Alan Prince

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Alan Sanford Prince (born 1946) is a professor of linguistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Prince, along with Paul Smolensky, developed Optimality Theory, which was originally applied to phonology, but has been extended to other areas of linguistics such as syntax and semantics.


Prince went to high school in Fairfax, Virginia, got his BA with "great distinction" from McGill University, and received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1975. Before coming to Rutgers, he was a professor of linguistics at Brandeis University and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2010 Prince was named the Rutgers Board of Governors Professor of Linguistics.[1] He became an emeritus professor at Rutgers in 2015.


In 1998, Prince was named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.[2]

Key Publications[edit]

A Prince, P Smolensky. 2008. Optimality Theory: Constraint interaction in generative grammar

JJ McCarthy, A Prince. 1995. Faithfulness and reduplicative identity.

JJ McCarthy, A Princ. 1993 Generalized alignment. Springer.

S Pinker, A Prince. 1988. On language and connectionism: Analysis of a parallel distributed processing model of language acquisition Cognition.

AS Prince, 1983. Relating to the grid. Linguistic inquiry.

M. Liberman, A Prince. 1977. On stress and linguistic rhythm. Linguistic inquiry


External links[edit]