Gregory Ward Professor of Linguistics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy

Gregory Ward received his BA in Comparative Literature and Linguistics (with honors) from the University of California-Berkeley in 1978, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. He has been at Northwestern since 1986 and is currently Professor of Linguistics (having served as Department Chair from 1999-2004). In addition, Ward is a member of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Philosophy. Ward's primary research area is discourse/pragmatics (the study of contextual meaning), with specific interests in pragmatic theory, information structure, intonational meaning, and reference/anaphora.

He has published over 80 papers (including 4 books) and given over 150 talks and presentations. Recent publications have investigated deferred reference, event anaphora (with Andrew Kehler), functional compositionality (with Betty J. Birner and Jeffrey Kaplan), and generalized conversational implicature and the semantics-pragmatics boundary (with a research team). With Birner, he co-authored Information Status and Noncanonical Word Order in English (Benjamins, 1998). With Laurence Horn, he co-edited Blackwell's The Handbook of Pragmatics (Blackwell 2004), and with Birner, he is co-editor of Drawing the Boundaries of Meaning: Neo-Gricean Studies in Pragmatics and Semantics in Honor of Laurence R. Horn (Benjamins 2006). From 1986 to 1998, Ward was a consultant at AT&T Labs – Research, working on intonational meaning. He was co-PI on an NIH grant (1991-1996) to study sentence processing and was on an NSF grant (2003-2007) to study dialogue prosody for voice response systems. In 2004-05, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and from 2004-2007 he served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). In 2009, Ward was elected a Fellow of the LSA.

He currently serves on five editorial boards. At Northwestern, Ward teaches courses in pragmatic theory (Reference, LING 371; Pragmatics, LING 372; Implicature, LING 373), experimental methods (Experimental Pragmatics, LING 317), and gender and sexuality studies (Language & Gender, GSS 234; Language & Sexuality, LING 327).  In 2012, Ward received the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. 

Courses Taught

  • Reference, LING 371
  • Pragmatics, LING 372
  • Implicature, LING 373
  • Experimental Pragmatics, LING 317
  • Language & Gender, GSS 234
  • Language & Sexuality, LING 327