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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research has so far mainly focused on aspects of the syntax of early English that are connected to word order, especially where there is some kind of problem with commonly made claims. 

Grammaticalisation, or more specifically degrammaticalisation, has become another area of interest through my work on the negative particle ne ‘not’, which starts to appear separated from the verb in Middle English. 

I have in addition branched out into historical dialectology through doing a careful assessment of the evidence for the claim that negative contraction was a syntactic dialect feature in Old English.


Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, October 2003-present.

Visiting and Research Positions

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of York, September 2000-August 2003.


Current Honours/MSc courses: Reading Old English, Middle English (shared with Meg Laing and Keith Williamson), English Historical Syntax

Current pre-Honours teaching: Second year: lectures on historical (morpho-)syntax

Past courses: Early Modern English (Edinburgh;  2003), History of English (York;  2000-2003;  tutorials and most lectures)

Administrative Roles

Course organiser of Linguistics and English Language 1, together with Ronnie Cann

College Library and Academic Computing Committee member (from 11/12)

University First Aider (March 2009-March 2012)

Course organiser of English Language 1 (until 10/11) and chair of the Board of Examiners for EL1/pre-honours English Language (06/07-10/11)

Library representative for LEL (from summer 2010)

Programme Director of the MSc in English Language (05/06)

Health and Safety Officer (05/06)

School Undergraduate Studies Committee (04/05-05/06;  07/08-present)

School Travel and Equipment Committee (04/05)


  • Doctoraal in English Language and Literature, Leiden, cum laude (First), 1995
  • PhD, Manchester, 2000



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