Mark Aronoff spent the first twenty years of his life in Montreal and came to the United States to pursue graduate studies. He is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at Stony Brook University, where he has spent his entire academic career studying the structure of words. His research has concentrated on fundamental theoretical questions in linguistic morphology, with data drawn from a wide array of languages. His work employs an unusually broad array of methods, from traditional morphological analysis to psycholinguistic experiments to statistical and computational studies of dictionaries, corpora, and web-based material. In addition to numerous articles, he has published two monographs that have had substantial influence on morphological theory and two widely used textbooks.
Dr. Aronoff was introduced to sign language in the mid 1990s, having been persuaded that sign languages could shed light on core questions of morphology. He has collaborated continuously since then with Wendy Sandler, Irit Meir, and Carol Padden. Their work on the emergence of structure in Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language has gained wide attention. He has also continued to work in morphological theory and the two strands have informed each other deeply and intimately. His major theoretical concern for the last half-decade has been the role of self-organization and cultural evolution in the emergence of linguistic systems, both in sign languages and in languages more generally.
Dr. Aronoff is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. In 2013 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation Center, Bellagio. He has served as President of the Linguistic Society of America and Chair of the section on linguistics and language sciences of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Aronoff has held numerous editorial positions, most notably Editor of Language and (currently) Editor in Chief of both The Oxford Bibliography of Linguistics and The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics.