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head shot of Elaine J. Francis

Elaine J. Francis

  • Professor of English, Purdue University
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 1999, University of Chicago
  • New book: Gradient Acceptability and Linguistic Theory is now available in paperback from Oxford University Press and in e-book format from Google Play and Amazon Kindle. Feel free to request a free examination copy here and contact Elaine personally (ejfranci@purdue.edu) if you are interested in possibly using it for teaching. You can read the first chapter for free at Google Books. Please consider putting in a request to your university library to purchase online access from Oxford Academic Online. Read this review by Tobias Ungerer in the journal English Language and Linguistics.
  • 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
  • Administration: Elaine 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.
  • Contact: ejfranci@purdue.edu

Graduate Students

A photo of Golsa Khodadadi. A young woman with black hair pulled back and parted on the side, with black eyes, in a tan suit.

Golsa Khodadadi

  • Ph.D. Student, Linguistics, Purdue University
  • M.A. Applied Linguistics, 2018, University of Tabriz
  • B.A. English Language and Literature, 2015, Azerbaijan Shahid Madani University
  • Interests: Syntax, Semantics, Verb Phrase Ellipsis, Sentence Processing, Psycholinguistics
  • ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Golsa-Khodadadi
  • Contact: gkhodada@purdue.edu

A photo of Jingying Hu. A woman with black hair, black eyes, and a white top smiling against a sunlit leaves in soft focus.

Jingying Hu

  • Ph.D. Student, Linguistics, Purdue University
  • M.A. TCSOL, 2022, Peking University
  • B.A. Chinese Language and Literature / Finance, 2019, University of International Business and Economics
  • Interests: Chinese linguistics, second language acquisition, psycholinguistics
  • Contact: hu880@purdue.edu

A photo of Yue Li. A woman with black hair, black eyes, and sunglasses atop her head sitting and smiling in a denim romper in an alcove.

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
  • Contact: li4207@purdue.edu

A photo of Vanessa Sheu. A woman with black hair and black eyes, smiling in a teal peacoat against a beige wall.

Vanessa Sheu

  • Ph.D. Candidate, Linguistics, Purdue University
  • M.A. TESOL, 2015, Teachers College Columbia University
  • B.A. Comparative Literature, 2009, University of Michigan
  • Interests: sentence processing, psycholinguistics, Mandarin heritage speakers
  • Contact: sheuv@purdue.edu

Undergraduate Students

Photo of Yongjia Deng. A young woman with black hair, black eyes, and round glasses smiling with a pastel mask below her chin.

Yongjia Deng

  • Linguistics major, Purdue University
  • Interests: language production, sentence processing, and computational linguistics

Graduate Alumni

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Josh Weirick

  • Research Scientist, Cascade Reading
  • Former 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, language production and comprehension in aphasia, reading comprehension
  • 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

  • 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

Charles Lam

  • Lecturer, English for Academic Purposes, University of Leeds
  • Ph.D. Linguistics, 2015, Purdue University (advisor: Ronnie Wilbur)
  • M.A. Linguistics, 2007, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Interests: formal syntax and semantics, experimental syntax and semantics, digital humanities, corpus linguistics

Ethan Myers

  • PhD. Candidate, 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

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

Yongjia Deng

  • Ph.D. Student in Language Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • B.A. in Linguistics, 2024, Purdue University

 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

  • Ph.D. Student in Linguistics, Northwestern University
  • M.S. in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, 2022, 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

Ben Riggs

  • B.A. in Linguistics, 2024, 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

  • Ph.D. Student, Waseda University
  • M.A. in Linguistics and Cultural Studies, Nagoya University
  • B.A. Linguistics, 2019, Purdue University
  • Interests: second language acquisition, language typology, syntax, language teaching