Lila R. Gleitman
|Died||August 8, 2021(aged 91)|
|Known for||Cognitive Science research|
Lila Ruth Gleitman (December 10, 1929 – August 8, 2021) was an American professor of psychology and linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. She was an internationally renowned expert on language acquisition and developmental psycholinguistics, focusing on children's learning of their first language. Gleitman's research interests included language acquisition, morphology and syntactic structure, psycholinguistics, syntax, and construction of the lexicon. Notable former students include Elissa Newport, Barbara Landau, and Susan Goldin-Meadow.
She was married to fellow psychologist Henry Gleitman until his death on September 2, 2015. He also was a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. The Gleitmans had two daughters.
Gleitman was awarded a B.A. in literature from Antioch College in 1952, an M.A. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. She studied under Zellig Harris.
She was employed as an assistant professor at Swarthmore College before accepting a position as the William T. Carter Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1973. Subsequently, she served as a professor of linguistics and as the Steven and Marcia Roth Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1973 until her retirement.
Gleitman is recognized as a pioneer of cognitive science. Her research led to the development of her renowned theory of syntactic bootstrapping. The theory led Gleitman and Barbara Landau to pursue new explanations of how blind children can effortlessly acquire spoken language related to vision (e.g., the words "look", "see", and words about colors).
The influence of Gleitman's research in language acquisition has been recognized by numerous organizations. She was elected as a fellow in the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. She won the David Rumelhart Prize in 2017. She served as president of the Linguistic Society of America in 1993.
Gleitman described her linguistic interests on the member page for the National Academy of Sciences:
- One of my main interests concerns the architecture and semantic content of the mental lexicon, i.e., the psychological representation of the forms and meanings of words. My second major interest is in how children acquire both the lexicon and the syntactic structure of the native tongue.
(See  for a full list of publications)
- Shipley, E., Smith, C., & Gleitman, L. (1969). A study in the acquisition of language: Free responses to commands. Language, 45(2), 322-342.
- Gleitman, L., & Gleitman H. (1970). Phrase and paraphrase. NY: Norton.
- Newport, E., Gleitman, H., & Gleitman, L. (1977). Mother, I'd rather do it myself: Some effects and non-effects of maternal speech style. In C. Snow & C. Ferguson (Eds.), Talking to children: Language input and acquisition. NY: Cambridge University Press.
- Landau, B., & Gleitman, L. (1985). Language and experience: Evidence from the blind child. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (Paperback published 1987)
- Fowler, A. , Gelman, R., & Gleitman, L. (1994)"The Course of Language Learning in Children with Down Syndrome". In H. Flager-Flusberg (ed), Constraints on language acquisition: Studies of atypical children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Gleitman, L.R., & Reisberg, D. (2011). Language. Revised In H. Gleitman, D. Reisberg & M. Gross (Eds.), Psychology (8th ed.) 
- Gleitman, L.R., Liberman, M.Y., McLemore, C. Partee, B.H. (January 2019). The Impossibility of Language Acquisition (and How They Do It). Annual Review of Linguistics.
|“2013 APS Mentor Award Lila R. Gleitman”, 2017|
|“Inside the Psychologist’s Studio with Lila Gleitman”, 2017|
|“Lila R. Gleitman, University of Pennsylvania: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day But Maybe Latin Was", May 2017|
|Library resources about |
Lila R. Gleitman
|By Lila R. Gleitman|
- "Biography of Lila Gleitman". rumelhartprize.org. Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Google Scholar". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Risen, Clay (2021-08-27). "Lila Gleitman, Who Showed How Children Learn Language, Dies at 91". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
- Lila Gleitman 1929-2021
- Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). American Women of Science since 1900, vol. 1. ABC CLIO. pp. 433–435. ISBN 978-1-59884-158-9.
- Landau, Barbara; Gleitman, Lila R. (1985). Language and experience : evidence from the blind child. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03989-6. OCLC 430105032.
- "Search Results for "lila gleitman" – Association for Psychological Science". www.psychologicalscience.org. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "SEP - The Society of Experimental Psychologists". www.sepsych.org. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "John McGovern Lecture". AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Academy Member Connection". www.amacad.org. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Recipients". rumelhartprize.org. Archived from the original on 2017-03-02. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Presidents | Linguistic Society of America". www.linguisticsociety.org. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Q&A with Lila Gleitman | Penn Current". penncurrent.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Gleitman, Lila. "Lila R. Gleitman". National Academy of Sciences.
- Gleitman, Lila (September 2012). "Lila R. Gleitman CV" (PDF).
- Gleitman, Lila R.; Liberman, Mark Y.; McLemore, Cynthia A.; Partee, Barbara H. (2019-01-14). "The Impossibility of Language Acquisition (and How They Do It)". Annual Review of Linguistics. 5 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1146/annurev-linguistics-011718-011640. ISSN 2333-9683.