Dallin D. Oaks
Oaks earned a BA in English teaching from BYU in 1984. From 1985 to 1987 he was a teacher of English as a second language at Kaysville Junior High School and Davis High School in Davis County, Utah. At the same time he earned an MA from the University of Utah. He then continued his studies to earn a Ph.D. from Purdue University with a specialty in English Linguistics.
He is the author of three books: Linguistics at Work: A Reader of Applications, An Introductory English Grammar 5th edition (updating Norman C. Stageberg's earlier work and serving as co-author), and Structural Ambiguity in English: An Applied Grammatical Inventory (2 vols.). Oaks has done much of his research in the area of structural ambiguity. His two-volume book on structural ambiguity shows how an understanding of the grammatical features of the English language can be helpful in generating structural word plays that are found in advertising and humor. In fact, in 2015 he with others co-founded PhraseWorthy LLC, which has produced an online software that helps people in such fields as advertising and marketing to brainstorm clever word plays.
His book on ambiguity fits within a larger research framework that explores applications of linguistics. In addition to his books, he has published articles in a variety of journals, including General Linguistics, Southern Journal of Linguistics, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Reading Research and Instruction, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, and Journal of Advertising Education.
His professional activities have included some previous service as a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (Fellowships Panel), which judged fellowship proposals in Language, Linguistics, Rhetoric, and Communication. He has also been a featured guest on radio shows for his research, including Grok's Science Show (originating from WHPK---a University of Chicago affiliated station) and Okham's Razor (Australian National Radio).