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Alice Harris

Professor Emerita

Having received a B.A. from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, an M.A. from the University of Essex (England), and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1976, Alice Carmichael Harris held positions at Vanderbilt University and at the State University of New York, Stony Brook before coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2009. 

Harris’s 1995 book, Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, (with Lyle Campbell) won the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award from the Linguistic Society of America in 1998, and in the same year she won The Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research, Vanderbilt University.  Other awards include the Erskine Fellowship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1999; a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, 2004-05; Outstanding Alumna Award (Randolph-Macon Woman’s College), 2004, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, 2009-2010.  In 2011 she held the Collitz Professorship for the Linguistic Society of America’s Linguistics Institute at the University of Colorado.  She is currently Vice President/ President-Elect of the Linguistic Society of America.

Research Areas

  • historical linguistics
  • morphology
  • languages of the Caucasus
  • psycholinguistics of understudied languages


Books Authored

  • Georgian Syntax, Cambridge University Press, 1981, reprinted 2009
  • Diachronic Syntax:  The Kartvelian Case (Syntax and Semantics, 18), Academic Press, 1985
  • Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, Alice C. Harris and Lyle Campbell, Cambridge University Press, 1995
  • Endoclitics and the Origins of Udi Morphosyntax, Oxford University Press, 2002
  • Multiple Exponence, Oxford University Press, forthcoming

Edited Work

  • The Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus: Kartvelian, ed. by Alice C. Harris, 1991
  • Lab in the Field, special issue of Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, ed. by Florian Jaeger, Elizabeth Norcliffe, and Alice C. Harris, forthcoming

Selected Articles

  • Georgian and the Unaccusative Hypothesis, Language 58: 290-306. 1982.
  • Review article: R.M.W. Dixon, Ergativity, in Language 73: 359-374.  1997.
  • Where in the Word is the Udi Clitic?  Language 76: 593-616.  2000.
  • Revisiting Anaphoric Islands.  Language 82: 114-130.  2006.
  • Trapped Morphology.  (Alice C. Harris and Jan Terje Faarlund.)  Journal of Linguistics 42: 289-315.  2006.
  • Light Verbs as Classifiers in Udi.  Diachronica 25, guest editor, Claire Bowern, 213-241.  2008.
  • Exuberant Exponence in Batsbi. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 27:267-303.  2009.
  • Perception of Exuberant Exponence in Batsbi: Functional or Incidental?  Alice C. Harris and Arthur G. Samuel.  Language 87: 447-469.  2011.