Linguistics and English Language

Leverhulme success for Professor Nik Gisborne

Professor Nik Gisborne, who holds a Personal Chair in Linguistics, has been awarded a grant from the Leverhulme Trust for his research project on simple grammars, relative clauses and language change.

More about the project

Professor Nik Gisborne

Professor Gisborne, who studies syntax, semantics and language change, will spend the three years of the grant starting in September 2022, working on the evolution of a particular type of relative clause (those with interrogative forms such as WHO, WHICH, WHERE, HOW and WHY) in the Indo-European languages and close but unrelated European languages, where the sources, development and spread of the change he’s investigating are not well understood.

The main goal is to develop a theory of language change which explains recurring, directed changes that are not already explained by existing theories of grammaticalization. He also anticipates accounting for how language contact is involved in this area of grammatical change, and how language contact and processes of grammatical change interact.

Outputs will include a single authored monograph.

I am very excited to have been so generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust to work on this project. My collaborator Dr Rob Truswell and I have developed some initial hypotheses that we think are compelling, and I am looking forward to testing them out in the context of theorizing about syntax, semantics, typology and this area of linguistic change.

Professor Nik GisbornePersonal Chair in Linguistics

About the Leverhulme Trust

The Trust was established in 1925 under the will of the 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), with the instruction that its resources should be used to support "scholarships for the purposes of research and education."

Since then, the Trust has provided funding for research projects, fellowships, studentships, bursaries and prizes.

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