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John R Ross

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Doctoral advisor
Noam Chomsky

John Ross

Notable students
Richard Kayne

John R. Ross
May 7, 1938 Boston, Massachusetts (

Syntax, Generative grammar, Generative semantics, Poetics

University of North Texas, MIT

Alma mater
MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Yale

Known for
islands, pied piping, sluicing, "squib"

John Robert "Haj" Ross (born May 7, 1938) is a linguist who played a part in the development of generative semantics (as opposed to interpretive semantics) along with George Lakoff, James D. McCawley, and Paul Postal. Ross was a student of Bernard Bloch, Samuel Martin and Rulon Wells at Yale University, Zellig Harris, Henry Hiz, Henry Hoenigswald and Franklin Southworth at the University of Pennsylvania, and Roman Jakobson, Noam Chomsky, Morris Halle, Paul Postal, Edward Klima and Hu Matthews at MIT.

Ross met Lakoff in 1963 and began collaborating with him especially on work by and influenced by Postal. He was a professor of linguistics at MIT from 1966–1985 and has worked in Brazil, Singapore and British Columbia. He is currently at the University of North Texas. His class offerings there include Linguistics and Literature, Syntax, Field Methods, History of English, Metaphor and Semantics; he also oversees U.N.T.'s Doctorate in Poetics program.

Ross's 1967 MIT dissertation is a landmark in syntactic theory and documents in great detail Ross's discovery of islands. Ross is also well known for his onomastic fecundity; he has coined many new terms describing syntactic phenomena that are well-known to this day, including copula switch, Do-Gobbling, freeze(s), gapping, heavy NP shift, (inner) islands, myopia, the penthouse principle, pied piping, pruning, scrambling, siamese sentences. sluicing, slifting, sloppy identity, sounding, squib, squishes, viability, and syntactic islands. Relating to syntactic islands, he also coined the terms "left-branch condition", "complex-np constraint", "coordinate structure constraint", and "sentential subject constraint". In phonology, he suggested the term conspiracy to Charles Kisseberth.

Like Roman Jakobson, Ross analyzes poetry using linguistics (see poetics).


John R. Ross Wikipedia