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Mark Baker


Mark Baker is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University.  He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1985 from MIT.  He taught at McGill University in Montreal for 12 years before moving to Rutgers in 1998.  He specializes in the syntax and morphology of less-studied languages, particularly those of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. He seeks to bring together generative-style theories, data collected from fieldwork on diverse languages, and typological comparison in a way that illuminates all three–an approach sometimes called Formal Generative Typology.  One of his mottos is “Languages are all the same — but not boringly so.”  Another is “The more languages differ, the more they are the same.” He has written five research monographs, numerous journal articles, and one book for a popular audience (The Atoms of Language, 2001). He is also interested in studying the human mind, including the possibility of nonbiological, dualistic approaches.

For a more extended and personal autobiographical statement “How I became a linguist – and why I remain one”, click here.

Awards & Distinctions

  • Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America

    Elected 2021

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Elected 2007

  • Board of Governors Prize for Excellence in Research, Rutgers University

    Awarded 2008

  • Sabbatical fellowship from the American Philosophical Society

    Awarded 2005

  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences



  • Spring 2022: Sabbatical leave
  • Fall 2021: Syntax Seminar (Graduate)