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John A. Goldsmith
Linguistics Department
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John Goldsmith

My current CV (click here).

Need to schedule a meeting? Free/busy times are indicated on my Google calendar: check calendar for

Language and the Mind: Encounters in the Mind Fields

Language and the Mind: Encounters in the Mind Fields is the title of a book that I have been writing with Bernard Laks (Université de Paris Nanterre) which looks at the nature of intellectual rupture and continuity, with a careful look at linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and logic during the period from 1870 to 1970.

Drawing information theory and linguistic theory together

The evaluation metric in generative grammar. A version of the paper presented at the 50th annivesary celebration for the MIT Department of Linguistics, December 2011. Slides. It will appear in a volume in memory of Raj Singh.

Learning morphophonology from morphology and MDL. First, second, and third order string differences: where morphology and phonology come from -- handout from the workshop on information theory in linguistics at the LSA Summer Institute, July 17, 2011.

Information theory for linguists: a tutorial introduction. From the workshop on information theory in linguistics at the LSA Summer Institute, July 16, 2011.

Segmentation and morphology. In The Handbook of Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing. An overview of computational work on morphology and on the problem of learning to segment words and morphemes.

Information theoretic approaches to phonology: the case of Finnish vowel harmony With Jason Riggle. This appeared in Natural Language and Linguistic Inquiry.

Draft of: Your Turing Machine or Mine? June 2007.
A video presentation of this at UCL: meeting on Machine Learning and Cognitive Science of Language Acquisition

Towards a new empiricism. A revised version will appear as part of a book written with Alex Clark, Nick Chater, and Amy Perfors.

Analogy in morphology.

Learning phonological categories December 2006. With Aris Xanthos. This paper appeared in Language, March 2009.

Probability for linguists. March 2007

An algorithm for the unsupervised learning of morphology

On the history of linguistics, mostly recent

A paper (with Bernard Laks, Université de Paris X) on the history of generative phonology.

A review of Saussure, a biography of Ferdinand de Saussure, by John Joseph, which appeared in Nature in 2012.

A review of Chomskyan (R)evolutions., a festschrift for Konrad Koerner, edited by Douglas Kibbee. A shorter version appeared in Language,

A review article on Bruce Nevin's book on Zellig Harris.

Le tournant cognitif et les sciences du langage. A paper presented at the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Université de Paris Nanterre, to be published in the proceedings of the conference.

Theory, kernels, data, methods.To appear shortly in the proceedings from the Chicago Linguistics Society.

Generative phonology in the late 1940s. February 2007. This appeared more recently in Phonology.

My 2004 CLS paper on the role of the algorithm in generative grammar.

See also the reference to a paper below on information theory, entropy, and phonology in the 20th century.

Geoff Huck and I wrote a book Ideology and Linguistic Theory (1995) dealing with generative semantics and interpretive semantics in the post-Aspects period, showing how many of the critical suggestions of generative semantics were integrated into mainstream linguistic thought in following generations, and that the professional battle waged during this period was often disconnected from the intellectual issues that were referenced. One of our earlier papers is available here: Distributionalist and Mediationalist Themes in the Development of Linguistic Theory.

A review article on Robert Barsky's Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent.

Linguistica The Linguistica Project

See our Linguistica homepage at for executable, for source code, and for research papers. This project is the development of a computer program that automatically performs morphological analysis of a raw text corpus that you give it.

Academia Academia

John Komlos, Penny Gold and I have written an introduction to academic life for people interested in getting into it, and for people already engaged in it. We try to explain the good and the bad sides of it as a career choice, and give some suggestions that often people don't hear till it's...well, till it's too late. It's called The Chicago Guide to your Academic Career: a Portable Mentor from Graduate School Through Tenure.

Lives in Linguistics.
Haj Ross and I have been working on this project, an oral history of linguistics. Click on "Lives in Linguistics" for a link to the home page of this project.

Course notes Here are the course notes from some courses I have taught in recent years.

Computational linguistics: exploring scientific questions about language from the point of view of machine learning.


Syllables. A chapter in the second volume of the Handbook of Phonological Theory, which came out in 2011.

Rhythm, quantity, and tone in the Kinyarwanda verb (with Fidele Mpiranya). This appeared in a book in memory of Nick Clements.


Alan Yu, Jason Riggle, and I put out in 2011 a second volume of the Handbook of Phonological Theory. I edited the first edition, which came out in 1995.

A book that I edited, Essential Readings in Phonological Theory, was published by Blackwell's in 1999.

What is phonology? First chapter of a book that I'm going to finish before too long, probably entitled What is Phonology? This chapter is primarily about flapping in American English.

Probabilistic models of grammar: phonology as information minimization.

First paper on autosegmental phonology: pretty rough. November 1973 My second paper on autosegmental phonology, but the first one with a theory and a name. Marginal comments from Noam Chomsky. Spring 1974. Strange to look at it now.


Nicolas Ruwet (1933-2001)

Dynamic computational networks

Using an HMM to learn sonority in French (thanks, Colin Sprague)

Links to a few PowerPoints

View Vectors

Spectral graph theory

Graphical images of units of Z/N, N prime or composite

Phonological complexity

Looking for another John Goldsmith, perhaps?

Courses: past, present, and future

Spring 2008: The history of linguistics: where we came from, and how we got here.

Introduction to linguistics 2 (winter 2008)

Introduction to computational linguistics

Seminar on the history of phonological theory, 1950-1990

The Zulu language (Fall 2005)

Mailing address:
Linguistics: 1010 E. 59th Street, Chicago IL 60637
Computer Science: 1100 E. 58th Street, Chicago IL 60637

CS Dept

Hi-res photo