Judith N. Levi (Emerita)

Department of Linguistics,
Northwestern University,
2016 Sheridan Road Evanston, IL. 60208
e-mail: j-levi[at]northwestern.edu

 

German-Jewish Reconciliation

Since I took early retirement from academia in 2001, I have been actively and extensively engaged in German-Jewish dialogue, in German-Jewish reconciliation activities, and in researching the history of my family in Germany. The major creative product of these efforts has been my book manuscript, Reconciliation Odyssey: A Jew Discovers a Different Germany. It is now available in a 2016 German translation by Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag Berlin, under the title Reise der Versöhnung: Eine Jüdin entdeckt ein verändertes Deutschland. (It has not yet appeared in English.) In addition to a near-complete book manuscript on the history of my family in Germany, I have also written several essays on the themes of my book, which are listed below under "Essays" and which can be read as pdf files. I am currently giving public presentations on these subjects to synagogue, senior citizen, university student, interfaith, and other interested audiences in the US. In Germany, I give book readings and talks on related themes to both adult audiences and high-school students.

Deutsch-jüdische Versöhnung

Seit meiner Pensionierung und dem Rückzug von der Universität im Jahr 2001 engagiere ich mich sehr für den deutsch-jüdischen Dialog und für die deutsch-jüdische Versöhnung. Außerdem erforsche ich den Teil der Geschichte meiner Familie, den sie in Deutschland verbrachten. Das sichtbare Ergebnis davon ist mein Buch Reise der Versöhnung: Eine Jüdin entdeckt ein verändertes Deutschland (Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag Berlin, 2016). See: http://www.hentrichhentrich.de/buch-reise-der-versoehnung.html

2015 wurde mir das Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland verliehen in Anerkennung meiner besonderen Leistungen für die Versöhnung zwischen Deutschen und Juden.

Ich halte in den USA Vorträge über meine Erlebnisse in Deutschland unter anderem in Synagogen, vor Seniorengruppen, vor Studenten, und vor ökumenischen Gruppen. Seit 2012 halte ich auch in Deutschland  Vorträge – sowohl vor Erwachsenen als auch vor Schülern – über deutsch-jüdische Versöhnung. Ich bin dabei, eine zweisprachige Webseite (Englisch und Deutsch) aufzubauen, auf der man zusätzliche Informationen finden kann über meine Aktivitäten auf dem  Feld des deutsch-jüdischen Dialogs und der Versöhnung.

In der Zwischenzeit möchte ich auf drei relevante Essays in Deutsch von mir hinweisen:

 

Book

Reise der Versöhnung: Eine Jüdin entdeckt ein verändertes Deutschland  ("Journey of Reconciliation: A Jew Discovers a Changed Germany").  Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag Berlin, 2016.

Essays

Der Lebenslauf des letzten jüdischen Lehrers in Mayen: Albert Levi (1879-1941)
[Biography of the Last Jewish Teacher in Mayen: Albert Levi (1879-1941)] Published online by the Institut für Geschichtliche Landeskunde of the University of Mainz.

FLOWERS IN A FIELD OF ASHES [an extended version of an essay which was a finalist in Moment Magazine's 2010 memoir essay contest]

Blumen auf einem Feld von Asche [German translation by Johann Zuerner]

SONG OF PRAISE FOR MY CANTOR GRANDFATHER

SPEAKING OF TEARS, FLAMES, AND LOVE

Von Versöhnung und Vergebung: Erfahrungen und Einsichten auf dem Weg zu deutsch-jüdischer Aussöhnung [Reconciliation and Forgiveness: Experiences and Insights on My Journey to German-Jewish Reconciliation], first presented in Bad Hersfeld and Hamburg, Germany, in November/December 2013.

Honors and Awards

In 2014, the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany recognized my work in German-Jewish dialogue and reconcilation by sponsoring me for a one-week, individualized educational trip to Berlin through its Visitors Program (Besucherprogramm); the trip took place in November 2014.

In June 2015 the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Herr Joachim Gauck, awarded me the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik) "in recognition of your exceptional achievements in promoting reconciliation between the German and Jewish peoples."

Education

1975 The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Ph.D. in linguistics, 1975(Dissertation: The Syntax and Semantics of  Nonpredicating Adjectives in English)
1972 The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, M.A. in linguistics
1964 Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, B.A. in philosophy
1962-1963 Université de Besançon, Besançon (Doubs), France


Employment

2001-present Free-lance academic editor (for professors, especially in game theory)
1978-present Language consultant to attorneys and litigants
   
  Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
1985-1989

Department Chair

September 2001-present

Associate Professor Emerita

September 1979-August 2001

Associate Professor

February 1975-August 1979

Assistant Professor

September 1973-January 1975

Instructor in Linguistics

September 1972-August 1973

Lecturer in Modern Hebrew

   
  College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
1991-1994

Assistant Dean for Freshmen

1984-85

College Advisor

1980-1982

Master, Women's Studies Residential College

 

MAJOR PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS

Linguistics: syntax, lexical semantics, language and law
Language consulting: word meaning, grammatical structure, overall comprehensibility

CONSULTING ON LANGUAGE ISSUES IN LEGAL CASES

I have consulted and/or served as expert witness in over fifty cases, both civil and criminal, between 1978 and 2009, in courts in thirteen states and the District of Columbia.

In the largest number of cases, I was asked to analyze (i) the ordinary meaning of a word or phrase, and/or (ii) the syntactic (grammatical) structure of some language in dispute. Other cases required the analysis of the overall comprehensibility of a document for its intended audience; one special subset in this category involved the analysis of the overall comprehensibility of capital sentencing instructions in Illinois and Ohio. (On this latter subject, see the 1996 article in Judicature by Diamond and Levi, and the 1993 Levi article in American Speech, in the publications list below.)

ACADEMIC CONFERENCES ORGANIZED

What is Meaning in a Legal Text:  A Dialogue among Scholars of Law and Linguistics

Funded by Northwestern University and Washington University School of Law, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL March 31-April 2, 1995. The transcript of this conference was published in a special issue on law and linguistics of the Washington University Law Quarterly (Vol. 73, No. 3, Fall 1995) together with 24 articles by linguists and law professors written in response to, or as an expansion of, the themes addressed at  the conference.

Language in the Judicial Process

A national conference funded by the National Science Foundation (Program in Law and Social Science), Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. July 26-28, 1985.  (Co-organizer: Anne Graffam Walker, Georgetown University.) A collection of papers from this pathbreaking conference was published as a book under the same title, edited by the two co-organizers (Plenum Publishing, 1990).

Publications

Books Written or Edited

1 1978 The Syntax and Semantics of Complex Nominals.New York: Academic Press. [Japanese transla­tion by Shigeo Sugiura and Masaharu Katoh.  Tokyo:  Kobian Shobo, Ltd., 1983.]
2 1990 Language in the Judicial Process Co-editor (with Anne Graffam Walker). New York:  Plenum Publishing Corporation

 

SELECTED ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS: LANGUAGE AND LAW

1 1996 Improving Decisions on Death by Revising and Testing Jury Instructions (with Prof. Shari Seidman Diamond), Judicature 79:5:224-231
2 1995 'What is Meaning in a Legal Text?' A First Dialogue for Law and Linguistics.  Washington University Law Quarterly 73:3:771-783 [Introductory essay for special issue on law and linguistics]
3 1995 Regulatory Variables and Statutory Interpretation. Washington University Law Quarterly 73:3:1103-1115 [Special issue on law and linguistics] (with Prof. William N. Eskridge, Jr.).
4 1995 Bringing Linguistics into Judicial Decisionmaking:  Semantic Analysis Submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Forensic Linguistics:  The International Journal of Speech, Language, and the Law 2:1:81-98 (with Profs. Jeffrey P. Kaplan, Georgia M. Green, and Clark D. Cunningham).
5 1994 Plain Meaning and Hard Cases. Yale Law Journal 103:6:1561-1625 (with Profs. Clark D. Cunningham, Georgia M. Green, and Jeffrey P. Kaplan).
6 1994 Language as Evidence:  The Linguist as Expert Witness in North American Courts. Forensic Linguistics:  The International Journal of Speech, Language, and the Law 1:1:1-26.
7 1994 Language and Law:  A Bibliographic Guide to Social Science Research in the U.S.A.Chicago: American Bar Association.
8 1993 Evaluating Jury Comprehension of Illinois Capital Sentencing Instructions. American Speech 68:1: 20-49.
9 1990 The Study of Language in the Judicial Process. In Language in the Judicial Process, edited by Judith N. Levi and Anne Graffam Walker.  New York:  Plenum Publishing Corporation.  Pp. 3-35.
10 1989 The Invisible Network:  Contemporary Research in the U.S.A. on Language and the Legal Process. In Language and Law [Langue et Droit]:  Proceedings of the First Conference of the International Institute of Comparative Linguistic Law, edited by Paul Pupier and Jose Woehrling.  Montreal:  Wilson & Lafleur.  Pp. 519-550.
11 1986 Applications of Linguistics to the Language of Legal Interactions. In The Real-World Linguist: Linguistic Applications in the 1980s, edited by Peter C. Bjarkman and Victor Raskin.  Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex.  Pp. 230-265.

 

PROCEEDINGS AND CHAPTERS: COMPLEX NOMINALS

1 1983 Complex Nominals: New Discoveries, New Questions. In Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Linguistics (Tokyo, Japan, August 29-September 4, 1982).  Pp. 183-197.
2 1977 The Constituent Structure of Complex Nominals, or,  That's Funny, You Don't Look Like a Noun. In Papers from the Thirteenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, edited by W. A. Beach et al.  Chicago:  Chicago Linguistic Society.  Pp. 325-338.
3 1976 A Semantic Analysis of Hebrew Compound Nominals. In Studies in Modern Hebrew Syntax and Semantics edited by Peter Cole.  North-Holland Publishing Company.  Pp. 9-55.
4 1974 On the Alleged Idiosyncrasy of Nonpredicate NPs in English. In Papers from the Tenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, edited by M. W. LaGaly et al.  Chicago:  Chicago Linguistic Society.  Pp. 402-415.
5 1973 Where Do All Those Other Adjectives Come From? In Papers from the Ninth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, edited by C. Corum et al.  Chicago, IL: Chicago Linguistic Society.  Pp. 332-345.

 

PAPERS AND LECTURES DELIVERED: LANGUAGE AND LAW

1 2011 “How Courtroom Language Makes the Jurors' Task More Difficult: Some Language Variables Affecting Jurors' Performance in the USA,” presented at "Language in the Judicial Process: Its Implications for Lay Participation" (the first international conference on language and law in Japan, organized by Meiji University School of Law, Tokyo), Kyoto, Japan, September 18, 2011. [Featured speaker]
2 2011 "When a Linguist is the Expert Witness:  One American’s Experience in Over Fifty Cases," Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan, Sept. 15, 2011 [Invited talk]
3 1997 "Linguistics and the Law," presented at Annual Meeting of the Association of the Judges of the New York State Court of Claims, Cooperstown, NY, September 26, 1997 [Invited talk].
4 1997 "Understandings of meaning in Linguistics and Law," read at Law and Society Association 1997 Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO, May 30, 1997 (co-authored with Jeffrey P. Kaplan).
5 1996 "Using Linguistics to Interpret Laws:  The Problem of Disciplinary Boundaries" (with Law Professor Clark D. Cunningham, Washington University School of Law).  The Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research/Law and Social Sciences Program, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, May 9, 1996.
6 1996 "Arguing and Deciding Hard Cases with the Help of Linguists:  Some Recent Supreme Court Cases"  (with Law Professor Clark D. Cunningham, Washington University School of Law).  American Bar Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, May 8, 1996.
7 1996 "The Development of Linguistic Analysis of Word Meaning in Legal Cases."   Department of English, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, April 29, 1996.
8 1996 "Speaking of Legal Interpretation:  Can Lawyers and Linguists Do It Together?"   Colloquium on "Discourse and the Professions,"  American Association for Applied Linguistics, Chicago, IL, March 25, 1996 (with Jeffrey Kaplan, Associate Professor of Linguistics, San Diego State University).
9 1996 "Workshop on Interdisciplinary Collaboration:  Lawyers and Linguists Look at Interpretation."  Colloquium jointly sponsored by Linguistics Studies, the Program on Social Thought and Analysis, and the School of Law of Washington University, St. Louis, MO, January 25, 1996 (with Clark D. Cunningham, Professor of Law, Washington University). [Invited talk]
10 1994 "Semantics and Pragmatics as Legal Argument."  Department of English, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, December 13, 1994.
11 1994 "Do Jurors Understand Jury Instructions?"  Colloquium jointly sponsored by the School of Law and the Program on Social Thought and Analysis of Washington University, St. Louis, MO, October 7, 1994 (with Richard L. Wiener, Professor of Psychology and Public Policy, St. Louis University).  [Invited talk]
12 1994 "Linguistic Analysis of Supreme Court Cases."  Roundtable (with Clark Cunningham, Georgia Green, Jeffrey Kaplan, Frederick Schauer) at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Phoenix, AZ, June 18, 1994.
13 1993 "Plain Meaning and Hard Cases."  Presented to the Legal Studies Colloquium [sponsored by the Institute for Legal Studies and the Linguistics Department], University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, November 23, 1993 (with Clark D. Cunningham, Associate Professor of Law, Washington University, St. Louis, MO).
14 1993 "When a Linguist Testifies:  The Experience of Linguists as Expert Witnesses in North American Courts."  Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Chicago, IL, May 29, 1993.
15 1992 "On the Adequacy of Illinois Jury Instructions for Capital Sentencing:  One Linguist's Testimony."  Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Philadelphia, PA, May 31, 1992.
16 1992 "The Social Utility of Linguistic Analysis in Litigation:  Environmental Pollution Liability and Death Penalty Jury Instructions."  Presented at the May Monthly Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago, Illinois, May 21, 1992.  [Invited talk]
17 1988 "The Invisible Network:  Contemporary Research in the U.S.A. on Language and the Legal Process."   Presented at the First International Conference on Comparative Linguistic Law, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada, April 27-29, 1988.  [Invited talk]
18 1987 "Linguistics and the Law:  Scholarship and Involvement in the 1980s."  Presented at the January Monthly Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, January 15, 1987.  [Invited talk]
19 1985 "Language and Law in the U.S.A.: A Guided Tour." Keynote address to the Conference on Language in the Judicial Process, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. July 26, 1985.
20 1984 "Linguistics, Language, and the Law: New Directions in Research and Consulting in the U.S.A."  Postgraduate Centre of Law and Department of Linguistics, South Gujarat University, Surat, Gujarat, India.  October 17, 1984.
21 1984 "Linguistics, Language, and the Law: New Directions in Research and Consulting in the U.S.A."  Indian Law Society Law College, Pune, Maharashtra, India.  October 13, 1984.
22 1984 "Linguistics, Language, and the Law."  Deccan College Post-graduate and Research Institute (linguistics section), Pune, Maharashtra, India.  October 12, 1984.
23 1984 "Language and Law: Linguistic Issues in Legal Processes and Interactions."  Department of Law, University of Poona, Pune, Maharashtra, India.  October 12, 1984.
24 1984 "Linguistics Meets the Law: New Directions in Research and Consulting."  Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Panel on "Language and the Legal Process," Boston, Massachusetts, June 10, 1984.  [Invited talk]
25 1984 "Linguistics and the Law." Featured speaker at Linguistics Symposium, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, March 31, 1984.  [Invited talk]
26 1983 "Linguistics in the Courtroom: Research and Consulting in Legal Domains." Linguistic Symposium, 1983 Summer LSA Linguistic Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, July 6, 1983.
27 1982 "Linguistics, Language, and the Law: Explorations Beyond the Ivory Tower." Monthly Meeting, Chicago Linguistics Society, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, November 10, 1982.   [Invited talk]
28 1982 "Applications of Linguistics to the Language of Legal Interactions."  Ninth in a series of presentations for a symposium on "Linguistic Applications in the 1980's," sponsored by Purdue Linguistics Group, School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, May 4, 1982.  [Invited talk]
29 1982 "The Language of Court Interaction."  Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi, Delhi, India, August 16, 1982. [Invited talk]

 

PAPERS AND LECTURES DELIVERED: COMPLEX NOMINALS

1 1982 "Complex Nominals: New Discoveries, New Questions." Presentation to Plenary Session on Morphology, XIIIth International Congress of Linguistics, Tokyo, Japan, August 31, 1982.   [Invited talk]
2 1982 "A Transformationalist Analysis of English Nominalizations."  Linguistic Society of Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal, August 22, 1982
3 1982 "Complex Nominals: Remarks and Criticism."  Department of Linguistics, University of Delhi, Delhi, India, August 13, 1982.  [Invited talk]
4 1981 "Back From (To?) the Wars: A Transformationalist View of English Nominalizations," University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Linguistics Club, Urbana, Illinois, April 17, 1981.  [Invited talk]
5 1978 "Remarks on Nominalizations, or, What One Discovers When One Stops Hitting the Other Guy Over the Head with Them,"  Two Hundred Sixth Monthly Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago, Illinois, January 20, 1978.  [Invited talk]
6 1977 "The Constituent Structure of Complex Nominals, or, That's Funny, You Don't Look Like a Noun!", Thirteenth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago, Illinois, April 16, 1977.
7 1976 "Complex Nominals: Nouns of Limited Variety and Unlimited Length," Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 28, 1976.
8 1975 "On the Alleged Idiosyncrasy of Nonpredicate NPs in English," Tenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago, Illinois, April 1975.
9 1974 "What Makes Provincial Governors (*So) Provincial?"  Linguistics Colloquium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, February 28, 1974. [Invited talk]
10 1973 "Where Do All Those Other Adjectives Come From?"  Ninth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago, Illinois, April 1973.

 

TEACHING HISTORY

COURSES TAUGHT AND DEVELOPED

During the 28 years that I taught linguistics at Northwestern, I taught 20 different courses from freshman seminars to graduate seminars, and developed 11 of those myself. The subjects encompassed introductory linguistics, semantics, pragmatics, and diverse topics – including legal interpretation – within the broad interdisciplinary field of language and law.

TEACHING AWARDS

1 Convocation Speaker (chosen by CAS students) for College of Arts and Sciences, June 1991
2 Recipient of "Outstanding Teacher Award,"  Northwestern University College of Arts and Sciences, Spring 1975.
3 Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll, 1984-85 and 1992-93.