Tobias Ungerer

PhD Linguistics & English Language

  • Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


2018 - present: PhD Linguistics and English Language, The University of Edinburgh

           Project working title: Structural priming in the grammatical network – A study of English argument structure constructions 

           (Supervised by Prof Graeme Trousdale, Prof Nikolas Gisborne, Dr Chris Cummins)

2018 MSc Linguistics (Dist.), The University of Edinburgh

           Dissertation title: Priming as evidence of links between constructions: A study of aspects of the English resultative network (Supervised by Prof Graeme Trousdale)

2015 BA British Studies, Leipzig University

           Dissertation title: Mediopassives in English – A cognitive empirical approach (Supervised by Prof Doris Schönefeld)

(2019 Staatsexamen for teaching English and German at secondary schools, Leipzig University)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the organising committee for "Linguistic Circle" at Edinburgh


Member of the organising committee for the "Cognitive Linguistics Research Group" (CLRG) at Edinburgh


Undergraduate teaching

2020-21 tutoring:

  • Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • Pragmatics
  • LEL2D (Cross-linguistic Variation: Limits and Theories)

2019-20 tutoring:

  • Introduction to Cognitive Science

2018-19 tutoring:

  • Linguistics and English Language 1A

  • Linguistics and English Language 1B

  • Lexical Semantics (Honours)

Postgraduate teaching

2018-19 tutoring:

  • Lexical Semantics (MSc)

Research summary

Research focus: Using structural priming to study the structure of speakers' grammatical networks (focusing on relations between English argument structure constructions)

Research interests:

  • Linguistic, psychological and computational approaches to studying grammatical representation and processing
  • Models of the grammatical network: constructional competition, relations between constructions ('vertical' and 'horitzontal'; inheritance/taxonomy; meronymy; metaphor)
  • Cognitive-constructionist theories of grammar: Construction Grammar, Word Grammar, etc.
  • Structural priming - conceptual and methodological questions (e.g. the (a)symmetry of priming effects; facilitatory vs. inhibitory priming)
  • Other types of priming (lexical, pragmatic) in communicative interaction

Project activity

 Feb-April 2020: Visiting student research collaborator (VSRC) at Prof Adele Goldberg's lab in the Department of Psychology, Princeton University

Current projects on:

  • Refining the concept of 'snowclones': A corpus-based approach to the productivity of extravagant formulaic patterns (with Stefan Hartmann, Düsseldorf)
  • Communicative alignment in German speakers' use of Anglicisms (with Alex Lorson, Edinburgh)

Conference details

Upcoming talks:

Ungerer, Tobias & Stefan Hartmann (2020, 25-27 Nov): Why pink is the new black and data scientists are the new rock stars: Corpus approaches to the productivity of “snowclones”. 8th International Conference Grammar & Corpora (GaC). Kraków, Poland.

Ungerer, Tobias (2021, 10 Feb): Structural priming between English secondary-predication constructions - theoretical and methdological insights (TBC). Psycholinguistics Coffee (research seminar). Edinburgh.

Hartmann, Stefan & Tobias Ungerer (2021, 18-20 Aug): The mother of all constructions: A corpus-based approach to the productivity of ‘snowclones’. 11th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG). Antwerp, Belgium.

Papers delivered

Ungerer, Tobias & Alex Lorson (2020): ‘Du sprichst English? So do I’: How German speakers align in their use of Anglicisms. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE). Virtual conference. 26 August - 1 September.

Ungerer, Tobias & Stefan Hartmann (2020): Attack of the snowclones. A corpus-based analysis of extravagant formulaic patterns. UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2020 (UKCLC). Birmingham, UK (virtual conference). 27-29 July.

Ungerer, Tobias (2019): Using structural priming to test links between constructions: Priming between caused-motion and resultatives sentences. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE). Leipzig, Germany. 21-24 August. AND 15th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC). Nishinomiya, Japan. 6-11 August.

Ungerer, Tobias (2019): The concept of ‘inheritance’ in grammatical theory – What is it and which questions does it raise? 25th Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference (LELPGC). Edinburgh, UK. 4-7 June.