John McCarthy
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Linguistics
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003 USA

Office: South College 226
Phone: (413) 545-6830
Fax: (413) 545-2792


My current CV is available here.

My publications and manuscripts are available here, organized chronologically.

My teaching evaluations are here. Materials from external courses can be found there as well, but unfortunately materials from UMass courses are password-protected on an LMS.

Research and teaching, in brief

I work in phonological theory and allied fields. My recent research deals with a range of issues arising in and around Optimality Theory, particularly the variety of OT known as Harmonic Serialism. In the past, my research in OT has dealt with topics like the nature of markedness constraints, the difference between gradience and categoricality, phonological opacity, and the role of morphological paradigms in phonology. Before that, I published articles on topics like the phonetics and phonology of pharyngeal consonants in Semitic, vowel harmony in northwestern Spain, the Obligatory Contour Principle and the nature of geminates, reduplication/phonology interactions, morphological templates, and the nature of faithfulness constraints. My research is often informed by evidence drawn form the Semitic languages.

My teaching activities include the full range of graduate and undergraduate courses in phonology as well as Linguistics 101 a large introductory lecture course. (Most recent enrollment: 350.) I recently published a textbook, Doing Optimality Theory. Like my colleagues, I spend a great deal of time working one-on-one with graduate students. See my CV for information about students I've advised in the past.

Professional history, in brief

Born Medford, Massachusetts, 1953. Native speaker of the Boston dialect. Some interesting contrasts (.wav files):
The ShahR accords with his view vs. The Shah Records Radio Tehran. Say "saTin" now. vs. Say "SaTurn" now.

A.B. summa cum laude 1975, Harvard University, linguistics and Near Eastern Languages.
Ph.D. 1979, MIT, linguistics.

Taught at UT Austin 1979-1984.
Joined UMass Amherst faculty in 1985. Professor since 1989, department head 1993-96 and 2010-.
Taught at 1987, 1991, 1997, and 2005 LSA Summer Institutes.
Consultant (1984-1986) at Department of Linguistics and AI Research, AT&T Bell Laboratories

Honors and Awards
Distinguished Teaching Award, 2009.
Distinguished University Professor, 2007.
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005.
University Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, 2005.
Chancellors Medal and Distinguished Faculty Lecture, 2004.
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1992-93.

Last revised  November 5, 2009.