Pauline Jacobson


Pauline Jacobson received her Ph.D. (1977) in Linguistics from UC Berkeley. She has been on the Brown faculty since 1975 with visiting professorships at Ohio State University and Harvard.  She has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has taught at several summer institutes of the Linguistic Society of America, at several of the European Summer Schools in Language, Logic, And Information, and at the East Asian School in Language, Logic, and Computation. Her research focuses on the formal tools needed to model the syntactic and semantic systems of natural language; focusing especially on the hypothesis of “Direct Compositionality” which maintains a direct and transparent fit between the syntactic and semantic compositions without recourse to levels such as “Logical Form”. She has authored an advanced undergraduate/graduate textbook on the syntax/semantics interface (Compositonal Semantics: An Introduction to the Syntax/Semantics Interface, Oxford University Press, 2014).  She is former editor in chief of Linguistics and Philosophy (Springer) and a former co-editor of its companion books series Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy.  She is currently or has been on the editorial boards of Natural Language Semantics, Journal of Semantics, Semantics and Pragmatics, Journal of South Asian Linguistics, Journal of Universal Languages, among others, and several  book series. Her research has been funded by NSF, and she has served on the NSF Linguistics panel and the Fulbright Linguistics panel. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on a variety of topics in syntax and semantics, as well as teaching introductory linguistics courses for undergraduates.


  • CLPS1342 Compositional Semantics 
  • CLPS1341 Lexical Semantics

Office Hours: 

Tuesday 11-12pm and Thursday 12-1pm