About AMZ

arnold1 arnold2

Arnold M. Zwicky

  • Adjunct Professor of Linguistics, Stanford University
  • Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Linguistics,
    Ohio State University

[Last revised 9/15/22]

Research areas

  • conceptual analysis in theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and g&s (gender & sexuality) studies
  • psycholinguistics: categorization and labeling
  • psycholinguistics: mistakes
  • psycholinguistics: illusions — cognitive biases in attention to and memory for language
  • sociolinguistics: syntactic variation
  • language, gender, and sexuality
  • theory of grammar: interfaces between phonology, morphology, and syntax
  • morphological theory: lexeme-based, realizational morphology
  • syntactic theory: construction-based syntax
  • the advice literature on grammar, usage, and style
  • the language of comics

Current research program

  • since the late 1960s I’ve been investigating the interrelationships of syntax, morphology, and phonology, focusing especially on apparent counterexamples to the Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax and the Principle of Morphology-Free Syntax, as well as on phenomena (like clitics) that appear to fall within more than one component of grammar
  • since around 1980, I’ve been investigating syntactic variation, paying attention to small details that mostly don’t map easily to large-scale social distinctions like region, sex, class, ethnicity, and so — especially as part of the linguistic aspects in the presentation of self
  • parallel to this interest, again since around 1980, I’ve been investigating language and social organization vis-a-vis g&s, in a wide variety of domains (ranging from taboo vocabulary and insults; to the social organization of sex venues; to the visual, linguistic and narrative organization of gay porn films)
  • as an offshoot of the syntactic variation research, I became interested in the “advice literature” on English syntax, and more generally, on material about usage and prescriptivism; and that returned me to earlier interests in style and in mistakes in language
  • since about 1990, I’ve been using cartoons and comics as sources of data for examining linguistic and g&s phenomena; and studying the comics as an art form and narrative genre
  • since about 1995, my postings to this blog have increasingly been framed as intellectual entertainments, embedding linguistic and g&s observations in playful and often deeply personal essays, with excursions into (among other things) music, poetry, art, popular culture, sexual attitudes and practices, food, plants, and animals (especially penguins and mammoths)

Further information and links to .pdf files

Brief biography

  • I received an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton (1962) and a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT (1965). After teaching four years at Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, I came to Ohio State in 1969, was named a Distinguished University Professor in 1989, and retired in 1995. Since 1985 I have been a visiting (then consulting, and now adjunct) professor at Stanford, and from September 1998 on I am based at Stanford.
  • I have been active in the Linguistic Society of America (and was its president in 1992) and have taught or worked on research projects at many of the Linguistic Institutes of the LSA, from 1968 through 2007; I held the Sapir Professorship at the 1999 Institute, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • I am a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1992); of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 1998); and of the Association for Psychological Science (elected 2007). I’ve held one-year fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Stanford Humanities Center, and shorter appointments at Edinburgh, Sussex, and the Beijing Language Institute.
  • in July 2021, the LSA announced the creation of an annual Arnold Zwicky Prize, to recognize distinguished accomplishments by LGBTQ+ scholars; the first winner was awarded in January 2022
  • I was born 9/6/40 in Allentown PA, the son of Arnold M. Zwicky, Sr.  and Marcella Ida Rice; and grew up in West Lawn and Wyomissing Hills PA (just west of Reading)
  • I am the widower of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky (died January 1985) and Jacques Henry Transue (died June 2003)
  • I am the father of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and grandfather of Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky

Links to other pages

  • I was a contributor to Language Log, where lots of interesting linguists muse about things having to do with language, from 2003 through 2017; and I have been a regular contributor to Chris Waigl’s eggcorn database
  • I post almost daily on this WordPress blog, on topics in linguistics and in g&s (gender & sexuality) studies; in addition, I post on AZBlogX (onLiveJournal), here, which contains images that are visually XXX-rated
  • I was the founder of the OUTIL (OUT In Linguistics) mailing list, for lgbt(-friendly) linguists, now closed down
  • I was also a long-time participant in the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss (Members Of The Same Sex), now functioning as a group on Facebook
  • I have been an enthusiastic singer in the Sacred Harp (Denson Book) shape-note singing tradition since 1989; I sing now with a group in Palo Alto; before that, also with a group in San Francisco; and further back before that with a group in Columbus OH (all sorts of information about shape-note singing can be found on the FASOLA homepage)
  • a collection of my academic “postcard collages” is available here (some explanation of these collages can be found here) and two further collages, in honor of colleagues, are available here

Addresses & phone numbers

  • I am now working entirely from home: 722 Ramona St., Palo Alto CA 94301-2547
  • home phone: (650) 323-0753
  • e-mail: zwicky@stanford.edu (academic mail);
    arnold.zwicky@gmail.com (personal and commercial mail)
  • department address: Linguistics, Margaret Jacks Hall, 460-127, Stanford Univ., Stanford CA 94305-2150

Linguistics Department Home Page


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