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Elaine Francis

Promoted to Professor
Department of English

Elaine J. Francis completed a BA in Linguistics at the College of William and Mary and an MA and PhD in Linguistics at the University of Chicago. She directs the Experimental Linguistics Lab and teaches undergraduate courses in introductory linguistics and graduate courses in syntax and semantics.

Francis’ research examines the syntactic, semantic, discourse-pragmatic, and cognitive factors that underlie the grammar and usage of complex sentence structures. 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 procession pressures in production and comprehension contribute to the development of grammatical conventions, and to investigate the nature of grammatical knowledge.

Francis is associate head in the Department of English, a general editor of Language and Cognition, and a regular instructor at the Linguistic Society of America Linguistic Institutes. She also coordinates the Global English undergraduate concentration within the English major. She joined the Purdue faculty in 2002 after teaching English linguistics at the University of Hong Kong for three years.