Honors & Awards

Beth Levin

Beth Levin

BETH LEVIN, the William H. Bonsall Professor in the Humanities, has been named a 2008 fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. As a Guggenheim fellow, Levin will explore cross-linguistic variation in event encoding.

Levin investigates how we convey "who does what to whom" when we describe an event. She offers an example: Why is it that you can spray a wall with paint or spray paint on a wall, but although you can cover a wall with paint, you cannot cover paint on a wall? This research requires developing models of verb meaning, as verbs are the main words used to describe events. Her previous research focused primarily on English, and the Guggenheim fellowship will allow her to extend her investigations to other languages by asking why languages show both similarities and differences in how they describe events.

Levin earned her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 and then spent four years at the MIT Center for Cognitive Science, where she had major responsibility for the Lexicon Project. From 1987 to 1999, she was a professor in the Department of Linguistics at Northwestern University. She joined the Stanford Department of Linguistics in September 1999 and was department chair from 2003 to 2007. In 1999-2000, she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.