Eastern Michigan University
direct edit

Helen Aristar-Dry


Helen Aristar-Dry 612S Pray-Harrold




PhD, University of Texas, 1975

Interests and Expertise

Computer applications in linguistics; text & corpus linguistics, especially authorship attribution; linguistic stylistics; discourse analysis


LING 201 Introduction to Linguistics
LING 340 Language and Culture
LING 434 The Linguistic Analysis of Literature
LING 501 Current Trends: Pragmatics and Written Texts
LING 535 Discourse Analysis

Recent Publications and Presentations

"Using Computers in Linguistics: A Practical Guide," 1998

"Electronic Corpora of Endangered Languages," 1999.

"Craft Talk: Forensic Linguistics," 1999

"Computational and Traditional Stylistics," 1998

"Authorship Attribution and Corpus Linguists," 1997


For many years after my Ph.D., I concentrated on the linguistic analysis of literary style, but in the last few years I have begun to work with nonliterary texts as well. I've become very interested in the computational analysis of texts, particularly in authorship attribution, and in linguistic applications of Internet technology. Related to the computational analysis of text, one of the most interesting things I do is occasionally to serve as an expert witness in lawcases which turn on the question of plagiarism. The experience has been so intriguing that I have spoken on "The Linguist as Expert Witness" in a number of venues.

I also have an acute interest in computer applications in linguistics, which has grown out of my work as Moderator of The LINGUIST List, a website and e-mail discussion list for academic linguists. The LINGUIST List is rapidly becoming the equivalent of a small business, complete with staff of 12, 5 Sun servers, clients and advertisers (in our case, book publishers), and 15,500 subscribers from 103 countries around the world.

LINGUIST work is very rewarding, because of the interesting discussions, the professional contacts, and the feeling that we are making a contribution to the discipline. In the past 8 years, LINGUIST has been the recipient of 6 NSF grants, totalling over 3 million dollars, to explore ways that Internet technology can be deployed to support an academic discipline. Our latest grant (EMELD: Electronic Metastructure for Endangered Languages Data) will make EMU a repository of digitized information on endangered languages, as well as the "union catalog" of all the language-related resources on the Internet.

LINGUIST could not exist without its outstanding crew of graduate students; and, thanks to the generous donations of our subscribers, we are able to fund several LINGUIST List assistantships for graduate students. If you might be interested in working for LINGUIST, please let me know.

And if there is anything I can do to forward your student career, don't hesitate to ask. We try to make the EMU linguistics program genuinely student-centered. And I, like all of the other linguistics faculty, will be happy to help or advise you in any way that I can.