Baron, Naomi S. 1946- (Naomi Susan Baron)

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Baron, Naomi S. 1946- (Naomi Susan Baron)


Born September 27, 1946, in New York, NY; daughter of Leonard and Ruth Joan Baron; married; children: Aneil. Education: Brandeis University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1968; Stanford University, Ph.D., 1972.


Office—Asbury Bldg., American University, Washington, DC 20016-8045. E-mail—[email protected]


Brown University, Providence, RI, assistant professor, 1972-78, associate professor of linguistics, 1978-85, associate dean of the college, 1981-83; American University, Washington, DC, professor of linguistics, 1987—, associate dean for undergraduate affairs, 1987-92, associate dean for curriculum and faculty development, 1992-94, chair of department of language and foreign studies, 1996-2000. Rhode Island School of Design, visiting faculty member, 1982-83; Emory University, visiting National Endowment for the Humanities chair, 1983-84; University of Texas at Austin, visiting scholar, 1984-85; Southwestern University, Brown Visiting Chair, 1985-87. Member of editorial board, Visible Language, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Language Sciences.


Linguistic Society of America, Semiotic Society of America (vice president, 1985-86; president, 1986-87), Phi Beta Kappa (president of Zeta chapter, 1998-2000).


Grants from Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, 1976-84, American Council of Learned Societies, 1977, and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1979-81; Guggenheim fellow, 1984-85; Computer Languages: A Guide for the Perplexed was selected by Library Journal as one of the best 100 science and technology books of 1986; high commendation from competition for Duke of Edinburgh English Language Award, English-Speaking Union, 2000; Fulbright scholar in Sweden, 2007.


Language Acquisition and Historical Change, North-Holland (New York, NY), 1977.

Speech, Writing, and Sign, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1981.

Computer Languages: A Guide for the Perplexed, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1986.

Pigeon-Birds and Rhyming Words: The Role of Parents in Language Learning, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1990.

Growing Up with Language: How Children Learn to Talk, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1992.

Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It's Heading, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.

Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to reference books such as encyclopedias. Contributor to periodicals, including Semiotica, Liberal Education, Computers and Translation, Language and Communication, and Journal of Creole Studies. Coeditor, Semiotica, 1979.


In her book Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It's Heading, linguist Naomi S. Baron writes about the historical differences between spoken and written English and speculates on the possible effects that email—a medium of neither quite spoken nor written communication—might have on the future development of the English language. Kevin Jackson in the London Times, while faulting Baron for her own use of the English language, found that, "to be scrupulously fair, a good deal of the book is adequately interesting." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly described Alphabet to Email as "thorough, yet not in the least pedantic."

Baron once told CA: "Computers, language acquisition, language in social context, writing systems, the history and future of higher education—all of these threads make up my field of inquiry. The threads often interconnect in my work, as when I look at the effects of computers on written and spoken language, and when I study how new disciplines (including linguistics) find their way into the academy.

"My next project is to learn Japanese. The relationship between language structure and the social web is radically different in Japan than in societies speaking Indo-European languages. I also want to understand how the intricate writing system in Japan affects the development of literacy."



Bloomsbury Review, September, 1992, review of Growing Up with Language: How Children Learn to Talk, p. 9.

Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2000, review of Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It's Heading, p. 73.

Times (London, England), February 20, 2000, Kevin Jackson, review of Alphabet to Email, p. 44.