Department of Linguistics

Wayne Cowart Ph.D.

Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus

Office Location

310 A-Wing Science Building



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. in Linguistics, CUNY Graduate Center, 1983


Ph.D. in Linguistics, CUNY Graduate Center, 1983.

For Students:

  • If you need a letter of recommendation for graduate applications or other purposes, please get in touch as early as possible by email or in person.
  • If I have agreed to write on your behalf, please review this list of suggestions as to the material I would like to have at hand when I write.

Blog: Notes for students on doing and analyzing experiments.

Experimental Linguistics blog  >>

Supplementary materials for Experimental Syntax, Sage, 1997, can be found on the blog.

Research Interests

Psycholinguistics, particularly the cognitive theory of syntax

Language evolution, esp. the origin of recursive structures

Comparative psychology of communication

Philosophy of mind/language/linguistics

Recent Publications

Google Scholar listing

Recent presentations (click to view abstracts):

Identifying linguistic fossils: a cross-linguistic study on non-hierarchical syntax. 43rd Poznań Linguistic Meeting: PLM2012. September 9 2012.

Questions and evidence: How does the prosperity of the undergraduate major in linguistics affect the prosperity of the field? (Symposium presentation).  Linguistics Society of America, Annual Meeting, Portland, OR.  January 4-8, 2012.

Is AND a fossil?: Coordination and the origin of compositionality.  Evolang9, Kyoto, Japan.  March 13-16, 2012.

New Perspectives on Language Creativity:Composition and Recursion, Montreal, QC, Canada, September 25-27, 2011

PROTOLANG 2 19-21 September 2011, Toruń, Poland  (Video of talk)

"Finding the edge of Merge: The nature of judgments and their role in biolinguistics". Illinois Language and Linguistics Society, 28 May 2010. (Video of talk)



McDaniel, D. & McKee, C. & Cowart, W. & Garrett, M. F.(2015). The role of the language production system in shaping grammars. Language 91(2), 415-441. Linguistic Society of America. 

Cowart, W., & D. McDaniel.  (2012). What kind of thing is a coordinate? In Myers, James (editor). In search of grammar: Experimental andcorpus-based studies. Language and Linguistics Monograph Series 48.Taipei, Taiwan: Language and Linguistics.

Cowart, W. (2012). Doing Experimental Syntax: Bridging the gap between syntactic questions and well-designed questionnaires.  In Myers, James (editor). In search of grammar: Experimental and corpus-based studies. Language and Linguistics Monograph Series 48.Taipei, Taiwan: Language and Linguistics.

Cowart, W., & Agupova, T. (2009). On the homogeneity of syntax: How similar do coordinates and subordinates look to the comprehension system? In W. Lewis, S. Karimi, H. Harley & S. Farrar (Eds.), Time and Again: Theoretical Perspectives on Formal Linguistics in honor of D. Terence Langendoen (pp. 121-134). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Cowart, W., & McDaniel, D. (2008). The syntax of coordination and the evolution of syntax. In A. D. Smith, K. Smith & R. Ferrer i Canch (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Procedings of the 7th International Conference (EVOLANG7, Barcelona, Spain) (pp. 411-412). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Col.