Born in Hilversum, The Netherlands in 1951. 'Kandidaatsexamen' (BA) in English Language and Linguistics, 1973 (University of Amsterdam, cum laude). MA in the 'History of English and General Linguistics', 1975 (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne), supervisor MA thesis, Prof. Barbara Strang, title 'A Comparative Study of Philosophical Terms in the Alfredian and Chaucerian Boethius'. 'Doctoraalexamen' (MA) in English Language and Literature, 1976 (University of Amsterdam, cum laude). Doctorate, University of Amsterdam, 1990 (doctoral thesis: "Syntactic Change and Causation: Developments in Infinitival Constructions in English", cum laude). Lecturer in Historical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam, 1977-1992. Reader in Historical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam, 1992-1999. Professor of Germanic Linguistics, University of Amsterdam from 1999. Visiting scholar: University of Manchester, 1985-86. Visiting professor: University of Zürich, January-February 2000; University of Innsbruck, March-April 2002; University of Vienna March-July 2006, and March-July 2009; University of Lille 3, September- March 2012-13.
Between 2011-2013, elected 'President (Elect)' of the Societas Linguistica Europeae , and from 2011 onwards 'President( Elect)' of ISLE ( International Society for the Linguistics of English )
Has published extensively in international journals in the area of English historical linguistics, especially historical syntax. Interest in syntactic change related to changes in word order, comparison with developments in Dutch and German, grammaticalisation and the interaction between grammaticalisation and iconisation in language change.
History of English
Language change and variation
Old English language
Early and late Middle English language
Middle English literature
Structure of Modern English
Aspects of English historical syntax
Diachronic Germanic Linguistics
Stylistics (iconicity in (literary) language)
History of English and language variation. Interest in syntactic changes in the history of English, especially the Old and Middle English periods(from c. 700 to 1500), and particularly in changes which are the result of a general change in word order from SOV to SVO, which took place in the Old en Middle English periods. In this connection work has been done on the rise of infinitival structures in English, such as passive infinitives, the for NP to V construction, Accusative and Infinitive constructions, the difference in usage between bare and marked infinitives etc. Research at present is on word order within the Noun Phrase, especially the variable position of the adjective in Old English and Middle English, on the role played by ananlogy in language change, and contributions to various handbooks.
Other interests are grammaticalization phenomena,and iconicity (form miming meaning) in language. I have worked on the interrelation between these two forces in language change, focussing on the differences between developments in the marked infinitives (te, zu, to + infinitive) between Dutch, German and English, and differences between the development of a modal verb have to from a possessive verb in English compared to Dutch hebben + te-infinitive. I have also been concerned with the status of grammaticalization, whether it should be regarded as an epiphenomenon or a mechanism or causal factor in its own right in change. Recently I have been working on the importance of iconic and indexical thinking in language evolution, and how this relates to the place of iconicity, and in particular of analogy, in language acquisition, language change and literary use of language.
In 2006-7 I worked on a project called 'Morphosyntactic Change: Formal and Functional Approaches Compared' funded by an NWO teaching-replacement subsidy. The research involved a comparison of the grammaticalization and the generative approaches to morphosyntactic change in order to establish by means of a number of case studies what role is played by both formal and functional/cognitive (including external) factors and how they intertwine in change, and also in how far they offer a solution towards an explanation of change. The book was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. From this project evolved other research on morphosyntactic change, e.g. for The Cambridge Handbook of English Historical Linguistics.
Recently, apart from further reseach into adjectival constructions in OldEnglish, I have been working on reduplication and its relation to iconicity, on an article about analogy in language processing for a handbook on Grammaticalization edited by Narog and Heine (OUP 2011), and together with Wim van der Wurff of the university of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I will be writing a brief history of English syntax, to be published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press.In 2011, I have co-organized the Eighth International Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature, together with Lars Elleström and Christina Ljungberg (Zürich) at the University of Växjö, Sweden in 2011, and are currently co-organiser with Masako Hiraga of Rikkyo University, Tokyo of the Ninth Iconicity Conference in May 2013. The proceedings of the eighth symposium will become available early in 2013.
With Prof. Dr Ton Naaijkens (University of Utrecht): Imogen Cohen (PhD project ACLC/UvA): 'The sanitization of comtemporary Dutch fiction translated into English: A corpus study'. Starting date September 2012.
With Prof. Dr Michiel van den Brekel and Dr Anne Bannink: Elin Derks (PhD project ACLC/NKI, UvA): 'The "Lastmeter" in outpatient cancer consultations: help or hindrance to physician-patient communication?'. Starting date September 2012.
With Prof. Dr Jan Hulstijn: Elisabetta Materassi (PhD project ACLC/UvA): ' Metaphor in academic discourse: a study of metaphoric language and L2 learning. Starting date January 2012.
With Prof. Dr Folkert Kuyken and Dr Anne Bannink: Roos van der Zwaard (PhD project ACLC/UvA): " Negotiatingfor meaning during instant chat-messaging and video-conferencing'. Starting date January 2012.
Camiel Hamans (external PhD project ACLC): 'Borderline cases in morphology: A study in language change'.
With Dr. Evelien Keizer: Mara van Schaik-Radulescu (aio-project ACLC/UvA): 'Gradience in split intransitivity: A typological investigation'. Starting date Dec. 1 2005.
With Prof. Fred Weerman: Robert Cloutier (aio-project ACLC/UvA): 'West-Germanic OV and VO: The status of exceptions' Starting date Jan. 1 2004. The project aims to shed more light on word orderuniversals by investigating word order changes both language specifically and comparatively in two related West Germanic languages, i.e. English and Dutch. The approach involves looking at diachronic change as well as synchronic variation.The PhD was successfully defended on February 20, 2009.
With Prof. Hubert Cuykens ( Universityof Leuven,Belgium ): Hendrik de Smet (project funded by FWO): 'Gerundial complements in English. The project investigates the developmentand spread of gerundial complements in English and to explain the underlying mechanisms involved in it. Starting date 2004. The PhD was successfully defended on March 8, 2008, and awarded cum laude.
With Dr. Willem Koopman: Masayuki Ohkado (external PhD, no fixed time period). : 'Studies in word order in Old English'. PhD was successfully defended on September 6, 2005.
With Prof. Ans van Kemenade: Bettelou Los (NWO project 1995-1999): 'Infinitival Complementation in Old and Midlle English. Phd was awarded cum laude in 1999. The dissertation has appeared in extended form as the Rise of the to-Infinitive, with Oxford University Press in 2005.
2012- Member of the editorial board of Anglia
2006 - Co-editor of the Benjamins Series ILL: Iconicity in Language and Literature
2004 - Member of the editorial board of the electronic journal
2004 - Member of the editorial board of Studies in Language (Benjamins).
2000 - Member of the editorial board of Journal of English Studies , University of Rioja.
1998 - Editor of the Language section of The Year's Work in English Studies . Oxford UP.
1998 - Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of Studies in English Medieval Language and Literature, Peter Lang, Frankfurt.
1997 - Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of Edinburgh Textbooks in the English Language. Edinburgh UP.
1997 - Member of the editorial board of Links and Letters , University of Barcelona.
1996 - Member of the editorial board of English Language and Linguistics (Cambridge UP).
from NWO :
2004-2005 Grant from NWO for study-leave to write a book for Oxford Univ. Press on 'Morphosyntactic Change'
1999: for the organization of a symposium on 'Iconicity in language and Literature'
1994: a four-year grant for an oio-researcher (Bettelou Los) to do a PhD as part of the project on 'Language variation and change'
1985: for the organization of a workshop on 'Explanation and Linguistic Change
from the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW):
2002: Grant for the organization of the 2nd conference on 'New Perspectives on Grammaticalization'
1996: Travel grant for a plenary lecture at the University of Poznan (Poland) for the 9th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics.
Grant to study for an MA degree as a Harting Scholar at the Universityof Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)
Books and parts of books as (co-)author:
(in prep. ) with Wim van der Wurff, A Brief History of English Syntax. Cambridge: CUP.
(2007) Morpho-syntactic Change. Functional and Formal Perpectives . Oxford: OUP.
(2006) with Wim van der Wurff, 'Syntax', in A History of the English Language . Cambridge: CUP. pp. 109-198.
(2000) With Ans vanKemenade,Willem Koopman en Wim van der Wurff, The Syntax of Early English , Cambridge Syntax Guides, Cambridge University Press.
(1992) 'Syntax', chapter 4 in the Middle English volume (Volume II, 1066-1476) of the Cambridge History of the English Language , ed. by Norman Blake. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 207-408.
(1990) "Syntactic Change and Causation: Developments in Infinitival Constructions in English." Dissertation, University of Amsterdam.
(forthcoming) Chapter on 'Morphological, syntactic and morpho-syntactic change', in Merja Kytö and Päivi Pahta (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of English Historical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
(forthcoming) Chapter on 'Iconicity', in Peter Stockwell and Sara Whiteley (eds), The Handbook of Stylistics . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(forthcoming) 'An inquiry into unidirectionality as a foundational element of grammaticalization: On the role played by analogy and the synchronic grammar system in processes of language change'. In Hendrik De Smet et al. (eds), special issue of Studies in Language.
(2013). 'The role of contact in English syntactic change in the Old and Middle English periods', in Marianne Hundt and Daniel Schreier (eds.), English as a Contact Language . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(2012) 'The status of the postponed 'and-adjective'construction in Old English: Attributive or predicative?', in David Denison, Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero, Chris McCully, Emma Moore (eds), Analysing Older English (Studies in English Language). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 251-284.
(2011) 'Grammaticalization as analogically driven change?', in Heiko Narrog and Bernd Heine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization (Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 31-42.
(2011) 'Cognitive iconic grounding of reduplication in language', in Pascal Michelucci, Olga Fischer and Christina Ljungberg (eds.), Semblance and Signification (Iconicity in Language and Literature, 10). Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp. 55-81.
(2010) ' An iconic analogical approach to grammaticalization', in Jac Conradie, Ronél Johl, Marthinus Beukes, Olga Fischer and Christina Ljungberg (eds) Signergy. Iconicity in Language and Literature 8. Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp. 279-298.
(2010) 'On problem areas in grammaticalization: Lehmann's parameters and the issue of scope', in An van Linden et al. (eds) Formal Evidence in Grammaticalization Research. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 17-42.
(2010) 'An analogical approach to grammaticalization', in Katerina Stathi, Elke Gehweiler, and Ekkehard König (eds), Grammaticalization. Current Views and Issues . Amsterdam : Benjamins, pp. 181-219.
(2008) 'Is there life beyond generative syntax?, Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (PBB) 130: 199-235.
(2008) 'History of English syntax", in Haruko Momma and Michael Matto (eds), A Companion to the History of the English Language. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture, Oxford:Blackwell, pp. 57-68.
(2007) 'On analogy as the motivation for grammaticalization', Studies in Language 32: 336-381.
(2006) 'On the position of adjectives in Middle English, English Language and Linguistics 10.2: 253-288.
(2004) 'Evidence for iconicity in language'. Logos and Language . Journal of General Linguistics and Language Theory 5.i: 1-19.
(2013) with Lars Elleström and Christina Ljungberg, Iconic Investigations. Iconicity in Language and Literature 12. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2011) with Pascal Michelucci, and Christina Ljungberg, Semblance and Signification. Iconicity in Language and Literature 10. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2010) with Jac Conradie, Ronél Johl, Marthinus Beukes and Christina Ljungberg, Signergy. Iconicity in Language and Literature 8. Amsterdam: Benjamins
(2007) with Elzbieta Tabakowska and Christina Ljungberg, Insistent Images. Iconicity in Language and Literature 5. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2005) with Costantino Maeder and William J. Herlofsky, Outside-In --Inside-Out . Iconicity in Language and Literature 4. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2004) with Muriel Norde and Harry Perridon, Up and Down the Cline - The Nature of Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2003) with Wolfgang Müller, From Sign to Signing. Iconicity in Language and Literature 3. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2001) with Max Nänny, Iconicity. Special issue of the European Journal of English Studies Vol. 5.1.
(2001) with Max Nänny, The Motivated Sign . Iconicity inLanguage and Literature 2. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(2000) with AnetteRosenbach and Dieter Stein, Pathways of Change: Grammaticalization in English. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(1999) with Max Nänny, Form Miming Meaning: Iconicity in Language and Literature. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
(1987) with Roger Eaton, Willem Koopman en Frederike van der Leek, Explanation and Linguistic Change . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
(1985) with Roger Eaton, Willem Koopman en Frederike van der Leek, Papers from the 4th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.