Syntactician gone neurolinguist— Dr. Green is working to understand what the brain can teach us about how language works.
This Fall Semester marked Dr. Jeff Green’s second year at BYU since he was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department in 2021. He received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Maryland in 2018 with a thesis on Adjunct Control. In his dissertation he came up with a new Adjunct Control Theory to handle sentences like, “The pool was the perfect temperature after being in the hot sun all day.” Where it’s unclear if the pool was hot or if the speaker was, which old theories don’t account for.
Because of some side projects he did in grad school using EEG (electroencephalography) to do neurolinguistic research, he was hired and placed in charge of the neurolinguistics lab at UIUC, and now he’s here at BYU working with our neurolinguistics research group to unravel the mysteries of how our brains processes language.
In addition to his work with the neurolinguistics research group here at BYU, Dr. Green enjoys teaching BYU’s neurolinguistics course (a special section of LING 580R) and the undergraduate syntax course, LING 325. He is very enthusiastic about the prospect of sharing his love for neurolinguistics and syntax with every one of his students.
Dr. Green has recently shifted his research interests away from syntactic theory and has decided to focus more intently on psycho/neurolinguistics. He has quite a few research projects going on right now on topics ranging from second language acquisition to more on adjunct control. In one of his current projects, he’s studying French and Chinese learners to see if the brain can tell us if language learning takes place before the learners show any outward signs of learning. He says “if we understand [how the brain learns] better, then that could inform teaching methods so that we can teach in a way that gets people to a more native-like processing [ability].”
If you’re interested in learning more about how the brain can help us understand how language works or if you would like to do neurolinguistic research yourself, consider adding LING 580R Section 002 (Winter Semester 2023) to your schedule and reach out to Dr. Green!