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Division Chair

2017/2018 Division Chair

Farrell Ackerman (Linguistics)

Farrell Ackerman is Director of the Human Development Program and Professor in the Linguistics Department, both within the Division of Social Sciences. Early in his career, Professor Ackerman worked within constraint-based lexicalist theories of grammar focusing his empirical research on the Slavic and Uralic language families. In recent years, he has worked on the syntax and morphology of an understudied Sudanese language Thetogovela Moro (Kordofanian) with Co-PI Sharon Rose (UCSD) in an NSF funded research project. For the past 10 years, he and colleagues have been developing Information Theoretic Implicative and dynamic systems approaches to (complex) morphologies in natural language, exploring the nature of systemic organization which makes them learnable. This research entails the development of large cross-linguistic phonetically represented databases, refinements of discriminative learning theories based on animal learning models, and descriptive historical and simulation-based models of language change. The formal and comprehensive elaboration of this research program is the subject of a collaborative book project (with Olivier Bonami (Diderot University, Paris) and Rob Malouf (SDSU)) under the working title Making Sense of Morphology.   

For many years, Professor Ackerman served on the UCSD Social Science IRB and was the Linguistics department representative to the Faculty Senate. He has served on the Campus Research Grants Committee, Senate Council, Alternative Representative to the Representative Assembly, Senate Administration Council, and Committtee on Committees, including service as Chair.

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