Julie Sedivy, PhD

032 Lost Heritage Language

Julie Sedivy is a hybrid academic and writer who is obsessed with language in all its facets.

On her way to a conventional writing career, she was sidelined by taking a linguistics course, which introduced her to the scientific study of language. This proved too much to resist. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Rochester, where she was involved in pioneering research using eye movements to study spoken language comprehension. She subsequently joined the faculty at Brown University for twelve years, and has published more than thirty scientific articles on language and the mind.

But on her way to a conventional academic career, a funny thing happened: she indulged in some non-academic writing, and this, too, proved too much to resist. She now spends much of her time writing for general audiences, often on themes relating to language. She is the lead author of the popular science book Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You, and has written for publications such as Nautilus, Scientific American, Discover, and the popular blog Language Log. In addition to writing for general audiences, she works with scientist authors to help make their work accessible and riveting to normal people. You can learn more about Julie on her website.

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