Joan Wanda Bresnan
(born August 22, 1945) is Professor of Linguistics
at Stanford University
. She is best known as one of the architects (with Ronald Kaplan
) of the theoretical framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar
Bresnan earned her doctorate in linguistics in 1972 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
, where she studied with Noam Chomsky
. In the early and mid 1970s, her work focused on complementation and wh-movement
constructions within transformational grammar
, and she frequently took positions at odds with those espoused by Chomsky.
Her dissatisfaction with transformational grammar led her to collaborate with Kaplan on a new theoretical framework, Lexical-Functional Grammar (or LFG). A volume of papers written in the new framework and edited by Bresnan, entitled The Mental Representation of Grammatical Relations
, appeared in 1982. Since then, Bresnan's work has focused on LFG analyses of various phenomena, primarily in English, Bantu languages
, and Australian languages
. She has also worked on analyses in optimality theory
, and has pursued statistical approaches to linguistics. She has a strong interest in linguistic typology
, which has influenced the development of LFG.
Joan Bresnan was honored in August 2005 with a festschrift entitled Architectures, Rules, and Preferences: A Festschrift for Joan Bresnan
, to be published by CSLI Publications.