Beth Levin

Department of Linguistics
Stanford University



Beth Levin is the William H. Bonsall Professor in the Humanities at Stanford. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in 1983 and then spent four years at the MIT Center for Cognitive Science, where she had major responsibility for the Lexicon Project. From 1987 to 1999 she was a professor in the Department of Linguistics at Northwestern University. She joined the Stanford Department of Linguistics in September 1999 and was department chair in 2003-2007 and 2010-2011. In 1999-2000 she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and in 2008 she was named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Her research focuses on the lexicon---the component of the language system that serves as a repository for information on the words of a language. She has conducted extensive breadth- and depth-first studies of the English verb lexicon, which have provided the foundation for much of her theoretical research. Her recent work investigates the linguistic representation of events and the ways in which events and their participants are expressed in English and other languages. This research requires developing models of verb meaning, as verbs are the main words used to describe events. Her publications include Argument Realization (2005, coauthored with Malka Rappaport Hovav), Unaccusativity: At the Syntax-Lexical Semantics Interface (1995, coauthored with Malka Rappaport Hovav), English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation (1993), and Lexical and Conceptual Semantics (1992, coedited with Steven Pinker), as well as numerous papers.