Adele Goldberg (linguist)

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Adele Eva Goldberg
Born (1963-11-09) November 9, 1963 (age 53)
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Fields Cognitive linguistics
Cognitive science
Institutions Princeton University
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Known for Construction Grammar

Adele Eva Goldberg (born November 9, 1963) is an American linguist, best known for the Construction Grammar approach to Cognitive linguistics, which emphasizes that speakers' knowledge of language consists of systematic collections of form and function pairings that are learned on the basis of the language they hear around them.[1]


In 1985, Goldberg received a B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy from University of Pennsylvania. She received an M.A. in 1989 in linguistics, and in 1992 a PhD in linguistics, both from the University of California, studying with George Lakoff, Charles Fillmore, and Dan Slobin. She is married to Ali Yazdani, a professor of physics.


Since 2004, she has been a professor at Princeton University in psychology and linguistics. From 1997-2004, she was employed at the Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Associate Professor of linguistics. From 1997 to 1998, she was Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego, after starting at UCSD as an Assistant Professor in 1992.

Goldberg's research focus is on the psychology of language, including theoretical and experimental aspects of grammar and its representation, acquisition of form-function correspondences, and syntactic priming. Her works aim to illuminate parallels between language and other cognitive processes.

She is best known for her work on constructions: grammatical pairings of form and functions that are related to one another in a systematic network of learned knowledge; statistical preemption: the idea that competition between grammatical constructions in context can account for the ill-formedness of certain expressions that would otherwise be licensed; the creation and development of the artificial construction learning paradigm: which is akin to learning novel words with novel meanings; and the suggestion that both statistics (particularly in the form of skewed input) and the functions of constructions play an important role in learning.

In theoretical work, she argues that the functions of constructions often help demystify traditional linguistic puzzles such as island constraints, one-anaphora, and obligatory modifiers.

With Francesca Citron, she investigates the neural processing of conventional metaphors and their physical and emotional correlates.


  • 2016 Humboldt Research Award
  • 2014- Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America.
  • 2010-2014 Visiting Fellow, Einstein Foundation. Freie Universitat, Berlin.
  • 2003-2004.Fellow at Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences. Stanford, California.
  • 2000. Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study, UIUC.
  • 1996 Gustave O. Arlt Book Award. North American Graduate Council for Constructions (1995)

Selected publications[edit]

  • 2006: Constructions at Work: the nature of generalization in language. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006. ISBN 9780199268528
  • 1995: Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. University of Chicago Press, Chigago. ISBN 0226300862


  1. ^ Adele E. Goldberg (2009) The Nature of Generalization in Language (a concise overview of the book "Constructions at Work"). Cognitive Linguistics 20 1: 93-127.

External links[edit]