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Janet Randall

Headshot of Janet Randall

Professor of English and Linguistics; Director, LingLaw Lab

College of Social Sciences and Humanities; College of Science

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.

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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.


  • 2018 — Ode to Tom Roeper.  In Hollebrandse, B., J. Kim, A . Pérez-Leroux, & P. Schulz, eds. Thoughts on Mind and Grammar: A festschrift in honor of Tom Roeper. UMass Occasional Papers in Linguistics 41.  Amherst, 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.
  • 1980 —  -ity: a study in word formation restrictions.  Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 6, 524-35.

In the Press:

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