Email (preferred contact method)

ebender at uw dot edu

Office Phone:

+1 (206) 543-6914

Office hours (Spring 2016)

Fridays 1:30-3pm & by appt


Guggenheim 418B    map

About Me

My primary research interests are in multilingual grammar engineering, the study of variation, both within and across languages, and the relationship between linguistics and computational linguistics. My grammar engineering work centers on the LinGO Grammar Matrix, an open-source starter kit for the development of broad-coverage precision HPSG grammars. My language interests include English [eng] (including AAVE), Japanese [jpn], Wambaya [wmb], Chintang [ctn], ASL [ase], and Mandarin [cmn]. The AGGREGATION project is investigating the automatic creation of grammars from IGT with the Grammar Matrix for the benefit of language documentation.

The Grammar Matrix is developed in the context of the DELPH-IN consortium, and Matrix-derived grammars are compatible with the DELPH-IN suite of open-source tools. The Grammar Matrix itself represents an approach to computational linguistic typology, using computational methodology to combine depth of formal methods (creating grammars which map surface strings to semantic representations) with the breadth of typological investigation (attempting to cover the known range of variants across languages for each phenomenon we approach).

I am also interested in sociolinguistic variation, or the ways in which speakers manipulate the possibilities allowed by their languages to create style and register. This interest led to my involvement in the LiCORICE project, investigating the ways in which speakers express and deploy claims to authority and align with or against interlocutors. My dissertation (available online) explored how competence grammar can accommodate the relationship between non-categorical constraints on sociolinguistic variation and social meaning.

As for the interaction between linguistics and computational linguistics, I'm interested in both how linguistic knowledge can be deployed to improve the performance of NLP systems and how computational methods can serve the purposes of linguistic analysis. I am the LSA's delegate to the ACL and maintain the Cyberling blog. My 2013 book Linguistic Fundamentals for Natural Language Processing: 100 Essentials from Morphology and Syntax aims to present linguistic concepts in an manner accessible to NLP practitioners.

I have a been a member of the faculty at the University of Washington since 2003. I am currently a Professor in the Department of Linguistics, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the faculty director of the CLMS program, and the director of the Computational Linguistics Laboratory. I am the current Chair (2016-2017) of the Executive Board of NAACL as well as a member of the ICCL (the committee responsible for Coling). Prior to coming to UW, I held temporary positions at Stanford University and UC Berkeley, and worked in industry at YY Technologies. I received my PhD from the Linguistics Department at Stanford University, where I joined the HPSG and LinGO projects at CSLI. My AB (also in Linguistics) is from UC Berkeley, and I've also studied at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. In 2012, LINGUIST List asked me to write an essy about how I came to be a linguist. My Erdős number is 4.



PhD Students

MA/MS Students

PhDs completed

MAs completed

MSs completed


Last modified: 3/21/16