Ellen Lau

I’m an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program at the University of Maryland. I serve as the Co-Director of the KIT-Maryland MEG Lab and collaborate with the Maryland Language Science Center. 

PhD students interested in working with me can apply through the Linguistics PhD program or the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) PhD program.

The last few years have given me more time to think, and my thinking about the sentence comprehension problem has changed in ways that aren’t yet reflected in my published work. I’m still interested in figuring out the mental algorithms and neural implementation, but I now think that this will particularly depend on (a) a serious understanding of the non-linguistic systems we have for representing knowledge of the world, which predate language (b) giving up the implicit assumption in our theories that linguistic knowledge is centered around a list of ‘words’ that are something close to sound-concept pairs and (c) recognizing that production and comprehension are very very far from the same computation in reverse. You can get an early glimpse of (a) and (b) in my MPI talk linked to my Publications page, and if you’re interested I might have a few more current bits I could share with you if you email me.