Alice F. Freed

B.A., M.A., Ph.D, University of PennsylvaniaAlice Freed headshot

Professor Emerita of Linguistics

Department of Linguistics
Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ 07043
Phone: 973-655-4286


The Alice F. Freed Prize in Language, Discourse and Society is an annual prize of $250 that recognizes one graduate student in Linguistics who completes the Master of Arts Degree Program in Applied Linguistics with outstanding work in the field of Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis, or Language and Culture.

Prize description


Alice F. Freed did her undergraduate and graduate work in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of specialization are sociolinguistics and discourse analysis with a focus on language and gender, question use in English, institutional discourse, and language and food. At Montclair State she taught in a variety of programs from Linguistics to Women’s Studies, the Honors Program, and the General Education program. She also taught courses at the University of New Mexico (as part of the LSA 1995 Summer Linguistic Institute), and at New York University as a visiting adjunct professor. She continues to teach in the Teaching in English program sponsored by the Global Education Center at Montclair State first at Beijing Jiaotong University, China (2010, 2011) and at Shanghai University (2013). She served as Chair of the Linguistics Department at Montclair State from 1986-1993 and in 1995. She was a member of the LSA Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) from 1992-1995. She worked as a consultant in discourse analysis at AT&T Labs, Research Department (Florham Park, NJ) from 2002-2004. She is the author of The Semantics of English Aspectual Complementation (Reidel 1979), co-editor with Victoria Bergvall and Janet Bing of Rethinking Language and Gender Research: Theory and Practice (Longman 1996), and co-editor with Susan Ehrlich of “Why Do You Ask?”: The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Research Interests

  • Language and Gender.
  1. See: IGALA International Gender and Language Association
  2. See: Alice F. Freed. 1992.  We Understand Perfectly: A Critique of Tannen's View of Cross-Sex Communication‌ In Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz and Birch Moonwomon (Eds.) Locating power: Proceedings of the second Berkeley women and language conference (vol. 1). Berkeley: Berkeley Women and Language Group. 144-152.
  • Sociolinguistics/ Language and Culture
  • Language and Food
  • Question Use in Institutional Discourse




“Why Do You Ask?”: The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse. (Edited with Susan Ehrlich).Oxford University Press. (356 pp.)




Rethinking Language and Gender Research: Theory and Practice (Edited with V. Bergvall and J. Bing).  [Real Language Series.] London:  Longman. (303 pp.).





The Semantics of English Aspectual Complementation.  Synthese Language Library:  Volume 8. D. Reidel Publishing Co.: Dordrecht, Holland. (172 pp.).

Chapters in Books:


"The Public View of Language and Gender." In Miriam Meverhoff and Susan Ehrlich (Eds.), The Handbook of Language and Gender (2nd ed.) Wiley-Blackwell.


"I'm Calling to Let You Know!": Company Initiated Telephone-sales." in "Why Do You Ask?": The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse. (Edited with Susan Ehrlich). Oxford University Press. Pp. 297-321.


"The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse: An Introduction" (with Susan Ehrlich) in "Why Do You Ask?": The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse. (Edited with Susan Ehrlich). Oxford University Press. Pp. 3-19.


“Epilogue: Reflections on Language and Gender Research.” In The Handbook on Language and Gender. Janet Homes and Miriam Meyerhoff, (Eds.) Oxford: Blackwell.  Pp. 699?721.


“Language and Gender Research in an Experimental Setting.” In Rethinking Language and Gender Research: Theory and  Practice. Victoria Bergvall, Janet Bing, and Alice Freed, (Eds.)  London: Longman. Pp. 54-76. 1996.



 “Women, cookbooks, and changes in gendered lives.”  International Gender and Language Association Conference (IGALA6). Tsuda College, Tokyo. September 18-20, 2010.


“Sex or Gender: Still a conundrum in language and gender research.” International Gender & Language Association Meeting (IGALA-III). Cornell University. June 2004.


“Opening strategies for selling local service: A discourse analysis of ACS Outbound  Telemarketing calls.” Technical Memorandum. AT&T Research Labs. Florham Park, NJ. September 2004. (17 pages.)


“Communities of Practice and Pregnant Women: Is There a Connection?”  Language in Society. Vol. 28.2:257-271. June, 1999.

1996  “Women, Men and Type of Talk: What Makes the Difference?” (with Alice Greenwood). Language in Society. Vol. 25.1:1-26. March, 1996. 1994  “The Form and Function of Questions in Informal Dyadic Conversation.” The Journal of Pragmatics. Volume 21:219-242. April, 1994.