Carol Neidle

Professor of Linguistics and French
Chair, Linguistics
Carol Neidle
Office phone: 617-353-6218
Fax: 617-358-4641
Office number: Linguistics 101
Office address: Linguistics, 621 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Office hours: Fall 2018: TW 2-3, R 11-12; or
Schedule an Appointment :

or send email

BA, Yale College
MA, Middlebury College
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Neidle teaches courses in general linguistics and French linguistics. Her research interests include syntactic theory and the syntactic structure of American Sign Language (ASL).

Professor Neidle is the Director of the American Sign Language Linguistic Research Project (ASLLRP). Funding from the NSF supports linguistic research on the syntactic structure of ASL, development of computational tools (including SignStream®, a MacOS application) to facilitate analysis of signed language and gesture, and collaborative research with computer scientists interested in the problem of sign language recognition. Through our National Center for Sign Language and Gesture Resources, several different types of experimental resources and analyzed data are made publicly available.

New software releases: We have recently released: (1) a new Java version of SignStream®, for linguistic annotation and analysis of video data; and (2) a new version of our Web-based Data Access Interface (DAI 2). Both of these tools include substantially expanded functionality relative to the previous versions and will allow access to a large new collection of linguistically annotated American Sign Language (ASL) data, the ASLLRP SignStream® 3 Corpus. DAI 2 also provides access to our new ASLLRP Sign Bank.

See this page for information about this research. Publications include The Syntax of American Sign Language: Functional Categories and Hierarchical Structure (MIT Press) and The Role of Case in Russian Syntax (Dordrecht: Kluwer).

Ongoing research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation: a grant of >$300K to Boston University (Carol Neidle, PI) for "Scalable Integration of Data-Driven and Model-Based Methods for Large Vocabulary Sign Recognition and Search," running from 8/1/18 through 7/31/21. This project is a collaboration with Dimitris Metaxas, PI at Rutgers University, and Matt Huenerfauth, PI at RIT.


Fall 2018

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

GRS LX 673

The Structure of French: Phonology

web A1 Neidle TR 9:30-10:45 CAS 208
(Conducted in French) The sound system of standard French, with exploration of dialect variation in France, Canada, and other Francophone regions of the world. Questions about mental representation of linguistic information, processes of word formation, and language variation and change. Students discover linguistic regularities through frequent problem sets.
  • Learn how different sounds are produced, and how they fit into the overall phonological system of the French language.
  • Discover ways in which your own pronunciation of French may deviate from that of native speakers, to improve your pronunciation.
  • Explore the kinds of phonological changes have occurred in the evolution of French, as well as the kinds of phonological differences that account for dialectal variations.
  • Reflect upon questions concerning the mental representation of linguistic information, and formulate and evaluate arguments in favor of specific hypotheses.
[Prereq: One French course at the CAS LF 300 level or higher, and CAS LX 250 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. ]
[Meets with CAS LX 373; Also offered as CAS LF 503; Previously offered as CAS LF 503 "The Structure of French: Phonology"]

Spring 2019 (tentative)

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

A1 Neidle TR 2-3:15 TBA
Study of the fundamental properties that all languages share, and of how languages differ, with respect to structure (sound system, word formation, syntax), expression of meaning, acquisition, variation, and change; cultural and artistic uses of languages; comparison of oral, written, and signed languages. [Prereq: none]
  • Students signing up for CAS LX 250 A1 should also sign up for one of the Friday discussion sections.
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Scientific Inquiry I
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking