests: syntactic alternations in English, the syntax-information structure interface, sentence processing, adult second language acquisition
  • For more information, please see his personal website and his ResearchGate page.

Maria Pritchett

  • PhD. Linguistics, 2020, Purdue University (advisor: Felicia Roberts)
  • M.A. Linguistics, Purdue University
  • B.A. Calvin College
  • Interests: sociolinguistics, corpus, corpus for applied linguistics, lexical variation in online reviews, advanced second language writing studies

Carol Chun Zheng

  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 2017, Purdue University (advisor: Elaine Francis)
  • M.A. Linguistics, 2012, Purdue University
  • B.A. English Applied Linguistics, 2007, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
  • Interests: syntax-semantics interface, psycholinguistics, language processing, structural priming in language production, second language acquisition and pedagogy
  • For more information, please see her ResearchGate page.

Charles Lam

  • Assistant Professor, Hang Seng University, Hong Kong
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 2015, Purdue University (advisor: Ronnie Wilbur)
  • M.A. Linguistics, 2007, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Interests: Formal semantics, syntax, cross-categorial behaviors
  • For more information, please see his personal website and his ResearchGate page.

Ethan Myers

  • PhD. Student, Linguistics, Northwestern University
  • M.A. Linguistics, 2015, Purdue University (advisor: Elaine Francis)
  • Interests: Ellipsis, complementizers and discourse particles, syntactic islands, evidentiality, language preservation and documentation, minority languages in China
  • For more information, please see his ResearchGate page and his personal website.

John Hitz

  • Associate Professor of English, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Ph.D. Second Language Studies, 2012, Purdue University (advisors: April Ginther and Elaine Francis)
  • M.S. Applied Linguistics, 1998, Georgia State University
  • Interests: Influence of the first language on Second Language Acquisition, Turkish Linguistics, Chinese Linguistics, and the relationship between language processing and grammatical representations.
  • For more information, please see his ResearchGate page.

Undergraduate Alumni

 Liz Ancel

  • Speech-Language Pathologist, Wisconsin
  • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology, 2018, Purdue University
  • B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology, 2016, Purdue University

 Arianna Deldar

 Becca Duggan

 Corinne Feight

  • Professional Writer/Editor, New York 
  • B.A. in Professional Writing, Creative Writing, Photography, 2013, Purdue University

 Xuebo Gong

  • Strategic Media Planner, Beijing
  • M.S. in Marketing, University of Texas at Dallas, 2018 
  • B.A. in Public Relations, 2013, Purdue University

 Austin Keen

  • Lab Manager, Aphasia Lab, Purdue University
  • B.A. in Linguistics and Asian Studies, 2018, Purdue University

 Jenna Kuhns

  • Technical Services Analyst, Indiana 
  • B.A. in Linguistics and Asian Studies, 2016, Purdue University

 Morgan Robertson

 Jiaqiao Cecilia Xiao

  • Master’s student in Public Policy, University of Chicago
  • B.A. Strategic Communication and Public Relations, 2018, Purdue University

 Anna Zhang

 Miao Zhang

 Zuyang Jerry Zhang

  • Master’s student in Linguistics and Cultural Studies, Nagoya University
  • B.A. Linguistics, 2019, Purdue University
  • Interests: second language acquisition, language typology, syntax, language teaching