Allyson Ettinger



I am a computational linguist, addressing research problems on language in humans and machines. I have training in linguistics, cognitive neuroscience of language, and applied natural language processing (NLP), which I use to bridge research in these domains.

In my research I do a combination of computational psycholinguistic modeling and NLP. My cross-disciplinary training allows me to bring computational tools and methods from NLP to the modeling of human language processing, and to bring theoretical and analytical insights from linguistics and cognitive neuroscience to the development of NLP systems.

I am committed to building closer connections between linguistics, NLP, and cognitive neuroscience of language so that advances in each can benefit the others. To this end, I collaborate broadly across these domains, teach interdisciplinary courses for students in these fields, have an active role in interdisciplinary community building with the Maryland Language Science Center, and have helped to organize initiatives like the Workshop on Building Linguistically Generalizable NLP Systems, that bring together linguists and computer scientists.


I am a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park. I work with Colin Phillips and Philip Resnik, in addition to collaborations with numerous faculty and students across the linguistics and computer science departments. I am an active member of the Maryland Language Science Center.

Starting with a background in linguistics and cognitive neuroscience, I undertook a rapid computational conversion when I became fascinated by the problem of language processing in machines, and how this enterprise can connect with research on language in humans.

Before joining the community at the University of Maryland, I spent two years conducting neurolinguistic MEG research with Alec Marantz in the Neuroscience of Language Lab at NYU.

I have lived in China twice, and am fluent in Mandarin. My second time in China consisted of a year of graduate-level study in Mandarin.

I graduated from Brandeis University in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in linguistics and psychology.


Dec 5: Gave an interview with the NLP Highlights podcast about our Workshop on Building Linguistically Generalizable NLP Systems.

Nov 17: Gave a talk at the JHU Computational Psycholinguistics Lab.

Nov 10: Presented in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language lab meeting at UMD Linguistics.

Sept 21: Gave a talk in the Language Science Lunch Talk series at UMD.

Sept 8: Co-organized the first Workshop on Building Linguistically Generalizable NLP Systems and associated Build It, Break It: The Language Edition shared task, hosted at EMNLP 2017.

Jul 31: Co-chaired the ACL Student Research Workshop 2017, which took place in Vancouver.

Feb 27-Mar 3: Traveled to Sendai, Japan to give two invited talks at Tohoku University.