Date(s) - 05/20/2022
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Please use this zoom link for the event.


Please join us for a UW Data Science Seminar event on Friday, May 20th from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. PDT. The seminar will feature Mark Liberman, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Arts & Sciences.

This open lecture is co-sponsored by the eSciences Institute and the Department of Linguistics, and is part of the Studies in the History of the English Language Conference. Learn more about the conference at

The event will be held in the UW Student Union Building (HUB 250) and online. There will be a catered reception in HUB 250 following the lecture.

“Historical Trends in English Sentence Length & Syntactic Complexity”

Abstract: It’s easy to perceive clear historical trends in sentence length and the depth of clausal embedding in published English text. And those perceptions can easily be verified quantitatively. Or can they? The answer depends on several prior questions: What is a sentence? What is the boundary between syntactic structure and discourse structure? How is message structure encoded in speech versus in text? This presentation will survey the issues, look at data, and suggest some answers – or at least some fruitful directions for future work.

Biography: Mark Liberman (University of Pennsylvania) is Christopher H. Browne Professor of Linguistics, and also a professor in Computer and Information Sciences. His recent work has focused on corpus-based methods, with applications to legal, medical, educational, and political analysis and linguistic theory. He is the founder and director of the Linguistic Data Consortium, and co-editor of the Annual Review of Linguistics.

The UW Data Science Seminar is an annual lecture series at the University of Washington that hosts scholars working across applied areas of data science, such as the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts along with methodological areas in data science, such as computer science, applied math and statistics. Our presenters come from all domain fields and include occasional external speakers from regional partners, governmental agencies and industry.

The 2021-2022 seminars will be both in-person and virtual, and are free and open to the public.