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Professor of French and Linguistics

Director of the Linguistics Program at Boston University

See Carol Neidle's BU Profile Page


 Phone: (617) 353-6218


  Map and directions
  621 Commonwealth Avenue, room 101
  Boston, MA 02215


For OFFICE HOURS and information about academic programs and teaching, see


SignStream® version 3 is now available !

There is also a Beta release of our new Data Access Interface: DAI 2



  Syntax and syntactic theories, with a focus on American Sign Language, Russian, and French


  Director, American Sign Language Linguistic Research Project (ASLLRP), a collaborative project encompassing the following subprojects funded by grants from the National Science Foundation:

New software releases in 2017: A new Java version of SignStream®, for linguistic annotation and analysis of video data, was released in August 2017, with release of a new version of our Web-based Data Access Interface (DAI 2) in fall 2017. Both of these tools include substantially expanded functionality relative to the previous versions, and the DAI 2 allows access to a large new collection of linguistically annotated American Sign Language (ASL) data.


The Architecture of Functional Categories in American Sign Language

Investigation of the syntactic structure of ASL, with particular emphasis on the hierarchical representation of functional categories and on the manual and non-manual expressions of grammatical information.


SignStream®: A Multimedia Tool for Sign Language Research

Development of a computer program designed to facilitate linguistic analysis of video-based language data; SignStream allows simultaneous access to raw video data and to representations of those data in linguistically useful formats and is distributed on a non-profit basis to students, educators, and researchers.

SignStream® version 3 is now available !


Essential Tools for Computational Research on Visual-Gestural Language Data

Collaboration with Stan Sclaroff in Computer Science at BU.

This project involves a Java reimplementation of SignStream to include tools for efficient data entry of fine-grained phonological information and integration of information provided by computer algorithms, among other new features. Machine vision-based algorithms for semi-automation of several aspects of the transcription process will also be developed.


National Center for Sign Language and Gesture Resources

Collaboration between Boston University (the ASLLRP and Stan Sclaroff's Image and Video Computing Group) and Rutgers University (Dimitris Metaxas).


The goal of this project is to make available several different types of experimental resources and analyzed data to facilitate linguistic and computational research on signed languages and the gestural components of spoken languages.


Pattern Discovery in Signed Languages and Gestural Communication


Collaboration with Margrit Betke, George Kollios, and Stan Sclaroff in Computer Science at BU.

Pattern analysis algorithms are being developed for discovery of the co-occurrence, overlap, relative timing, frequency, and magnitude of non-manual gestures in ASL.


ITR-Collaborative Research: Advances in recognition and interpretation of human motion: An Integrated Approach to ASL Recognition


Collaboration with Dimitris Metaxas, Ahmed Elgammal and Vladimir Pavlovic (Rutgers University) and Christian Vogler (Gallaudet University)

This project focuses on integration of information (which is linguistically essential) from both the manual and non-manual channels for purposes of computer-based sign language recognition.
Large Lexicon Gesture Representation, Recognition, and Retrieval

Collaboration with Stan Sclaroff (BU Computer Science) and Vassilis Athitsos (University of Texas at Arlington)


One goal of the research is development of a "look-up" capability, whereby a signer can produce a sign in front of a camera, or identify a sign in a video, and have the computer identify which sign it is. One application of this technology would be an interface for a multi-media sign language dictionary.

bullet Linguistically Based ASL Sign Recognition as a Structured Multivariate Learning Problem
  Collaboration with Rutgers University (D. Metaxas)
bullet Generating Accurate, Understandable Sign Language Animations Based on Analysis of Human Signing
  Collaboration with Rutgers University (D. Metaxas) and CUNY Queens/RIT (M. Huenerfauth)
bullet Development of Publicly Available, Easily Searchable, Linguistically Analyzed, Video Corpora for Sign Language and Gesture Research
  Collaboration among Boston University (C. Neidle, S. Sclaroff), Rutgers University (D. Metaxas), Gallaudet University (B. Bahan, C. Vogler) and U. Texas Arlington (V. Athitsos)
bullet EAGER: Collaborative Research: Data Visualizations for Linguistically Annotated, Publicy Shared, Video Corpora for American Sign Langauge (ASL)
  Collaboration with Rutgers University (D. Metaxas)

  Related to American Sign Language

Neidle et al. book jacket

Carol Neidle, Judy Kegl, Dawn MacLaughlin, Benjamin Bahan, and Robert G. Lee (2000) The Syntax of American Sign Language: Functional Categories and Hierarchical Structure. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Other Publications include:

Carol Neidle (1988) The Role of Case in Russian Syntax. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Carol Neidle (1982) "Case Agreement in Russian." Chapter 6 in J. Bresnan (ed), The Mental Representation of Grammatical Relations. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Carol Neidle and Rafael A. Nunez Cedeno (eds) (1987) Linguistic Studies in Romance Languages. Dordrecht: Foris Publications.

Carol Neidle (1994) "Lexical Functional Grammar." In The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. New York: Pergamon Press, 2147-2153. Reprinted in K. Brown and J. Miller (eds) (1996) Concise Encyclopedia of Syntactic Theories. Oxford: Elsevier.

See this article in pdf or download a postscript version.

Joyce Friedman and Carol Neidle (1986) Phonological Analysis for French Dictation: Preliminaries to an Intelligent Tutoring System. Boston University Computer Science Technical Report #86-004, April 1986.


Aarons, Debra (1994) Aspects of the Syntax of American Sign Language. Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.

Current position: Lecturer and Postgraduate Coursework Coordinator, Department of Linguistics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Previously, she held a tenured position as Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa,
where she founded the first academic program on South African Sign Language in the country.

Some recent publications - listed here


Bahan, Benjamin (1996) Non-Manual Realization of Agreement in American Sign Language. Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.

Professor, Department of Deaf Studies, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC. (Chair, Department of Deaf Studies, 1996-2002)


Cahana-Amitay, Dalia (1997) Syntactic Aspects of the Production of Verbal Inflection in Aphasia. Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.

Current position: Research Assistant Professor of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
Previous position: Assistant Professor, Department of English, Beit Berl Academic College, Kfar Sabba, Israel

Some recent publications - listed here


Law, Sam-Po (1990) The Syntax and Phonology of Cantonese Sentence-Final Particles. Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.

Professor and Head of Division, Dept.of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong.
Director, Aphasia, dyslexia and dysgraphia laboratory.

Some recent publications - listed here



MacLaughlin, Dawn (1997) The Structure of Determiner Phrases: Evidence from American Sign Language. Doctoral dissertation, Boston University, Boston, MA.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, McGill University, 2000-2001.

Some publications

MacLaughlin, D. (1995). Language Acquisition and the Subset Principle. The Linguistic Review, 12, 143-191.

MacLaughlin, D. (1998). The acquisition of the morphosyntax of English reflexives by non-native speakers. In M.-L. Beck, ed., Morphology and its interfaces in second language knowledge (pp. 195-226). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.



  Academic Affiliations

Professor of French and Linguistics, Boston University, Boston, MA (2001-  )
Director of the Linguistics Program

Associate Professor of French and Linguistics, Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Boston University, Boston, MA (1987-2001).

Assistant Professor of French and Linguistics, Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Boston University (1982-1987).

Director, Ph.D. Program in Applied Linguistics, Boston University (1988-1994).

Faculty Advisor for the Boston University Conference on Language Development (1988-1994).

Faculty Member, Middlebury College French School, Summers of 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988.



Ph.D. in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA, 1983.
Dissertation supervisor: Joan Bresnan

M.A. in French, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, 1978.

B.A. in Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1978.



American Sign Language Linguistic Research Project picture of Carol Neidle with Aleka Blackwell

More information about the program in Linguistics at Boston University



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