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Charles Reiss

Professor, Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics

Professor of Linguistics and Founding Member, Concordia Centre for Cognitive Science

Charles Reiss

I am a theroretical linguist. I focus on phonology. I tend to work on very narrow issues, but I like to wax philosophical about their implications for linguistics and cognitive science. Mark Hale and I coined the term “substance free phonology” to characterize the formal approach to phonology that you can read about in my books with Mark Hale (2008) and with Alan Bale (2018), and recent work with Veno Volenec. I don’t focus on any particular languages—one is as good as another for my purposes. My favorite course to teach at Concordia is Language and Mind: The Chomskyan Program—I like the idea of making 100 naive students learn about negative polarity items, the cognitive revolution, vowel harmony, finite state machines, unconscious knowledge and ergativity. The text I use is my book with Dana Isac (2008/2013). I sometimes give short courses abroad, for example at the EGG school and at Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea.


PhD in Linguistics, Harvard University (1995)
MA in Linguistics, Harvard University (1989)
BA in Mathematics, Swarthmore College (1985)

Research and teaching interests

Language and Mind
Cognitive Science
Historical Linguistics
Language Acquisition

Teaching activities

Recent courses

  • Language and Mind: The Chomskyan Program
  • Phonology
  • Linguistics and Cognitive Science
  • Advanced Phonology
  • Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar

Selected publications

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