Jesse Harris

Jesse Harris

Associate Professor of Linguistics



I am an associate professor at UCLA in the Department of Linguistics, and director of the UCLA Language Processing Lab. My research investigates how language users develop a sufficiently rich linguistic meaning during online comprehension. Recent topics include the processing of ellipsis and the assignment of focus, as well as the role of other semantic, pragmatic, and prosodic defaults in sentence interpretation.

I am committed to using experimental methods in my research, including Internet based questionnaires, corpora, and online methods such as self-paced reading and eye tracking. See this page for a description of the various methods and data collection tools used in the lab.

Before UCLA, I was an assistant professor at Pomona College, in the Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science.

I am an organizer for the California Meeting on Psycholinguistics (CAMP), and hosted the inaugural meeting at UCLA in 2017. CAMP 2018 was held at the University of Southern California. CAMP 2019 was held at UC Santa Cruz. CAMP 2021 will be held virtually at UC Irvine.

Finally, I regularly participate in the Psycholinguistics / Neurolinguistics Seminar; the current schedule may be found here.


  • Psycholinguistics
  • Experimental Linguistics
  • Formal semantics and pragmatics
  • Ellipsis structures
  • Focus and information structure
  • Eye movements while reading


  • PhD in Linguistics, 2012

    UMass Amherst

  • MSc in Logic, 2007

    University of Amsterdam

  • MA in Linguistics, 2003

    University of Chicago

  • BA in Linguistics, 2003

    University of Chicago

Research interests

How does the language processing system make efficient use of multiple sources of information to produce a sufficiently rich representation? What information may go underspecified? How does grammatical knowledge constrain representations considered during online sentence processing?

For more details, please refer to this overview of my research agenda or my cv. Ongoing research is also described on the UCLA Language Processing Lab page.


Recent Publications

Search for content by filtering publications.
(2021). Extended perspective shift and discourse economy in language processing. Frontiers - Special issue on Perspective Taking in Language.


(2021). Adaptation to Atypical Contrastive Accent: The L2 Advantage. BUCLD 45: Proceedings of the 45th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Medford, MA: Cascadilla Press.


(2021). Contextual constraint and lexical competition: Revisiting biased misperception during reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.


(2021). Acceptability Judgments at the Syntax­-Semantics Interface. To appear in Grant Goodall (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Syntax.


(2020). Learning to Anticipate Contrast with Prosody: A Visual World Study with L2 Learners. Proceedings of the 10th Speech Prosody International Conference.



Recent and upcoming

Learning to anticipate with unconventional prosodic mappings: The L2 advantage

Effects of morphological identity and voice mismatch in VP ellipsis

Learning to anticipate contrast with prosody: A visual world study with L2 learners

Disambiguating stripping ellipsis in Persian: How parallelism and locality interact

Morphological identity and voice mismatch in VP ellipsis: An interference-based account


Courses for 2020-2021

Spring 2021. Language Processing [Ling 132]

Course description:

Psycholinguistics is a relatively young, but rapidly growing, discipline that addresses how language might be realized as a component within the general cognitive system, and how language is comprehended, produced, and represented in memory. It is an interdisciplinary effort, drawing on research and techniques from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and computer science, and utilizes a variety of methods to investigate the underlying representations and mechanisms that are involved in linguistic computations.

This course concentrates on (i) uncovering and characterizing the subsystems that account for linguistic performance, (ii) exploring how such subsystems interact, and whether they interact within a fixed order, and (iii) investigating how the major linguistic subsystems relate to more general cognitive mechanisms.

Spring 2021. Topics course: Proseminar on Modification and Subjectivity [Ling 254]

Course description:

In this course, we will sample the vast (and rapidly growing) literature on modification. Long central to semantic theory, the issue has been addressed far less experimentally We’ll take a tour through key issues in how contextual information and subjective standards influence the interpretation of the thing modified. As context and subjectivity arguably pervade many levels of language, we’ll adopt a strategy of constraining our attention to items that encode or otherwise involve the calculation of contextual standards / perspective within local computation, primarily adjective-noun combinations. Much of the course will concentrate on predicates of personal taste, expressives and epithets. We will engage both theoretical and experimental literature throughout the course.

Courses taught at UCLA


  • LING 120C: Semantics I
  • LING 132: Language Processing


  • Ling 207: Pragmatic Theory
  • Ling 239: Research Design and Statistical Methods
  • LING 252: Topics in Semantics
    • Fall 2016: Focus in Meaning and Experimentation
  • LING 254: Topics in Linguistics
    • Winter 2015: Evaluating perspective in meaning and discourse
    • Fall 2017: Implicit prosody and sentence processing
    • Spring 2021: Modification and subjectivity
  • LING 264: Psycholinguistics / Neurolingusitics Seminar


Eye tracking corpora and tools

Los Angeles Reading Corpus of Individual Differences

The Los Angeles Reading Corpus of Individual Differences (LARCID) is a corpus of natural reading and individual differences measures. The corpus is currently a feasibility pilot of eye tracking data collected from 15 readers. Five texts from public domain sources were included. In addition to the eye tracking measures, a battery of individual difference measures, along with basic demographic information, was collected in a separate session. Individual difference measures included the Rapid Automatized Naming, Reading Span, N-Back, and Raven’s Progressive Matrices tasks.

Pilot data, write up, and R-markdown files can be found on this Open Science Framework page. Comments welcome!


Robodoc is a Python program that automatically cleans eye tracking data of blinks and track losses. This new version improves usability and command line options. Learn more about this handy code here.

Corpus tools

Embedded appositives corpus

The Embedded Appositives Corpus is an annotated collection of 278 sentences containing appositives embedded syntactically in the complement of propositional attitude predicates and verbs of saying, drawn from 177 million words of novels, newspaper articles, and TV transcripts. Intended to inform work on appositives, conventional implicatures, and textual entailment. Includes a Javascript interface, an XML corpus, and a short write-up describing the data and their theoretical relevance.

NPR Corpus scraper

THE NPR Corpus scraper is a collection of Python programs built to crawl NPR and download transcripts into XML format, with links to audio files of radio interviews into a directory. It can be tweaked to crawl other news sites. Note: this tool requires a working knowledge of Python. To be posted with instructions soon!

The script downloads the Linguist List job posting archives for the years specified below. After some reformatting, it removes all but tenture track job postings and categorizes the jobs according to keywords listed in the posting. The method for categorization largely follows previous efforts; see the Language Log postings on the 2008 data, 2009 data, and 2009-2012 data.

A fully executable R Markdown tutorial is hosted on github. To clone with git into a folder called scrape, run this command from the terminal:

git clone scrape

Odds and ends


Simple to the point of trivial, this Ruby program writes results from Linger’s .dat files to a single file with the experiment name automatically appended along with the number of subjects run. Primarily for command line phobics. If Ruby is installed on Windows, simply place in the same folder as your .dat files, and then double click on the icon to run. Also works with Mac and Linux.



  • 2226 Campbell Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
  • Located on the second floor of Campbell Hall
  • Office hours to resume on Zoom in Fall 2020