Plenary speakers

Prof. Martin Hilpert (University of Neuchâtel)


Prof. Martin Hilpert graduated in English Linguistics, Scandinavian Studies, from Hamburg University (MA). After completing his PhD in Linguistics at Rice University, (2007), he was a Postdoctoral researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley, in Chuck Fillmore’s Framenet project. From 2008 to 2012 he was a Junior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

After his habilitation (Venia Legendi: English Philology, Freiburg University) in 2012, he has been at the University of Neuchâtel, first as Assistant Professor of English Linguistics and, since 2015, as Professor of English Linguistics.

He is interested in cognitive linguistics, language change, construction grammar, and corpus linguistics.

Lecture title: “The asymmetric priming hypothesis revisited”

Prof. Padraic Monaghan (Lancaster University)


Prof. Padraic Monaghan is Professor of Cognition in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University and co-director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development. His Lab Group conducts research on language acquisition, reading, and sleep, combining computational, brain imaging, and behavioural research.

He has focused on three main research lines: (i) language, learning and evolution: how multiple cues in language assist the child in acquiring her language (how phonology, statistics of distributions of words, and environmental cues are combined to help in generating knowledge of words and grammar) and, relatedly, the properties of languages that assist in learning; (ii) reading and the brain (part of the EU Research Training Network in Language and Brain): the interaction between the brain’s anatomy and language processing, in particular the influence of the left and right visual field on reading, work on impaired language behaviour, including dyslexia and dysphasia, as well as the role of early language exposure on adult lexical processing, investigating how age of acquisition affects the vocabulary; and (iii) the role of sleep for learning, in particular, the effects of sleep on language learning (abstraction and generalisation of structure are consequences of sleep after first exposure to a new language structure).

Lecture title: “Cognitive processes driving language evolution: Diachronic and experimental studies of English vocabulary change”

Prof. Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow)

Prof. Jennifer Smith graduated in Lingumedia_192606_enistics from Durham (MA) and York (PhD). Her research is in sociolinguistics and language variation and change, concentrating on the morphosyntactic features of non-standard dialects through the use of online corpora.

She has directed a number of ESRC and British Academy funded projects, including Caregiver and child in the acquisition of variation, Obsolescence vs stability in a Shetland dialect: evidence from three generations of speakers and One speaker, two dialects: bidialectalism across the generations in a Scottish community. She has conducted research on Scottish dialects and their relationships to colonial Englishes in North America (co-author Sali Tagliamonte, University of Toronto) and also works on the interface between formal theories of language and variation (co-author David Adger, Queen Mary, University of London).

She is currently the Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded The Scots Syntax Atlas, a major new digital resource for the analysis of speech patterns across Scotland. Her research interests are sociolinguistics, language variation and change, Scottish dialects, colonial Englishes, acquisition of variation, narrative analysis, variation and syntactic theory.

Lecture title: Wee quinies and loonies: The development of dialect in the childhood years”

Prof. Anja Wanner (University of Wisconsin-Madison)anja-bw-may11-small

Prof. Anja Wanner is a professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches courses on English syntax and grammar in use. You can follow their programs on Facebook. Additionally, she is affiliated with the German Department.

In her research and teaching she explores the regularity of structure (grammar) and the quirkiness of individual words. The “temper” of English verbs – the relationship between their meaning and their behavior in syntax – is the focus of her research. Other research areas include the history of scientific writing, genres of Internet communication, and linguistic prescriptivism. Her most recent book publications are Deconstructing the English Passive (2009) and Syntactic Variation and Genre (2010), both published by Mouton de Gruyter. She is currently working on a conversation-based study of the grammar of speakers with dementia and on a book that pairs modern prescriptivist ideas about grammar with corpus-based studies of selected syntactic phenomena (working title “Bad Grammar”).

Lecture title: “Bad grammar in the age of social media”